Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#486 Dagmar Dolby $4.28B

Random fact: Son Tom Dolby is a filmmaker. He is also the author of four novels.


Dolby is the largest shareholder of Dolby Laboratories, the maker of home and cinema surround sound systems. She's the widow of founder Ray Dolby and owns about half the company, and with her two sons controls nearly all its voting rights. The San Francisco-based company had revenue of $1 billion in the year to Sept. 30. 2016.

As of Jan. 21, 2018:
Last change +$4.01M (+0.1%)
YTD change +$116M (+2.8%)
Industry Entertainment
Biggest asset DLB US Equity
Citizenship United States
Age 76
Wealth Inherited
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Dagmar Dolby's net worth of $4.28B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

Dolby owns 43 percent of publicly traded Dolby Laboratories, according to an Aug. 30, 2017 filing submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The shares are held directly and through family trusts.

She's collected more than $1.4 billion from dividends and the sale of shares as of December 2017, based on an analysis of company filings and Bloomberg data. The value of her cash investments is based on these proceeds, as well as market performance, taxes and charitable contributions.

Natalia Sandin, a spokesperson for Dolby Laboratories, didn't respond to requests for comment on Bloomberg's net worth calculation in October 2017.


Birthdate: 1941
Family: Widowed, 2 children

Dagmar Dolby was born in Germany in 1941. She met Ray Dolby in 1962 while she was living in Cambridge, England. She was enrolled in a summer language program and he was a Marshall Scholar at Cambridge University studying physics, according to a Dolby Laboratories release.

The pair traveled to India, where Ray served as an advisor to the United Nations for two years before they returned to London. Ray founded Dolby Laboratories there in 1965. The company would pioneer noise reduction and surround sound technology, and moved its headquarters and facilities to San Francisco in 1976.

In San Francisco, Dagmar Dolby became a fixture of the city's social scene and focused on philanthropy, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. She's donated part of her fortune to pro-choice causes and Democrats.

Ray Dolby was diagnosed with Alzheimer's around 2010, according to the Chronicle. The Dolby family donated $21 million to the California Pacific Medical Center in 2011, though the donation wasn't announced until 2014. They also gave $16 million in 2006 and $20 million in 2011 to build the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building for stem cell research at the University of California-San Francisco.

Ray Dolby died of leukemia in 2013, and Dagmar assumed ownership of nearly half of Dolby Laboratories. She lives in San Francisco and focuses on philanthropic activity. She donated $52.6 million to Cambridge University in 2015 to fund construction of the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Court, a student living area.

  • 1941 Dagmar Dolby is born in Germany.
  • 1962 Meets Ray Dolby while studying in Cambridge.
  • 1965 Dolby Laboratories is founded.
  • 2013 Ray Dolby dies of leukemia after suffering from Alzheimer's.
  • 2013 Dagmar assumes ownership of nearly half of Dolby Laboratories.
  • 2014 Son David founds Dolby Family Ventures.
  • 2014 Announces $21 million donation to the California Pacific Medical Center.
  • 2015 Donates $52.6 million to the University of Cambridge.