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Want a Rich Single? The List Is Long

April 01, 1993|PAMELA WARRICK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

William Henry Gates III, America's richest man, has announced his engagement and America's women (minus one) are the poorer for it.

If we can pass for a moment on the question of why anyone has as much money as he does (his personal worth is $9 billion), an equally profound question remains: Who's left?

On that front, ladies--and gentlemen--we have some very good news. That is, we have billionaires in stock. Lots of them.

And if you don't care how old they are, how cute they are, or how they'll get along with your relatives, we have an especially nice selection this year.

* Like candy? You'll love Forrest Edward Mars Sr.

This perky widower in his 80s built Mars Inc. (as in Mars bars and M&Ms) into one of the world's largest candy companies. Not known for his sweetness--employees say he's autocratic and brusque--he is apparently quite religious. Most famous quotation: "I pray for Milky Way, I pray for Snickers." Corporate worth: $9 billion.

* Looking for a princess? German "punk princess" Gloria von Thurn und Taxis, 32, is looking for a man who will love her for herself, not for the billions she inherited when her Prince Johannes died in 1990. You don't have to know how to pronounce her name, but you should know how to ride a motorcycle. She prefers Harley-Davidsons.

* For the young at heart, may we suggest Princess Gloria's little son Prince Albert, 9. Richer by at least half a billion than little Athina Onassis Roussel, Albert is already the largest landowner of any age in all Europe. Definitely worth the wait.

* Looking for experience? Edgar Miles (Marryin' Ed) Bronfman may be for you. At age 63, he's been married four times. But all those trips to the altar haven't hurt business. Today, the family's Seagram Co. is worth more than $2.35 billion. Known as one of the most socially conscious and politically courageous men in New York, Bronfman is the man who brought Jesse Jackson and the World Jewish Congress together to talk about anti-Semitism and lived to tell about it.

* Attention Wal-Mart shoppers. Alice L. Walton is available. Only daughter of the late Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart Stores, Alice shares with three brothers and her mother the $25.3 billion worth of stock left by Sam a year ago. She's tall, stylish and 43. Twice-divorced, Alice lives in Arkansas where she operates her own investment firm--the Llama Co. She likes tall pets, toasters and tax-exempt bonds.

* Earth to Ed . . . Earth to Ed. You've heard of Biosphere II. Now meet the brain behind the experimental enclosed ecosystem in Arizona. Edward Perry Bass--of the Basses of Texas--is still single at 47. He's a loner who loves nature and sitting by a campfire in the Himalayas. "Only 10% of his investments are nutty," according to Forbes magazine. He's got about $1.1 billion to share with the right person, or cause.

* Billllll, I love you so, and always will . . .

And what if, as the big (yet-to-be-determined) day approaches, Melinda French, 28, and Microsoft genius Bill Gates, 37, get a case of the wedding bell blues?

Meet, Eligible Bachelor No. 1:

Bill is a college dropout, left-handed, Maserati owner and hard-core computer freak often described as "nerdy" because of his streaked spectacles, rumpled sports clothes and an appearance so average that he's hard to spot in a crowd. When he goes out dancing in Microsoft town--Redmond, Wash.--Gates has said nobody even notices him.

Gates is said to have a hot temper, an affinity for romantic flicks, and presumably he likes long walks along the shore, seeing how he's completing a lakeside home that will boast mind-bending audio-visual technology and cost $10 million to $25 million.

Research librarian Maloy Moore contributed to this story.

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