Anderson Cooper 's great-great-great-grandfather, railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, was worth $2 trillion in today's dollars. And his mother, heiress Gloria Vanderbilt, is worth a reported $200 million. Yet, Anderson disclosed this week that he's not seeing any of the family fortune — and he's more than fine with it. In fact, the journalist doesn't believe in inheriting money, calling it a "curse" and "initiative-sucker." Anderson says he's chosen to live his life as if there's no "pot of gold" waiting for him. He's not the only rich kid to buck the trust-fund trend and work hard for his money. Of course, it never hurts to come from privilege, but let's look at those who found success in their own right. Some might surprise you.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus 's great-great-grandfather founded the Louis Dreyfus Group, a company that her French-born billionaire father still heads today. The international corporation operates in commodities trading, shipping, and real estate. Despite the fact that her father is worth a reported $3.4 billion, Julia is one of the hardest working and most successful actresses out there. She's won Emmys for three different TV shows, and, of course, reaps the benefits from Seinfeld syndication.
That's Simon, as in Simon & Schuster. The "You're So Vain" singer's father cofounded the famed publishing house in 1924. That didn't stop her from pursuing a career as a musician.
Oh, you thought Spike Jonze was his given name? It's actually Adam Spiegel — a hint that he comes from the Spiegel catalog family. While the director and Oscar-winning screenwriter claims he's a distant relation, his father was also a supersuccessful businessman, and his great-grandfather ran an early film studio.
Rooney and Kate Mara
Any given Sunday, the Mara sisters have two teams to root for. Their paternal great-grandfather, Tim Mara, founded the New York Giants and the Mara family still owns the team today. On their mother's side, their maternal great-grandfather was football icon Art Rooney, the founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Their great-uncle, Dan Rooney, is the chairman of the team today. Despite the family success, the Mara sisters are hardworking, critically acclaimed actresses.
When dad is a former Beatle worth $600 million, who needs to work? Stella McCartney, that's who. The designer has given her father a run for his money — she's worth a reported $25 million — and she's also taking her place as an iconic British figure. Stella is a member of the Order of the British Empire and designed the uniforms for Team GB for the London Olympics. Her siblings are no slouches either. For example, sister Mary McCartney is a successful professional photographer, like her mother Linda.
You probably know Jennifer Meyer as an awesome jewelry designer. Or as a the wife of actor Tobey Maguire . But she also has some serious Hollywood family cred — her dad, Ronald Meyer, is the president of Universal Studios. Despite her family wealth, she's founded her own successful company, and her rings, charms, and necklaces are sold in major department stores.
President Fitz comes from Hollywood royalty. The actor's great-great-grandfather was Samuel Goldwyn, a founding member of various Hollywood studios. Think the G in MGM. Before getting household name recognition, thanks to his Scandal role, Tony was a hardworking film and theater actor for decades. His sister, filmmaker and writer, Liz, and brother, producer John, are also ambitious.
Not only is Rashida Jones a successful actress, screenwriter, and sometimes singer, but she went to Harvard University as well. Of course, she could have opted out of all of this hard work. Her dad is music mogul Quincy Jones, worth an estimated $300 million. And mom is model and actress Peggy Lipton.
When you think Ivanka Trump, you think businesswoman more than you think heiress. She's ignored dad Donald's $3.9 billion fortune and instead went to work for her own paycheck. She also seemed to trade his hubris for humility. Ivanka, an Ivy League grad, is the executive vice president of development and acquisitions at The Trump Organization and also runs her own namesake corporations including Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry and The Ivanka Trump Lifestyle Collection, which has a range of popular fragrances, shoes, handbags, and eyewear
Taking after her father, Ralph Lauren, who is worth a staggering $7.3 billion, Dylan Lauren has opened her own business: NYC's Dylan's Candy Bar. The "world's largest candy store" is inspired by Willy Wonka and has been around for 10 years. That's no passing trend.
Brian Williams might be a TV anchor worth millions, but his daughter, Allison, isn't sitting on her hands. Before landing herself a role on HBO's Girls, she went to Yale.
Katherine's dad, Arnold, is worth as much as $300 million. Plus, she has the Kennedy family background, too, thanks to mom Maria Shriver. But at 24, Katherine is proactively forging her own career, writing a book for new graduates called I Just Graduated . . . Now What? . In it, Katherine interviews influential athletes, singers, entrepreneurs, and even her parents about their journeys.
Former NYC major Michael Bloomberg is worth a staggering $33 billion, but his daughters opted out of the socialite-party-girl route. Georgina, for example, has coauthored four young-adult novels and is also a professional equestrian. Her sister Emma — who went to Princeton — works in the nonprofit world.
Sam Branson could could inherit some of his dad's multi-billion-dollar fortune, but he's not sitting back and waiting. The son of Virgin mogul Richard Branson (and husband of Isabella Calthrope, the sister of Prince Harry's girlfriend) has gotten day jobs as both a model and a filmmaker.
Son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen  (or is it Frank Sinatra ?), Ronan Farrow isn't content with resting on his parents' success. He's tried his hand at TV with a short-lived MSNBC show but also has experience as a kid genius and political leader. After graduating from Bard College at age 15 with double majors in philosophy and biology, he attended Yale Law School, studied at Oxford University, and became a Rhodes Scholar. Since then, he's rubbed elbows with the political elite, having served in the Obama administration and founded the State Department's Office of Global Youth Issues while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. Also on his impressive résumé? Ronan was a UNICEF spokesperson for several years, and he's written for publications like Newsday and The Wall Street Journal.
As the granddaughter of the iconic cosmetic businesswoman Estée Lauder, Aerin Lauder has billions to her name. Not content with her ancestors' success, she started her own luxury lifestyle brand that specializes in accessories, home decor, and, of course, a bit of beauty.
While she kept in the family business, Sofia Coppola, daughter of the celebrated director Francis Ford Coppola, has found her own success. She was the third woman to ever be nominated for a best director Oscar, thanks to her film Lost in Translation, and while her short-lived acting career inspired charges of nepotism, many critics praise her directing chops. Honorable mentions go to her hardworking family members, too, like brother Roman Coppola and cousins Jason Schwartzman  and Nicolas Cage  (who actually dropped the famous last name to make it on his own).
Born to British socialite Ann Dexter-Jones and real estate entrepreneur Laurence Ronson, Marc Ronson and his twin sisters, Charlotte and Samantha, all found success in their fields. Mark is a Grammy-winning music producer, associated with acts like Amy Winehouse  and Bruno Mars, Samantha is a DJ, and Charlotte a designer.
Anderson won't be getting any of mom Gloria Vanderbilt's $200 million. In fact, his mom also didn't rely on her trust fund, making it as a fashion designer with a popular line of denim in the '70s and '80s. As a CNN host, Anderson makes about $11 million a year, reportedly. Not bad.
Actor Armie Hammer — or should we call him by his real name Armand Hammer — is named after his great-grandfather, an oil tycoon and philanthropist. And no, Armie is not quite a "baking soda" heir, although his great-grandfather Armand did hold stock in the company that made Arm & Hammer products, although the name was not related.
Lauren Bush Lauren
When you have American presidents as your uncle and grandfather and come from the wealthy Bush family, you don't need to go out and start your own business. But Lauren Bush, now Lauren Bush Lauren, did just that when she cofounded FEED Projects. Today, the former model is the CEO of the company that makes FEED bags that benefit the UN World Food Program. She also happens to be married to Ralph Lauren's son David.