10 Rich People Who Never Went to College

Turns out that a formal education isn’t a necessary stop on the road to enormous wealth. More than a quarter of billionaires – including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft’s Bill Gates – are college dropouts. But these 10 self-made million- and billionaires never attended a single day of college lectures. Many even dropped out in high school to start their entrepreneurial adventures in their teens.

Simon Cowell, TV personality and record producer

Famous for his biting criticisms on American Idol, The X Factor, and Britain’s Got Talent, Cowell dropped out of high school at 16. Cowell got his first gig in music business staffing the mailroom at EMI Music Publishing and worked his way up to talent scout. After starting two now-failed record labels, he produced and judged the British hit TV show Pop Idol. Next on the stop to riches was American Idol. Cowell is now worth $500 million and earns a reported $95 million a year.

Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

Idol fans may love to hate Cowell’s villainous on-air personality, but he has a soft side. He’s heavily involved in charity work, supporting curing childhood disease, animal rights, and disaster relief.

Vidal Sassoon, Creator of hair products empire

Sassoon had a difficult start in life. His father abandoned the family and his single mother was unable to support her children financially. Sassoon and his brother spent six years in an orphanage. When Sassoon turned 14, he began working as a shampooer and dropped out of high school. Twenty years later he opened his first salon and with the company slogan “If you don’t look good, we don’t look good,” Sassoon become a multimillionaire success by the ‘70s.

Sassoon’s turbulent personal life left him with three ex-wives. The hair care legend was on his fourth marriage at the time of his death. He left nothing in his will to his ex-wives and also disinherited his estranged son David Sassoon, whom he had adopted when the boy was 3.

The weaver / Own work

The weaver / Own work

Walt Disney, founder of the Walt Disney Company

Disney dropped out of high school at age 16 to join the Red Cross and served as an ambulance driver in France during World War I. He began his art career as a newspaper cartoonist and went on to create the lovable Mickey Mouse cartoon series. The movie and TV producer produced the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, first full-length animated film, bringing in over a million dollars in box office sales.

The adored producer and entrepreneur created Disneyland in 1955, only ten years before his death. He leaves behind a huge body of animation work, the Walt Disney animation and the fan-favorite Disneyland and Disney World parks.

Alan Fisher / Public Domain

Alan Fisher / Public Domain

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