Some of the most famous fictional millionaires/billionaires have spent their money on lavish and peculiar things. They range from simply providing for a family to having a sweater made from real Irish setter. But whether they’re lovable or villainous, pop culture has a long history of ultra-rich characters. Here are a handful of them, including how they decided to spend their riches. You could be one lottery ticket away from a Wayne Family-sized fortune yourself, so it’s never too early to take notes.
1. Tony Stark
This brash playboy bachelor-turned-reluctant-yet-deeply-affected superhero has a lot of money to spend… and boy, does he ever spend it. Before he took some shrapnel to the chest (and a knock to his conscience), Iron Man Tony Stark spent his dollars like he was burning them — but in an environmentally friendly, sustainable energy kind of way. Post-accident Stark still put his money toward new houses, new cars (for racing scary Russians in Monaco), and more, but taking a shard of metal to the chest apparently helped him truly find his heart.
2. Jed Clampett
If you struck it rich by living on an oil field, wouldn’t you want to treat your family with your newly-earned oil money? When family patriarch and mountaineer Jed Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies comes into money, he saddles up the jalopy he’s got parked in the hills, and takes his family on an adventure to California. Modesty is Jed’s game, even though he’s got a sprawling estate, a swimming pool, some sweet digs for Elly May, and a big old rocking chair for Granny. Jed is the role model for everyone who swears to never let money change them.
3. Charles Foster Kane
Media magnate Charles Foster Kane is loud and odd man with a complicated history and an affinity for snow globes and toboggans. Kane’s humble background as a child gets him sent to live with a New York newspaper owner (a paper he’ll later take control of) in Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane. He’s a bit of a control freak in terms of his empire: Kane uses his wealth to build an opera house in Chicago and also his cavernous, empty mansion named Xanadu. The life of an eccentric magnate/hermit may not be for everyone, but it makes for quite a movie.
4. Cher Horowitz
Cher isn’t in total control of her own wealth; her Daddy takes care of her, and the stylish highschooler doesn’t seem to mind one bit. But that doesn’t mean the Clueless heroine isn’t going to be spending it on cars, clothes, and even charity. Anyone who uses their wealth to pull a My Fair Lady on the new girl in town (and subsequently help her land the hottest guy in school) can’t be all that bad, right?
5. Bruce Wayne
It’s not entirely a bad thing for Bruce Wayne to have been born into wealth. With it, he could finance his vengeance against the scum of Gotham. You know; the usual for any billionaire playboy orphan. Adult-sized Wayne used his dollars to retrofit the caverns below his family’s old money mansion so he could actively play out his avenging alter ego, Batman. He got some snazzy tools and toys to use against his enemies, a new car, and even a butler/father figure! What else could a billionaire vigilante ask for?
6. C. Montgomery Burns
What hasn’t Mr. Burns spent his dollars on? He has a gorilla vest! Springfield’s curmudgeonly resident has a long and wealthy background. The trillion dollar bill, anyone? His lavish estate, cars, Smithers: he’s got it all. And he hasn’t let his extreme wealth or advanced age go to his head; he simply dreams of destroying the sun and catching the 4:30 Autogyro, like any regular guy.
7. Gordon Gekko
If ever there were a cautionary tale of what not to do with the wealth you earn or receive, Gordon Gekko is it. Wall Street’s notoriously slimy and evil character once said — and it stuck — that "greed is good." So you can imagine the kind of life Gekko led on that motto. Think of the phones in the ‘80s, the suits, the slicked back hair, the limos. And let’s not even talk about the 2010 sequel with Shia LaBeouf.
8. Jay Gatsby
Some want to spend money on themselves (see previous, et al.) and some just want to win the heart of the lady they love most. However dubious Jay Gatsby — the protagonist of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American classic The Great Gatsby — and his rise to infamy were, he did it all for love. Never forget that the lavish parties, the cars, clothes, infinite sweater vests and ascots were all for Daisy Buchanan and her soft spoken but fiery ways.