Full Name: Donald Leroy Bren
Born: May 11, 1932 (age 88)
Born Place: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Education: University of Washington (BA)
Occupation: Chairman of Irvine Company
Known for: Real estate development
Net worth: Rise US$17 billion (January 2020)
Spouse(s): Diane Bren
Mardelle Bren (divorced)
Parent(s): Marion Newbert
Milton H. Bren
Donald Leroy Bren (born May 11, 1932) is an American businessman who is chairman and owner of the Irvine Company, a US real estate development company. Bren’s net worth is $17 billion, making him number 32 on the 2020 Forbes 400 list.
Bren is the son of Marion (Newbert) and Milton Bren. His father Milton was a naval officer, talent agent, and successful movie producer while his mother Marion was a prominent civic leader. His mother was of partial Irish descent while his father was of Jewish descent. His parents divorced in 1948. Bren’s father remarried in 1948 to Academy Award-winning actress Claire Trevor. His mother remarried in 1953 to steel business man Earle M. Jorgensen.
Bren graduated from the University of Washington where he received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics. He tried out for the 1956 Olympic ski team but did not qualify following an injury. After college, he served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps.
Bren has been married three times:
- His first marriage was to Diane Bren and they had three children:
- Cary Bren (born 1959), served as president of Orange County home builder California Pacific Homes.
- Steve Bren (born 1960), a former professional auto racing driver and real estate developer.
- His second marriage was to Mardelle Bren in 1977. They had one daughter:
- Ashley Bren (born 1968)
- In May 1998, Bren, an Episcopalian, married Brigitte Muller, an entertainment lawyer born in La Jolla, California, in a church ceremony at the All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills, California. He and his wife reside in Newport Beach, California. They had a son in 2003.
Bren also has three children by two former companions.
Bren keeps a low public profile and as he explains, “I’m not a public official. I’m a businessman, I’m a builder, I’m a planner… And if I feel that I’ve done the job well, that’s the satisfaction I get, not from doing interviews or being more public.” OC Weekly described Bren in 2005 as “one of the nation’s least public billionaires”, who guards his privacy “jealously”. The Los Angeles Times that year canceled a pending article discussing how the fictional Caleb Nichol of the popular television show The O.C. was based on Bren, allegedly because the Irvine Company threatened to withdraw advertising. The Times denied the allegation and stated that the story was canceled for timing reasons.