What was Arne Naess Jr.’s net worth?

Arne Naess Jr. was a Norwegian shipping magnate, businessman, and mountaineer who had a net worth of $600 million at the time of his death in 2004.

Arne Naess Jr. was born in Germany on December 8, 1937. After his parents divorced, he moved to Norway with his mother. He discovered a love of mountaineering and by his late teens he had conquered twenty of Norway’s major mountains. In the mid-60s, he moved to New York to work for his uncle who owned a shipping company. In the late 60s, he launched his own shipping and real estate development business in London. His business had its ups and downs over the next few decades, but remained largely successful. He expanded into oil and other investments including an IT company called Tandberg Data. His empire was worth a reported $600 million at the time of his death.

He began climbing and leading mountain expeditions again in the early 70s. He was the lead mountaineer on the first Norwegian expedition to Mount Everest. The group’s climb was considered one of the most successful ascents of the mountain ever. He married three times, including a second marriage to singer Diana Ross. They were married from 1986 to 2000. He and Diana had two sons together, including singer/actor Evan Ross who is now married to singer Ashlee Simpson. Through marriage to Diana he became step-father to her three children including actress Tracee Ellis Ross. After his relationship with Diana Ross ended, Arne livedwith a woman named Camila Astrup, with him he had two sons.

Arne Naess, Jr passed away in 2004, after falling over 300 feet while climbing a mountain in South Africa. He was 66 years old at the time of his death.

Early Life

Arne Næss Jr. was born as Arne Rudolf Ludvig Raab on December 8, 1937 in Oslo, Norway. His father was German physician August Raab, while his mother was Norwegian national Kirsten Næss, whose uncle was philosopher and mountaineer Arne Næss. Due to his parents’ broken marriage, Næss was raised by his uncle Arne, who took him mountain climbing and skiing as a child. Næss was known for engaging in daredevil stunts during his youth; after graduating from school, he climbed the spire of Oslo’s National Theater building and stuck his cap on the building’s needle.

Business Career

Næss began his business career in 1964 when he moved to New York City and started working for his uncle Erling, a businessman and shipping magnate. Four years later, he launched his own business in London focused on shipping, oil, and real estate. Næss went on to make a number of major investments over the years, racking up large holdings in several companies, including the IT business Tandberg Data and various global real estate firms. However, he also lost significant money investing in Global Money Games, which turned out to be a Ponzi scheme.

Arne Næss via Getty Images

Marriages and Children

Næss wed his first wife, Swedish national Filippa d’Orey, in 1966. They had three children together: son Christoffer and daughters Katinka and Leona, the lattermost of whom became a singer-songwriter. Following his divorce from d’Orey, Næss dated Norwegian actress Mari Maurstad. In 1985, while on a trip in the Bahamas, Næss met singer and actress Diana Ross; the two quickly grew close and were married in a civil ceremony later in the year. In early 1986, the pair held a more extravagant wedding in Switzerland attended by numerous celebrities. Together, Næss and Ross had two sons named Ross and Evan. Additionally, Næss gained stepdaughters Rhonda, Chudney, and Tracee, who came from Ross’s previous relationships. The couple eventually settled into a transcontinental marriage, with Næss spending most of his time in London and Ross remaining in the United States with her children. In 1999, the two separated, and in 2000 they divorced. Næss spent the final years of his life with Norwegian-born Camilla Astrup, with whom he had two sons named Nicklas and Louis.

Mountaineering and Death

A prolific mountaineer from an early age, Næss had already made 20 first ascents of mountains in Norway by the time he was 19. After taking a break to focus on his business career in the 1960s, he returned to mountain climbing in the 1970s. The following decade, he led the first-ever Norwegian expedition to Mount Everest, which included famed British mountaineer Chris Bonington. Næss was well aware of the risks of mountain climbing, and stated in a television interview that “If I hadn’t liked risks, I would rather have played tennis or golf.”

In early 2004, while staying with his businessman friend Johann Rupert in South Africa, Næss died after falling from a peak while climbing the Drakenstein mountains near the town of Franschhoek. Police reports said that his anchoring equipment came loose from the soft mountainside, leading to a fall of 103 meters. Næss was 66 years of age. A few months after his passing, he was posthumously awarded the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the world of sports.

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