‘The Beverly Hillbillies’: How Much Would the Clampett Family Be Worth Today?

by Josh Lanier
(Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

We all know how The Beverly Hillbillies made their fortune. Jed Clampett was shootin’ at some food, missed but struck black gold, Texas tea, oil — that is. It was enough money to move his family from the Ozark Mountains to the hills of Beverly. But how much was his lucky find worth?

The number nerds at ScreenRant did some accounting to answer that question, and while it’s a lot of money, they don’t crack the top 20 richest fictional characters. According to the website, Jed Clampett made a cool $25 million in 1962 money. That’s about $215 million in today’s dollars. It’s a pretty good score for a guy with bad aim. But when the show ended nine years later, that amount had nearly quadrupled as The Beverly Hillbillies were worth about $850 million in 2021 dollars.

Mr. Drysdale was a sniveling worm at times during the show’s run. He tried to wheedle as much money from the Clampetts as he could over nine seasons. But as the president of the Commerce Bank of Beverly Hills, the man knew stuff. That’s close to a 400 percent return in less than a decade.

That’s an obscene amount of money for any time. But in terms of fictional rich people, The Beverly Hillbillies are practically poor.

If Not ‘The Beverly Hillbillies,’ Who are the Richest Characters?

The appropriately titled website The Richest compiled a list of the 15 wealthiest characters in pop culture. The Clampetts from The Beverly Hillbillies don’t make the list, but it’s full of some people you’d expect and some surprises.

It’s important to note though that money can’t buy everything, just ask Jay Gatsby (No. 15) from The Great Gatsby. He made $1 billion bootlegging liquor during prohibition, but he would have traded it all to reach that green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. (What’s up to all my fellow English majors.)

The list has plenty of names you’d expect to see. Those include Mr. Burns from The Simpsons at No. 10 with $1.5 billion, Richie Rich (obviously) at No. 8 with $5.8 billion, Bruce Wayne at No. 7 with $9.2 billion, and Tony Stark at No. 5 with $12.4 billion.

But there are plenty of others that you wouldn’t consider. For instance, The Beverly Hillbillies don’t even have the richest characters on CBS. Ashton Kutcher’s character Walden Schmidt from Two and a Half Men is worth $1.3 billion. He came in at No. 11 on the list. Daddie Warbucks from Annie raked in $36 billion as a defense contractor before giving most of it away at the behest of his adopted daughter.

The dragon Smaug from The Hobbit amassed a fortune of $54 billion in gold and treasure to secure his spot at No. 2 on the list. But the richest fictional character of all time is Scrooge McDuck with $65.4 billion. That’s probably self-evident since he had enough gold to swim in it.

But truth is richer than fiction. Scrooge McDuck would only be the 17th richest person in our world. He’s sandwiched between the heirs to the Walmart fortune Jim Walton at 16 and his sister Alice Walton, according to Forbes.