What if the richest actor in the world has been hiding in plain sight for decades? Jami Gertz ended up becoming a major celeb in the ‘80s, and she parlayed her killer film career into a series of iconic film and television appearances. She has continued acting in recent years, but she’s found other endeavors to keep her busy and even help her change the world.
How did Gertz rise to fame? How did a chance meeting in the late ‘80s change her life, and what has she been doing since she stopped focusing on her acting career? Keep reading to discover the answers!
Early Hollywood fame
If you’re wondering where you know Jami Gertz from, the honest answer is plenty of iconic films. Back in the 1980s, she made waves on the big screen in films like The Lost Boys and Sixteen Candles. She also starred alongside future Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker in the film Square Pegs. Literary fans, meanwhile, are likely to recognize Gertz from her appearance in the film adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel Less Than Zero.
Even those who didn’t watch too many movies in the ‘80s are likely to recognize Jami Gertz from her television career. Her regular appearances on shows like The Facts of Life helped establish her as a genuine teen idol. At the height of her fame, she would meet someone who would ultimately help to change her life.
A life-changing marriage
In 1987, Jami Gertz met banker Tony Ressler after her publicist introduced them. The two became quite a romantic item, and it didn’t take long for the couple to realize they never wanted to part. Accordingly, the two married in 1989 and have been together ever since, raising three sons (Oliver, Nicholas, and Theo) together in Los Angeles.
While she was the wealthy one when they hooked up (more on this later), Ressler’s career would later take off in a big way. He’s the founder of Global Management and Ares Management, and the success of that business endeavor did more than make their lives very comfortable. It also helped her unexpectedly make Hollywood history!
Gertz is now the richest actor in the world
Perhaps the most surprising fact about Jami Gertz is that she is the richest actor in the entire world. As of this writing, she has an estimated net worth of $3 billion dollars. The only person who could really compete with Gertz’s title is Oprah Winfrey, but most consider her more of a media mogul than an actor.
To put Gertz’s wealth into perspective, she is worth far more than major Hollywood celebs like Tom Cruise (worth “only” $570 million dollars). Not bad for an actor whose biggest roles were decades ago!
Setting the record straight about her marriage
Given that marriage to Tony Ressler helped make Jami Gertz richer than she could likely ever become on her own, many think that she married into money. However, this is a misconception she is eager to set straight, and she did just that in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“Everyone thinks I married a rich guy,” she said. “But I made more money—way more money—than Tony when I met him. I paid for our first house. I paid for our first vacation. I married him because I fell in love with him.” In other words, the couple is insanely happy…and being insanely rich is just an added bonus!
From acting to other endeavors
In case you’re wondering, Jami Gertz never stopped acting. In the ‘90s, she starred in movies like Twister, and she made memorable appearances in hit TV shows like Seinfeld, Ally McBeal, and Entourage. She also had a major role in the long-running series Still Standing.
Gertz is still acting (she starred in I Want You Back in 2022), but she has found time for plenty of other endeavors. For example, she was a producer of the movie A Better Life in 2011, and she’s also part owner of the Atlanta Hawks. However, the endeavor that has kept Gertz busiest is the one that might just change the world.
Changing the world with her foundation
Back in 1997, Jami Gertz and Tony Ressler created the Ressler Gertz Family Foundation. Its stated goal was for the foundation to serve as “an arts museum, education, Jewish organizations and temples, and health and human services,” and the donations made by the foundation helped Gertz make the 2012 list of Forbes’ most generous celebrities.
As the NBA reports, this foundation announced in 2020 a “long-term, comprehensive plan to provide financial, marketing and educational resources to Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the city of Atlanta in an effort to create greater economic opportunity in the Black community.” It looks like Gertz is truly committed to giving back to the world that helped make her one of the most successful people in the entire world!