Beyond being recognized as an American entrepreneur, investor and stockbroker, Chris Gardner is famous as a motivational speaker, author and philanthropist. The man is admired for his inspiring rags to riches story.
In his popular book – Pursuit of Happyness, Chris depicted his struggles as a homeless father. The book received abundant positive reviews and was eventually made into a movie of the same title.
Chris Gardner Bio
Born on February 9, 1954, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as Christopher Paul Gardner to Thomas Turner and Bettye Jean Gardner, Chris was raised by his mother. He had an older half-sister, Ophelia and two other young sisters – Sharon and Kimberly from two different unions.
He was the second child and the only boy born to his mother. Chris recalls not getting along with his stepfather, Freddie Triplett whom he described as abusive. The violent drama between his parents took a turn for the worse when Bettye was convicted of the attempted murder of Freddie.
Chris and his younger sisters were sent to foster homes. However, he was a broken and confused child with no father figure to look up to. He was already a father before he met his biological father for the first time. Due to child abuse and abandonment, Chris had a rough experience with alcoholism. Regardless, he insisted on being a better man, a good father and a world-class personality.
After graduating from his high school, Chris went on to enlist in U.S Navy and worked in labs for years as a corpsman. Later, he was given full responsibility for laboratory and he also co-authored several medical journals with another doctor.
Chris’ Career and Net Worth
As a dedicated and hardworking intern in Dean Witter Reynolds, Chris passed the test to become a stockbroker in 1982 and all his hard work paid off. With mastery of the business and his wealth of experience, Chris later founded his own stock brokerage company Gardner Rich & Co where he still serves as the CEO with a start-up capital of $10,000.
Looking back on the journey so far, he says the decision to be the very best version of him was one of the things that made him.
As an entrepreneur, Chris is a company owner, a writer and a motivational speaker. He became known to many after his book about his struggles was made into a movie – Pursuit of Happyness – wherein Will Smith portrayed Chris. The movie became a worldwide hit and Chris became an instant celebrity.
Pursuit of Happyness which is his first book became a New York Times and Washington Post #1 Bestseller. It has been translated into over 40 languages including 6 dialects. Further translations are being made in Chinese and Arabic languages.
The movie version was a box office success. It grossed $162,586,036 domestically in the US and Canada. During its opening weekend, an earning of $27 million was recorded.
Since 2015, this inspirational man who never gave into the hardships of life has been enjoying his wealth of $60 million.
Chris is a philanthropist. He has funded a $50 million San Francisco project which creates low-income housing and opportunities for employment in the area of the city where he was once homeless
Son and Ex-wife
Chris Gardner married Sherry Dyson from Virginia On June 18, 1977. She was an educational expert in mathematics. After 3 years the marriage failed and Chris left to start a new life with his new girlfriend, Jackie Medina.
On January 28, 1981, Chris and Jackie had a son, Christopher Jarrett Gardner Jr. By 1986, he legally severed nuptial ties with Sherry.
Chris who always dreamt of being a doctor gave it up for a new dream. With his position as a research lab assistant, he earned an annual salary of $8,000. This could not meet his needs and responsibilities. He could barely take care of his Jackie and their son and couldn’t afford training to become a doctor.
At some point, Jackie left him and their son. At this time, Chris battled with homelessness for a year while working as an intern for a stock brokerage firm, Dean Witter Reynolds. Towards the end of his poverty days, he re-established contact with Jackie. Together they had another child, named Jacintha in 1985. Both were never married.
Chris Gardner Quotes
Having conquered all of his fears, flaws and challenges, Chris finds duty in uplifting others. Gardner determined from his early experiences that alcoholism, domestic abuse, child abuse, illiteracy, fear, and powerlessness were the things he wanted to avoid in the future. His motivational talks often revolve around these factors. Here are some of his popular quotes:
1. Others may question your credentials, your papers, your degrees. Others may look for all kinds of ways to diminish your worth. But what is inside you no one can take from you or tarnish.
2. Without that sense of self, no amount of paper, no pedigree, and no credentials can make you legit. No matter what, you have to feel legit inside first.
3. Always, always pursue happiness.
4. The secret to success: find something you love to do so much, you can’t wait for the sun to rise to do it all over again.
5. Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something.
Quick Facts about Chris
Full Name: Christopher Paul Gardner
Profession: Businessman, author, stockbroker
Ethnicity: African American
Date of Birth: February 9, 1954
Place of Birth: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Marital status: Divorcee (Sherry Dyson)
Astrological sign: Aquarius
Chris Gardner wealth: $60 million