Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# Thomas Friedkin

Random fact: Enjoys big game hunting in Tanzania where he owns a reserve.

Overview

Friedkin was the founder of Gulf States Toyota, an independent distributor of Toyota vehicles. The closely held Houston-based business has more than 150 dealerships across five U.S. states and had revenue of $8.4 billion in 2015. The billionaire's son is chief executive officer of family holding company Friedkin Group.

As of Sept. 22, 2017:
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Industry Retail
Biggest asset N/A
Citizenship United States
Wealth Self-made
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Relative Value

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Net Worth Summary

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Biography

Birthdate:
Family: Married, 4 children

Thomas Friedkin was born to Jean and Kenny Friedkin in San Diego, California. His father was a combat pilot and flew with the British Royal Air Force during World War II before founding Pacific Southwest Airlines in 1949. When both Thomas' parents died he became the largest shareholder in the airline.

Friedkin started Gulf States Toyota after Toyota Motor Sales granted him distribution rights for its cars and trucks in Texas and neighbouring states in 1969, according to the company's website. His son Dan was later named chairman and chief executive officer of The Friedkin Group, the closely held entity that controls Gulf States Toyota.

Friedkin was also a former Hollywood stunt pilot and actor and appeared in movies such as Jaws: The Revenge. He had a collection of vintage military aircraft with his son Dan, who participates in air shows and in commemorative displays around the world, according to the website of the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation. Friedkin and his son also founded the Friedkin Conservation Fund, which aims to conserve more than 6.1 million acres of Tanzania's protected wildlife areas.

The billionaire lived in Houston, Texas with his wife Susan. They have four children.

Milestones
  • 1949 Father Kenneth co-founds Pacific Southwest Airlines with wife Jean.
  • 1965 Son Dan Friedkin born in San Diego, California.
  • 1969 Creates Gulf States Toyota.
  • 1994 Establishes the Friedkin Conservative Fund with son Dan.
  • 2000 Record sales sees Gulf States Toyota sell 11 percent of all Toyotas in the U.S.
  • 2012 Gulf States Toyota named Houston's largest closely held company.
  • 2013 Sponsors FC Dallas stadium in Frisco, Texas.
  • 2014 Gulf States Toyota named as one of Houston's healthiest employers.