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General News

The 50 Wealthiest Greeks in America! An Annual TNH Presentation of Our Community’s Top Achievers (41-50)

March 13, 2024
Eraklis & Vanessa Diamataris, co-Editors/Publishers

In this TNH/EK special edition of the 50 Wealthiest Greeks in America, we embark on a journey of celebration and inspiration. As co-editors and publishers, we are honored to shine a spotlight on individuals whose remarkable achievements not only exemplify the American Dream but also fill us with immense pride in our Greek heritage.

(The 50 Wealthiest Greeks in America! An Annual TNH Presentation of Our Community’s Top Achievers: 1-10

The 50 Wealthiest Greeks in America! An Annual TNH Presentation of Our Community’s Top Achievers: 11-20

The 50 Wealthiest Greeks in America! An Annual TNH Presentation of Our Community’s Top Achievers: 21-30

The 50 Wealthiest Greeks in America! An Annual TNH Presentation of Our Community’s Top Achievers: 31-40)

Each profile within these pages tells a story of perseverance, resilience, and triumph against all odds. From humble beginnings to soaring heights, these individuals have overcome obstacles, pursued their passions, and carved out their own paths to success. Their stories serve as a testament to the limitless possibilities that await those who dare to dream big and work hard.

But beyond their personal accomplishments, these individuals also embody the spirit of philanthropy and community service. They understand the importance of giving back and are committed to making a difference in the lives of others. Whether through charitable donations, volunteer work, or mentorship, they are dedicated to supporting worthy causes and lifting up those in need.

As we reflect on the remarkable journeys of these 50 individuals, we are reminded of the power of unity and solidarity within the Greek community. It is our shared values, traditions, and sense of kinship that bind us together and propel us forward. In times of adversity, we draw strength from our collective heritage and stand ready to support one another.

We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to our readers and supporters for making this special issue possible. Your unwavering dedication and enthusiasm have fueled our efforts and inspired us to showcase the incredible achievements of our Greek-American community and have been instrumental in bringing this project to fruition.

As we turn the pages of this insert, may we be inspired by the stories of resilience and determination, reawakening our faith in the American Dream and reinforcing our commitment to supporting one another. Let us continue to give generously to worthy organizations, especially those affiliated with the Greek community, knowing that together, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

After all, this is our community, these are our people, and it is our collective responsibility to uplift and empower each other.

  1. HOWARD LORBER

$96 MILLION (WallMine)

REAL ESTATE, INVESTMENTS, FOOD

Long Island University (Tax); Married, 2 children

Howard Lorber

Howard Lorber, Chairman of Douglas Elliman and a key figure in the real estate industry, traces his Greek heritage back to the resilient Jewish community of Thessaloniki. Lorber’s grandparents were among the fortunate few who immigrated to the United States before World War II, escaping the tragic fate of many Greek Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Motivated by his family’s history, Lorber accepted the role of Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2017, recognizing the importance of preserving the memory of those lost.

Beyond his leadership at Douglas Elliman, Lorber serves as President and CEO of Vector Group Ltd. and its subsidiary New Valley, LLC. He is also the Executive Chairman of Nathan’s Famous, Inc., overseeing significant growth in the company’s performance as indicated by SEC filings.

Lorber’s commitment to philanthropy is evident through his involvement in various charitable organizations. He was honored with the Metropolitan Chrysostomos Award by the ‘Oxi’ Day Foundation for his dedication to commemorating the courage of Greeks during the Holocaust. Additionally, Lorber serves on the boards of the 92nd Street Y, the Garden of Dreams Foundation, and the Southampton Hospital Foundation. As Co-Chairman of the Silver Shield Foundation, he supports the educational needs of children of police officers and firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty.

In recognition of his achievements, Lorber received an honorary doctorate from Long Island University, where he also serves as a trustee. His multifaceted career and philanthropic endeavors underscore his deep commitment to making a positive impact on both the real estate industry and society as a whole.

 

  1. GEORGE SCANGOS

$91 MILLION (GuruFocus)

BIOTECHNOLOGY

Cornell University (BA Biology); University of Massachusetts (Microbiology PhD); Married

Scangos, George – Vir

George Scangos, a third generation Greek-American, is a 40-year veteran biotech executive who has run multiple publicly traded companies and helped build two from their earliest days. Originally from Lynn, MA Scangos didn’t learn English until he was in kindergarten, spent summers at the beach, and didn’t like science until he fell in love with biology at Cornell.

Scangos served as the leader (president, CEO and member of the board) of infectious disease drugmaker Vir Biotechnology and was one of the industry’s more high-profile chief executives. Scangos led Vir since its launch in 2017 and oversaw its transition from startup to a developer of multiple marketed medicines. However, at 74, he decided to retire in April 2023 (but still remains on the board).

Under Dr. Scangos’ leadership, and in less than six years, the company delivered life-saving therapies for Ebola and COVID-19 to millions of patients around the world, built a robust pipeline that currently spans five therapeutic areas, and established a strong balance sheet with approximately $2.7 billion in cash and cash equivalents. In 2022, Vir was named the fastest growing company on the 2022 Deloitte Technology Fast 500.

Prior to his tenure at Vir, Scangos served as CEO of Biogen Inc., where he spearheaded strategic initiatives and navigated the company through significant restructuring. His leadership at Biogen propelled the development of breakthrough treatments, including Aduhelm, a medication for Alzheimer’s disease.

Before his roles at Vir and Biogen, Scangos served as CEO of Exelixis and held leadership positions at Bayer Biotechnology. Throughout his career, he has been recognized for his exceptional leadership, earning accolades such as Fortune’s ‘Businessperson of the Year’ and Harvard Business Review’s ‘Best Performing CEOs in the World’.

Beyond his corporate achievements, Scangos is deeply involved in industry organizations and philanthropic endeavors. He has served as Chair of PhRMA and the California Healthcare Institute and received numerous awards for his contributions to the life sciences sector. He is also professor emeritus of biology at Johns Hopkins University.

Even in retirement, Scangos’ expertise remains in demand. This was evidenced by his appointment to the board of Voyager, a leading gene therapy company, not even one month after his ‘retirement’. His continued involvement underscores his enduring commitment to advancing scientific innovation and improving global health outcomes.

 

  1. CHRIS CHELIOS

Illinois

$80 MILLION (Celebrity Net Worth)

SPORTS, Married, 4 children

Former Chicago Blackhawks great Chris Chelios has his jersey retired during a ceremony before an NHL hockey game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

Chris Chelios, born in Chicago in 1962 as Christos Kostas Chelios, is a testament to the enduring spirit and resilience rooted in his Spartan, Greek heritage. His journey from a young boy in Evergreen Park, Chicago, to becoming an NHL legend encapsulates a remarkable story of perseverance, skill, and dedication. Despite facing early setbacks, including being cut from teams, Chelios’ determination, fueled by his proud Greek lineage, propelled him to greatness. He once remarked, “we know where to find that inner will, like the best of thoroughbred race horses. It’s in our bloodline,” showcasing the depth of his motivation.

Chelios’ hockey career began to shine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he played a pivotal role in their NCAA championship victory in 1983. His outstanding performance at the university level caught the attention of the NHL, marking the start of an exceptional career in professional hockey. Over 26 seasons, Chelios became one of the most enduring players in NHL history. His career is highlighted by a record-breaking 1,651 regular-season games played, the highest by a defenseman in the league’s history. Additionally, his playoff appearances set another record for the most playoff games played by a defenseman.

Throughout his career, Chelios achieved numerous accolades, including three Stanley Cup victories, three Norris Trophies as the best defenseman, and 11 All-Star appearances. He demonstrated leadership and skilled playing for teams such as the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, and Atlanta Thrashers, ultimately retiring as the all-time leader in games played by a defenseman. Chelios’ widely apparent leadership on and off the ice during his career manifested in the fact that he served as captain for both the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings while playing for those franchises. His contributions to hockey were immortalized in 2013 when he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Further solidifying his legacy, the Chicago Blackhawks retired his No. 7 jersey in February 2024.

After retiring from playing, he shared his knowledge and experience as an assistant coach for the Detroit Red Wings and transitioned to broadcasting, working as an NHL analyst for ESPN, though he won’t be returning for the upcoming NHL season. His business ventures, notably CCH Xtreme, which offers hockey training programs, have also contributed to his financial success, culminating in his debut on The National Herald’s list of the 50 wealthiest Greeks in America this year.

 

  1. TINA FEY

New York

$75 MILLION (Celebrity Net Worth)

ENTERTAINMENT

University of Virginia (Drama); Married, 2 children

(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
Invision FILE – In this Nov. 21, 2019, file photo, actress Tina Fey attends the American Museum of Natural History’s 2019 Museum Gala in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

Tina Fey, born Elizabeth Stamatina Fey, is a celebrated actor, writer, and producer known for her comedic genius and cultural impact. Raised in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, Fey grew up immersed in her Greek heritage, with her mother ensuring Greek language and traditions were part of their household.

Fey’s career took off over two decades ago when she joined the cast of ‘Saturday Night Live’, where she made history as the first female head writer and co-hosted the iconic Weekend Update segment. Throughout her career, Fey has often incorporated her Greek heritage into her work, adding humor and authenticity to her characters and sketches. She once humorously commented on the retirement age in Greece: “What did you say? Retire at 54? Really? Αλήθεια? Greek people in America work the register at the diner until they die…”

Her talent and creativity have earned Fey numerous awards and accolades, including nine Emmy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, five Screen Actors Guild Awards, and a Mark Twain Prize for American Humor – the youngest recipient of the award. She gained widespread acclaim for her work on the sitcom ‘30 Rock’, which garnered over 100 Emmy nominations, and for co-creating the Netflix series ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ and ‘Mulligan’ as well as the NBC sitcom ‘Mr. Mayor’.

In addition to her television success, Fey has made a significant impact in film, starring in and voicing roles in various movies, including ‘Mean Girls’, ‘Baby Mama’, ‘Megamind’, and ‘Soul’. She created the musical adaptation of her film ‘Mean Girls’, which premiered on Broadway in 2018 and earned her a Tony Award nomination. Fey also served as an executive producer for ‘Girls5Eva’, a comedy series about a one-hit-wonder girl group from the ’90s who reunite to give their pop star dreams one more chance. This show was one of the first original series for NBCU’s streaming platform, Peacock. She has also excelled as an author, with her memoir ‘Bossypants’ topping bestseller lists (including The New York Times for 5 weeks in a row) and earning her a Grammy Award nomination.

Outside of entertainment, Fey is a passionate advocate for social causes, supporting organizations like Autism Speaks and Mercy Corps. She is vocal about gender equality in comedy and beyond, using her platform to address systemic issues and advocate for change.

Fey’s partnership with Amy Poehler has become legendary, with the duo co-hosting award shows and embarking on a successful comedy tour. Their collaboration continues to captivate audiences, with record-breaking comedy shows and new projects in the works.

In her personal life, Fey is married to composer Jeff Richmond, and they have two daughters, Alice and Penelope Athena. Her influence in the entertainment industry and commitment to her craft make her a beloved and influential figure in comedy and beyond.

 

  1. ANGELO SOTIRA

California

$75 MILLION (Celebrity Net Worth)

ENTREPRENEUR

Sotira, Angelo – DeviantArt

Angelo Sotira is a Greek-American entrepreneur and co-founder of the popular online community and social networking website DeviantArt. Born on February 14, 1981, in Greece, Sotira moved to the United States at a young age. He displayed an early interest in computers and technology, teaching himself to code and design websites. In 2000, at the age of 19, Sotira co-founded DeviantArt along with Scott Jarkoff and Matt Stephens. DeviantArt quickly gained popularity as a platform for artists to showcase their work, connect with other creatives, and receive feedback from a global audience. The website features a wide range of art forms, including digital art, traditional painting, photography, and literature. Under Sotira’s leadership, DeviantArt grew into one of the largest online art communities, attracting millions of users worldwide. The platform’s vibrant community and user-generated content fostered a supportive environment for artists to express themselves and collaborate on projects. In 2007, DeviantArt was acquired by Wix.com, a leading cloud-based web development platform, for an undisclosed amount. Sotira continued to be involved with DeviantArt following the acquisition, contributing to its growth and development. Sotira’s vision for DeviantArt was to provide artists with a platform to share their creations, gain exposure, and build a community around their work. His entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to empowering artists have made DeviantArt a cornerstone of the online art world.

Outside of DeviantArt, Sotira has been involved in various entrepreneurial ventures and initiatives. He remains an influential figure in the tech and art communities, advocating for the importance of creativity and self-expression in the digital age.

 

  1. GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO

Wisconsin

$70 MILLION (Sportscasting)

SPORTS; Engaged, 3 Children

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo goes to the basket and draws a foul against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

Giannis Sina Ugo Antetokounmpo stands out among the successful individuals on our list not just because of his estimated net worth of $110 million, but also because of his significant impact on the NBA and especially his inspiring journey to success. Despite being just over 28 years old, Giannis has already cemented his place as a household name in the United States and around the world. He achieved a major milestone in his career by winning the 2021 NBA championship with the Milwaukee Bucks. Additionally, Giannis and his partner Mariah Riddlesprigger, a volleyball player, expanded their family in 2021 with the birth of their son, Maverick Shai, who joined their first son, Liam Charles, who was born in 2020 and recently celebrated his third birthday. While Giannis’ net worth may not be the highest on our list, his accomplishments and impact in the NBA and beyond make him one of the most important shining examples of success.

Giannis is an NBA superstar who has been named Most Valuable Player twice and was also named the 2021 NBA All-Star Game MVP. Born in Athens, Greece, to Nigerian immigrants from Lagos, he and three of his four brothers were born in Greece, but they were not automatically granted full Greek citizenship due to the jus sanguinis provision of Greek nationality law. As a result, Antetokounmpo was stateless for the first 18 years of his life and lacked official documents from either Nigeria or Greece. In 2013, he was granted Greek citizenship, and his family Hellenized their surname from Adetokunbo to Antetokounmpo to comply with Greek spelling rules. Giannis grew up in the Sepolia neighborhood of Athens, and he and his brothers sold items on the street to help their parents make ends meet in the face of harsh working conditions for immigrants in Greece.

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s basketball career started in 2007 when he first discovered the sport. Three years later, he was already playing on the youth team of local club Filathlitikos. In 2011, he earned a spot on the senior squad of Filathlitikos, which competed in the Greek Basket League’s Third Division before being promoted to the Greek A2 League’s Second Division for the 2012-2013 season.

Antetokounmpo made himself available for the 2013 NBA draft, where he was chosen in the first round as the 15th overall pick by the Milwaukee Bucks. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie second team at the end of his first season in the league.

After a remarkable rookie season, Giannis was selected to the NBA All-Rookie second team. As he continued to impress the basketball world, Antetokounmpo signed a four-year $100 million contract extension with the Milwaukee Bucks on September 19, 2016, a testament to his growing superstar status and the Bucks’ confidence in his ability to improve further.

Over the course of his eight seasons in the NBA, he has been selected to the NBA All-Star team seven times, serving as an All-Star Captain twice, and won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award in 2020. Just before the end of 2020, he signed another massive five-year extension with the Bucks worth $228 million.

Giannis is not just a basketball player, but also a successful businessman with a range of financial ventures. In the past year alone, he has become a minority owner of MLS’ Nashville SC, created the Calamos Antetokounmpo Sustainable Equity Funds in collaboration with John Koudounis and Calamos Investments, invested in Israeli health startup Antidote Health, made his acting debut in partnership with WhatsApp to promote their Naija Odyssey documentary, and became a minority owner of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2021.

Despite his numerous commitments, Giannis still finds time to give back to his community. He is an active member of the philanthropic community in the Milwaukee metro area, and remains closely connected to his Greek heritage. Giannis supports Greek tourism, Aegean Airlines, recycling initiatives, and more recently, pandemic safety efforts in Greece. Giannis is actively involved in promoting basketball for youth in his hometown of Sepolia in Athens, Greece. He organizes basketball tournaments and contributes to the creation and renovation of basketball courts in the area. Additionally, Giannis’ family has established the Charles Antetokounmpo Family Foundation in honor of his late father, which is dedicated to supporting various charitable causes. Three of Giannis’ brothers are also professional basketball players: Thanasis plays alongside Giannis for the Milwaukee Bucks, Kostas plays for Turkey’s Fenerbahçe, and Alexandros plays for the Wisconsin Herd.

 

  1. ART ZAFIROPOULO

California

$70 MILLION (Benzinga)

ENGINEERING, TECHNOLOGY

Northeastern (Physics, Engineering); Married, 2 children

Zafiropoulo, Art – YouTube

Born to Greek parents in a suburb of Boston, Art Zafiropoulo grew up in a relatively poor environment, saying that although his parents, who left Greece after World War I, worked ‘very, very hard,’ they were never able to buy their own home. Despite the financial challenges, Zafiropoulo pursued higher education at Northeastern University, majoring in physics and electrical engineering. In an interview with Semi.org, Zafiropoulo described where his interest for engineering may have come from: “When I was growing up, my father was very interested in cars…and mechanical engineering. He later became a watchmaker. When he first started working in the U.S., he worked at a clothing store called Scott’s. It was a high end store where he designed clothes for [President] Roosevelt, the Pope, and a number of other [famous people]. But when the industry shifted from manual designs to automation, cutting clothing with band saws, he decided to leave. During the same time, he was working as a jeweler, repairing watches at home. He was mechanically inclined, so he opened a jewelry store and progressed from that point. I guess between the cars and his knowledge of mechanical configurations it sort of just rubbed off on me. Engineering was an important part of my life, and I think mainly from him.” Zafiropoulo also has a soft spot for Greeks and Greece. In an interview with BizJournals, he was characterized as such: If a visitor mentions something in passing that taps Zafiropoulo’s deep love of his Greek heritage, he’ll likely respond with an impromptu bear hug.

With over five decades of experience in the semiconductor industry, Zafiropoulo’s leadership and technical prowess are widely recognized. As the president of Ultratech Stepper, now Ultratech, Inc., he orchestrated a successful management buyout and drove one of the industry’s most notable IPOs in 1993. Throughout his career, Zafiropoulo has amassed numerous patents and received accolades, including SEMI’s Bob Graham Award for Marketing Excellence and induction into VLSI Research’s Semiconductor Industry Hall of Fame. His contributions extend to serving as Director Emeritus of the Board of Directors for SEMI.

In his latest endeavor, Zafiropoulo joined PrinterPrezz’s board of advisors, aligning with the company’s mission to accelerate the development of innovative medical devices through advanced manufacturing techniques in an effort to become the first ‘Medifacturing’ company in the world. By developing advanced medical devices using processes that combine expertise in 3D printing, orthopedics, semiconductor, and nanotechnologies, PrinterPrezz’s ultimate goal is to provide medical solutions that enable people to enjoy active lives longer.

Zafiropoulo established an endowed faculty chair in engineering (with a $2.5 million gift) at Northeastern University. He is also the co-founder and was the co-owner of the successful Ferrari dealership of Silicon Valley, one of the largest in North America at the time of its opening. The dealership was eventually sold in 2020 to indiGO Auto Group.

Co-founding Scuderia Corsa in 2012 with Giacomo Mattioli, Zafiropoulo played a pivotal role in establishing the prominent American automotive racing team headquartered in Las Vegas. Specializing in various competitions like the IMSA SportsCar Championship and Ferrari Challenge in North America, Scuderia Corsa caters to Ferrari clients’ racing needs, offering customizable track-day events and participating in prestigious GT endurance races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans. While originally co-owned by Mattioli and Zafiropoulo, Mattioli acquired Zafiropoulo’s shares in 2022, assuming sole ownership of the team.

 

  1. YANNI CHRYSSOMALIS – AKA YANNI

California

$50 MILLION (Celebrity Net Worth)

ENTERTAINMENT

University of Minnesota (Psychology)

Born in Kalamata, Greece, on November 14, 1954, Yanni Chryssomallis was a musical prodigy who would go on to captivate the world with his unique compositions. The Chryssomallis household, lively with the sounds of music, was where Yanni, alongside his older brother and younger sister, would spend countless hours immersed in melody and harmony. Despite the charms of a typically Greek upbringing – fishing, swimming, and schooling – the young Yanni was unmistakably distinct. An innate composer, he found his calling with the piano at the tender age of six. Shunning traditional lessons, Yanni sought to liberate the music that danced in his mind, craving to express it through the black and white keys of the instrument.

While music was his dominating passion, Yanni showcased exceptional versatility by breaking the Greek National swimming record in the 50-meter freestyle at just 14. However, his heart was set on a different journey – one that would ultimately allow him to share his musical gifts far and wide. Childhood inspirations drawn from his roots would later blossom into iconic compositions such as ‘Santorini’, ‘Nostalgia’, and ‘Acroyali’.

The next chapter of Yanni’s story began in 1972 when he ventured to the United States to attend the University of Minnesota. It was there, amidst the challenges of adapting to a new culture and language, that Yanni cultivated his unique musical style, blending piano and electronic keyboards to craft new sounds. Graduating in 1976 with a degree in Psychology, Yanni made a pivotal decision to dedicate a year entirely to music, setting the stage for his lifelong vocation.

The 1980s were a transformative period for Yanni. Joining the rock and roll realm with Chameleon, he toured extensively while honing his craft in electronic music. His first solo album, ‘Optimystique’, released in 1980, sowed the seeds for his solo career. By the late 1980s, Yanni had not only carved a niche for himself but had also begun to attract a substantial following. His collaboration with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in 1990 marked a significant evolution in his style, adding a rich orchestral layer to his creations.

Yanni’s prolific output continued into the early ’90s, a period marked by critical acclaim and commercial success. Albums such as ‘In Celebration of Life’, ‘Dare to Dream’, and ‘In My Time’, the latter two earning Grammy nominations, solidified his status as a groundbreaking artist. His music, characterized by serene, piano-centered compositions, resonated globally, selling millions of copies.

Chryssomallis’ musical legacy, originating from his early days in Kalamata, Greece, has continued to flourish from 2010 onwards with his 19th album ‘Truth of Touch’ marking a return to primarily instrumental music after nearly a decade. This period of stress-free creativity led to the album’s global release in over 40 countries. His achievements were further highlighted in the globally aired TV program ‘Yanni: A Living Legacy’, featuring cherished performances and previously unseen concert footage, alongside ‘Yanni in Hi Definition’ which offered fans high-definition highlights of his live shows. Yanni’s worldwide tours, including over 60 performances across the Americas, showcased new music from ‘Truth of Touch’ and maintained his iconic status, drawing fans to live experiences of his evolving musical journey, from historical site concerts to his latest works.

 

  1. ALEXANDER PAYNE

California

$35 MILLION (Celebrity Net Worth)

ENTERTAINMENT

Stanford University (Spanish & History); 1 child

Payne, Alexander – AP Photo

Alexander Payne, born Constantine Alexander Payne on February 10, 1961, in Omaha, Nebraska, is a celebrated Greek-American film director, screenwriter, and producer. His paternal grandfather, who arrived in Omaha around 1912, anglicized the family name from ‘Papadopoulos’ due to an anti-Greek riot in 1909. Raised in Omaha by parents Peggy and George Payne, both of Greek descent, Payne’s upbringing was infused with Greek heritage and culture. Notably, Payne’s father initiated the Greek Festival in Omaha in the late 70s, reflecting the family’s strong ties to their Greek roots. Payne attended Creighton Preparatory School before pursuing his passion for filmmaking at Stanford University, where he studied history and Spanish, igniting his interest in cinema.

After graduating from Stanford, Payne pursued his passion for cinema at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Film School, where he earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1990. During his time at UCLA, Payne honed his skills as a filmmaker and began to garner attention for his distinctive storytelling style and keen observation of human behavior.

Payne made his feature film directorial debut in 1996 with ‘Citizen Ruth’, a dark comedy-drama starring Laura Dern. The film received critical acclaim for its sharp satire and bold exploration of controversial themes such as abortion and substance abuse. However, it was Payne’s sophomore effort, ‘Election’ (1999), that firmly established him as a filmmaker to watch. Starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick, Election was a critical and commercial success, earning Payne widespread praise for his incisive wit and deft handling of complex characters.

In 2002, Payne achieved further acclaim with ‘About Schmidt’, a poignant comedy-drama starring Jack Nicholson as a retired insurance salesman grappling with existential questions. The film earned Payne his reputation as a master storyteller with a unique voice. However, it was Payne’s next film, ‘Sideways’ (2004), that catapulted him to international fame and cemented his status as one of Hollywood’s most talented directors. A bittersweet comedy-drama about two friends on a wine-tasting road trip through California’s wine country, Sideways received widespread critical acclaim and won numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Payne and his writing partner, Jim Taylor.

Since then, Payne has continued to captivate audiences with his thought-provoking films, including ‘The Descendants’ (2011), starring George Clooney, ‘Nebraska’ (2013), featuring Bruce Dern and, most recently, ‘The Holdovers’ (2023). Known for his keen attention to detail, nuanced characterizations, and darkly humorous storytelling, Payne has carved out a unique niche in the world of cinema.

In addition to his work as a director, Payne is also a prolific producer, having collaborated with some of the industry’s most talented filmmakers. He has received numerous accolades throughout his career, including two Academy Awards and multiple nominations for his work in film.

Outside of filmmaking, Payne is known for his philanthropic efforts and commitment to social causes. He remains an influential figure in the entertainment industry, admired for his creative vision, uncompromising storytelling, and dedication to his craft.

Payne was granted Greek citizenship in 2022 and was involved in the Evia Film Project, a sustainable filmmaking initiative run by the Thessaloniki Film Festival in Greece. He has expressed interest in making a film in the Greek language if the script is right. Payne is deeply connected to his Greek heritage, with roots in Syros, Livadia, and Aegio. He also has family ties in Greece, including his 6-year-old daughter from his second marriage who lives there with his second wife.

Payne’s contributions to cinema and his Greek heritage were recently celebrated at the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival (LAGFF), where a special screening of The Holdovers was hosted with the director in attendance.

 

  1. STEVE APOSTOLOPOULOS

Canada

~$3 to 4 BILLION (Canadian Business (2017) via Forbes)

Harvard University; Married, 1 child

The Washington Commanders roll out their team name and logo at media reveal from FedExField, Landover, Maryland, February 2nd, 2022 (Joe Glorioso | All-Pro Reels)

Steve Apostolopoulos, an honorary mention in our coverage, stands out as a prominent Greek-Canadian businessman with significant accomplishments across a host of fields. Although he is technically based in Canada, his potential ventures into the United States, such as his interest in purchasing the Washington Commanders, warranted his inclusion. Born in Toronto, Canada, he is a distinguished figure, known for his role as the managing partner of the real estate firm Triple Group of Companies. Additionally, Steve is the founder of the private equity firm Six Ventures and co-founder of the credit card firm Caary. His educational background includes a degree from Harvard University, which has undoubtedly contributed to his successful career.

Steve’s journey in business began at a young age, inspired by his father, Andreas Apostolopoulos, a late Greek-Canadian billionaire businessman who immigrated to Canada from Messini, Kalamata, in Greece. Andreas Apostolopoulos passed away on February 15, 2021, at the age of 69, leaving behind a legacy of entrepreneurship and philanthropy. His father’s influence and guidance have been instrumental in Steve’s success. In 2023, Steve, alongside his brothers Jim and Peter, made headlines for their bids to purchase the Washington Commanders of the National Football League (NFL) and the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League (NHL), underlining a family trait of always seeking to expand their business interests by looking into getting into the sports industry.

With a net worth of approximately $1.3 billion as of January 2024, Steve’s financial success is a testament to his business acumen and leadership skills. His work with the Triple Group of Companies, where he has been serving since 1999, reflects his deep commitment and expertise in the field of real estate and property management. Steve’s business ventures also extend to Six Ventures Inc., a company known for its investments in diverse fields, and Caary Capital, a digital platform aimed at simplifying expense management for clients.

Steve Apostolopoulos is married to Laura Apostolopoulos, and their long-standing relationship has been a foundation of his personal life. Together, they have one child.

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ATHENS – An Archieratical Divine Liturgy and a memorial service honoring the 50th dark anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus at the Metropolis – the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Athens – marked the beginning of the 4th Archon International Conference on Religious Freedom of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on Sunday, May 26.

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