Conrad Hilton was an American politician and businessman credited with founding the popular multinational hospitality company, Hilton Hotels Corporation. He is also the founder of a non-profit charitable organization called Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, which aims at ending human suffering worldwide. In 1996, the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize was created by the foundation in the memory of Conrad Hilton.
The second son of Hilton Hotels founder Conrad Hilton, Barron Hilton was initially a skilled photographer and had even learned to fly planes. A sports enthusiast, he had also been the AFL president. A philanthropist, too, he left 97% of his wealth to his own charitable foundation.
The son of a bingo parlor chain, Steve Wynn sold ice-creams as a teenager but grew up to own some of Las Vegas’s most popular casinos, such as The Mirage. A sexual misconduct scandal forced him to step down from the post of the chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts.
Sheldon Adelson is an American investor, businessman, and philanthropist. He is credited with founding a casino and resort company called Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which owns several resorts, including The Palazzo and The Venetian. He also owns a couple of Israeli newspapers. Also a well-known philanthropist, Adelson was described in 2016 as one of the men positively influencing Jewish life.
Born into luxury, the eldest son of Hilton Hotels founder Conrad Hilton, Conrad Hilton Jr. was quite a playboy. Not only was he Elizabeth Taylor’s first husband, he also had an affair with his stepmother, Zsa Zsa Gabor. Addicted to alcohol and gambling, he died of a heart attack at 42.
Canadian-American frontiersman, hardware store owner, sheriff, U.S. Marshal, horse breeder and hotel owner Seth Bullock is best known for building the Bullock Hotel, the oldest hotel in Deadwood. Bullock was appointed the first sheriff of the then lawless Dakota where he eventually emerged as a prominent figure civilizing the rowdy camp without killing anyone.
Initially a bootlegger, Harry R. Truman later leased a 50-acre plot in the woods near the active volcano Mount St. Helens and opened the Mount St. Helens Lodge. He became famous after refusing to evacuate the place after warnings that the volcano would erupt, and was later presumed dead.
Credited with co-creating the concept of boutique hotels, Ian Schrager began his career with law before partnering with Steve Rubell to run nightclubs, quickly opening Studio 54 and then turning to hotel business to open first boutique lifestyle hotel, Morgans. Later he went on his own to launch Ian Schrager Company, promoting the Public and then Edition brands of hotels.
Financier Henry M. Flagler co-founded the Standard Oil Company along with John D. Rockefeller, Sr. He was initially a grain merchant and later also dabbled in salt manufacture. He also established most of Florida’s hotels, resorts, and railroads, in his bid to develop it as a vacation spot.
Born in Utah, Marriott founder J. Willard Marriott grew up helping his parents on their family farm. The hotel tycoon began his career selling root beer and gradually launched a restaurant chain. The first Marriott hotel was basically a motel and eventually grew into a US$4.5 billion empire.
Hyatt Hotels co-founder Jay Pritzker was the patriarch of a $15 billion empire with about 200 companies under him. A qualified lawyer, he was initially associated with his family law and holding firm. He also launched the Pritzker Architecture Prize and was the owner of Braniff Airlines.
Real-estate magnate Harry Helmsley’s company Helmsley-Spear owned some of the largest structures in the U.S, including the Empire State Building. Though he never went to college, he later bought the company he had once worked at as an office boy and named it Dwight, Voorhis & Helmsley.
Born into poverty, Ellsworth Milton Statler had worked odd jobs as a child and went from being a hotel bell boy at 13 to establishing The Statler Hotels. He had built the first proper hotel with a shower and running water in each room. His business stood firmly on customer service.
Better known as Wheel of Fortune host Vanna White’s former husband, George Santo Pietro is a real-estate magnate. He had initially produced shows such as L.A. Doctors and Two and A Half Men and worked on films such as Muppets Most Wanted. He also owned the restaurants Sushi-Ko and Santopietro's.