10 Famous American Entrepreneurs

These 10 famous American entrepreneurs are a diverse representation of the fields of engineering, computers, cosmetics, retail and television. These industry leaders basically started with nothing and produced much success in what they believed in. They put their blood, sweat and tears into their dreams and have raked in the dough in the process. If you're curious about the 10 most famous entrepreneurs in America, read on.

  1. Henry Ford. Henry Ford was the founder of the Ford Motor Company. His company had a net worth of $188.1 billion as of 2008. The Ford Motor Company was founded in 1901. Henry retired in 1945 because of poor health and turned the company over to his grandson. He died at the age of 83 in 1947 from a cerebral hemorrhage.
  2. Bill Gates. Gates is one of the most famous entrepreneurs in the history of America. In addition to being an entrepreneur, he is an author, philanthropist and CEO of Microsoft. He is the world’s wealthiest person, with a net income of 5.3 billion. He stepped down as CEO in 2008 to do more work on his charity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  3. Sam Walton. Sam was born in 1918 and is one of America's most famous entrepreneurs. He founded the Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores in 1962. Sam died of blood cancer in 1992. "Time" magazine named him one of the most influential people of the 21st century. From 1982 to 1988, he was ranked as the wealthiest man in the United States. Sam opened Wal-Mart stores not only in the U.S. but in fifteen others countries as well.
  4. Mary Kay Ash. Mary Kay Ash was born Mary Kathlyn Wagner in 1918. She is the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics. The company was founded in 1963. This American entrepreneur received numerous honors, such as the Horatio Alger Award that is awarded to people who have succeeded in business despite adversity. Mary passed away in 2001.
  5. Steve Case. Case is one of the most famous American entrepreneurs of the 20th century. He is the founder and former CEO and chairman of America Online (AOL). In 2009, Steve was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame. He is also the chairman and CEO of Revolution LLC as well as the chairman for the Case Foundation and the Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure organization.
  6. Steve Jobs. Jobs is the founder and CEO of Apple Computers. He was a board member for the Walt Disney Company and was the Chief Executive for Pixar Animation Studios. He is cited as creating the first line of successful computers with the Apple II series in the latter part of the 1970s. Jobs is the inventor of over 230 patents and patent applications for items such as keyboards, speakers and power adapters.
  7. Ray Croc. Ray became one of the most famous American entrepreneurs for building McDonald’s into a successful fast food chain restaurant. He earned $500 million in his career. He was also the owner of the San Diego Padres baseball team. He was recognized by "Time" magazine for being among the top 100 most important people of the century.
  8. Oprah Winfrey. Oprah is no doubt the most well-known American entrepreneur of all time. She has built a massive fortune totaling $385 million. She started her career at the age of nineteen as a co-anchor on the local evening news. Her TV show, "Oprah," is the highest-rated talk show in history.
  9. Walt Disney. Walt Disney is a famous entrepreneur, film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entertainer and philanthropist. Walt Disney was born in 1901 and died in 1966 at the age of 65 of lung cancer. He is the founder of the Walt Disney Company, which generates annual revenue of $35 billion.
  10. Martha Stewart. Martha is a business woman, author, television host and magazine publisher. She is the founder and CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. She is the host of her own TV show, and she also publishes her own magazine.