Sam Zell – Family, Family Tree

by Celeb

Sam Zell or Shmuel Zielonka is a famous American businessman.

Sam Zell

He invests in commercial real estate, energy, manufacturing, logistics, transportation, healthcare, and communications.

Early Life and Education


Samuel “Sam” Zell or Shmuel Zielonka was born on 27th September 1941 in Chicago. When Sam was twelve, the family moved to Highland Park, Illinois. He graduated from Highland Park High School. In 1963, Sam graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan. While studying, he was the member of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity.

Personal Life


Sam managed a 15 unit apartment building in exchange of free room-and-board. Later, he managed owner’s other properties. Sam’s fraternity brother, Robert H. Lurie joined him. They got a contract with a large apartment development owner in Ann Arbor. In 1966, Sam graduated with a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Sam and Lurie managed over 4,000 apartments and owned 100-200 units. After school, Sam sold his interest in the management Company to Lurie and moved to Chicago.

Family of Sam

Family of Sam

Sam Zell married three times and divorced twice. He has three children. He has a son, Matthew and a daughter, Kellie from his first marriage. He also has an adopted daughter, Joann from his second marriage. Sam’s present wife is Helen Zell. Helen donated over a $50-million donation to the University of Michigan’s MFA program in creative writing.


Sam Zell belonged to a Jewish family that had migrated from Poland. His father was grain merchant in Poland. In 1939, right before Hitler’s army bombed the train tracks in Poland, the parents and elder sister, Leah escaped to Tokyo, Japan. They continued their journey and reached the US in 1941. On reaching the US, the parents changed their full names and became Rochelle and Bernard Zell. Sam was born four months later.

Father of Sam

Bernard Zell was originally called Berek Zielonka. He was born on 8th April 1905 in Poland to a Jewish family. He was a successful grain merchant. He, his wife, Rochelle Zell and daughter migrated to the US through Japan. Sam was born four months later. The family moved to Chicago where Bernard was a jewellery wholesaler. Bernard died in July 1986 in Highland Park, Lake County, Illinois.

Mother of Sam

Rochelle Zell originally called Ruchla Zielonka (nee Jakubowicz) was born on 23rd December 1908. Her parents were Berek Jakubowicz and Leah Jakubowicz. She was the wife of Bernard Zell or Berek Zielonka. She was the sister of Anna (Andzia) Chana Ajga Rudzin pv Politanski. She died on 6th September 2000.

Net Worth of Sam Zell

Sam Zell networth

Sam Zell is net worth of $5 Billion. Zell ranked at the 324th spot in the list of world billionaires by Forbes in 2017. He ranked at the 114th spot in the list of richest Americans by Forbes in the same year. Sam ranked at 117th spot in the list of Forbes 400 world billionaires in the year 2016.
In October 2015, Sam sold 20% of his Equity Residential to Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital for $5.4 billion. Sam’s private equity firm Equity International invests in emerging markets. It closed its first Asian fund in September 2016 with $205 million to invest in Japanese warehouses.