The 10 most eccentric millionaires

Written by celina abud | 13/05/2017
The 10 most eccentric millionaires
Some millionaires shun the trappings of wealth (Getty Premium images)

According to the popular saying, “money does not buy you happiness,” however, if you are a millionaire, it can help you satisfy your every whim and desire. Some members of the super-rich try to give themselves the perfect face by investing chunks of their fortune in plastic surgery, while others court publicity with eccentric tastes in clothes and luxury items. However, there are also eccentric millionaires who prefer to shun the trappings of wealth and fame in search of a simpler life.

\#10 Nicolas Berggruen

The 10 most eccentric millionaires
(Angélica Martínez)

Nicolas Berggruen is often called the “homeless billionaire” as he chooses to live in hotels and does not own a home. The 46-year-old German decided to sell his condominium in New York and his mansion in Florida upon realising that material possessions were not making him happy. He now invests his fortune in charity work and collecting paintings and artwork for a museum in Berlin. Forbes magazine estimated his net worth at US$2.2bn in 2010.

\#9 Donald Trump

The 10 most eccentric millionaires
(Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

From starting out in his family’s real estate business, Donald Trump has worked his way up to become one of the world’s most powerful business tycoons. As the host of the American television reality show “The Apprentice”, Trump is well known all over the world for his eccentric personality and distinctive hairstyle. He is also famous for his highly-publicised divorces with the model Ivana Trump and actress Marla Maples. The Trump Tower building on 5th Avenue in New York can be seen as a reflection of his ostentatious style.

\#8 Lady Gaga

The 10 most eccentric millionaires
(Ian Gavan/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, Lady Gaga is a multi-talented musician following in the eccentric traditions of Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna. She enjoys entertaining the world with outrageous fashion statements such as wearing a dress made out of raw meat to the MTV Music Video Awards. She is both a millionaire in terms of her bank balance and her Twitter account, possessing 38 million followers on the social network.

\#7 Howard Hughes

The 10 most eccentric millionaires
(Wikimedia Commons)

Businessman, aviator, self-taught engineer and filmmaker, it seemed that there was no end to the talents of Howard Hughes. However, in addition to the fame he received for his attempts at building giant aeroplanes and his romances with Hollywood starlets, he also gained notoriety for his eccentric behaviour. In modern times, Hughes, who died aged 70 in 1976, would probably be diagnosed as suffering from severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Following a serious accident in 1946 that left him with chronic ailments, his strange behaviour intensified. He became a recluse and it is said that he survived on a diet based exclusively on milk, chocolate and chicken.

\#6 The Duchess of Alba

The 10 most eccentric millionaires
(Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Besides being known for her exaggerated features brought about by plastic surgery, the Duchess of Alba is famous for finding true love in her old age. In 2011, aged 85, she married Alfonso Diez Carabantes, who at 61 was 24 years her junior. The marriage placed Carabantes, a civil servant, in a position to potentially inherit part of the duchess’ US$5bn fortune. However, in a gesture of true love he formally renounced his claims to the inheritance. The duchess, born Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, holds the Guinness World Record for having the most titles of any member of the nobility in the world.

\#5 Ingvar Kamprad

The 10 most eccentric millionaires
(Chris Jackson/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Despite being extremely wealthy, Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of the Swedish furniture company IKEA, found it difficult to stop working. Indeed, he only stepped down as chairman of the firm in June, 2013, aged 87. He is known for his frugal lifestyle and his dedication to the business he started in 1943. He has driven a Volvo car for more than 20 years, recycles tea bags and has furnished his home with IKEA products. Before his retirement, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimated his net worth at US$42.6bn.

\#4 Jocelyn Wildenstein

The 10 most eccentric millionaires
(Jordan Strauss/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Swiss-born Jocelyn Wildenstein is famous for spending millions of dollars on plastic surgery in her bid to have more catlike features. Her journey into the world of extreme plastic surgery began after her marriage to billionaire art dealer Alec Wildenstein. However, the pair divorced when Jocelyn found her husband in bed with a 19-year-old Russian model in 1997. She was awarded one of the largest divorce settlements in history, receiving US$2.5bn plus an annual pension of US$100m for a period of 13 years.

Related: The world's top 7 billionaires

\#3 Ricardo Fort

The 10 most eccentric millionaires
(Vladimir David)

As one of the heirs to his family’s chocolate company in Argentina, Ricardo Fort is a millionaire who is not afraid of showing his wealth. Besides dramatically changing his facial features through plastic surgery, he is known for his love of Rolls Royce cars, Rolex watches and expensive fur coasts. Upon turning 40, he decided to make a belated bid for television stardom in his native Argentina by appearing on a number of reality television programmes. In 2012, he self-financed his own chat show on one of the country’s main TV channels. He is frequently involved in slanging matches with other celebrities and following a string of highly-publicised relationships with Argentine glamour models he recently declared himself to be bi-sexual.

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\#2 Robert Klark Graham

The 10 most eccentric millionaires
(Operamundi Magazine)

This American geneticist amassed his large fortune by inventing a shatter-proof plastic lense. In 1980, he also founded a “genius sperm bank” with the intention of exclusively storing sperm form Nobel Prize winners. However, he was forced to widen the criteria to include men with high IQ levels due a shortage of donors. The sperm bank closed in 1999, two years after the millionaire’s death.

Related: 10 Ways to spot a snob

\#1 Michael Jackson

The 10 most eccentric millionaires
(Star Tribune)

The King of Pop was one of the most eccentric millionaires the world has ever seen. At the height of his fame, the singer famously adopted a chimpanzee named Bubbles, who he would dress in matching outfits during overseas tours. Jackson often expressed his affinity with the fictional character Peter Pan and this was most clearly expressed through the transformation of his California home into the Neverland Ranch. He equipped the 3,000 acre site with theme park rides, a zoo and a cinema. The singer’s eccentricity even extended to his children, whose faces he would shroud in veils while in public. He caused outrage in 2002 when he dangled his baby son “Blanket” over a hotel balcony in Berlin in an attempt to show the child to fans below.

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