19 billionaires who grew up poorGet the Full StoryLucy Nicholson Reuters
Billionaires don't always come from moneyed backgrounds.
In fact, many famous billionaires actually grew up poor.
From George Soros to Larry Ellison to Oprah Winfrey, here's a look at how some of the wealthiest people on the planet came up from nothing.
Billionaires aren't all born with silver spoons in their mouths.
In fact, many came from nothing at all.
The "rags-to-riches" trope may be a clich , but it's one that's definitely grounded in reality for some famous billionaires.
Through extraordinary grit and perseverance, individuals across the globe have beat the odds and achieved their own rags-to-riches stories.
Here are 19 people who started off life poor and went on to become billionaires:Guy Lalibert was a fire-eater before founding Cirque du Soleil.
Michael Buckner Getty Images
Net worth: 1.19 billion
At the beginning of his career, Lalibert had fire in his belly literally. The Canadian-born circus busker played the accordion, walked on stilts, and ate fire.
Later on, Business Insider previously reported, he took a chance and flew a troupe from Quebec to Los Angeles without purchasing a return fair. The circus troup traveled to Las Vegas and became Cirque du Soleil.
Lalibert is now the CEO of Cirque de Soleil.
Kenny Troutt, the founder of Excel Communications, paid his way through college by selling life insurance.
Jamie Squire Getty Images
Net worth: 1.41 billion
Troutt grew up with a bartender dad and paid for his own tuition at Southern Illinois University by selling life insurance. He made most of his money from phone company Excel Communications, which he founded in 1988 and took public in 1996. Two years later, Troutt merged his company with Teleglobe in a 3.5 billion deal.
He's now retired and invests heavily in racehorses.
Montpellier rugby club president and Entrepreneur of the Year Mohed Altrad survived on one meal a day when he moved to France.
Alliance Internationale Flickr
Net worth: 2.6 billion
Born into a nomadic tribe in the Syrian dessert to a poor mother who was raped by his father and died when he was young, Altrad was raised by his grandmother. She banned him from attending school in Raqqa, the city that is now capital of ISIS. Altrad attended school anyway, and when he moved to France to attend university, he knew no French and lived off of one meal a day.
Still, he earned a PhD in computer science, worked for some leading French companies, and eventually bought a failing scaffolding company, which he transformed into one of the world's leading manufacturers of scaffolding and cement mixers, Altrad Group.
He has previously been named French Entrepreneur of the Year and World Entrepreneur of the Year.
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