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This is a character who hooks up with a partner, known as a Meal Ticket or Sugar Daddy, specifically to mooch off of said partner's money and status (usually in exchange for sex.)
We use "she" because the digger is usually female in modern shows, but not always, and often MUCH more attractive than her partner. Often Distracted by the Luxury quite easily. Generally stunningly beautiful, to explain her success. Often a blondewhose hair is dyed. The golddigger who is deluding herself about her looks is a rarity.
Many a golddigger would be happy to marry a man who is old or in bad health, just so long as he'd be so kind as to leave at least some of his inheritance to his spouse when he dies; if she's a Black Widow that could happen much sooner than expected.
A common subversion is to have her turn out to a Hooker with a Heart of Gold after all. Another way that works play with this is to have a rich man pretending to be poor, so as to ensure that any woman he becomes involved with loves him for himself and not his money. Yet another way to play with it is to have her genuinely fall in love with her meal ticket.
When it comes to interacting with people other than their Meal Ticket, golddiggers are often extremely self-centred, vain, manipulative and bitchySocialites with no other goal in their life than pampering themselves and buying whichever catches their fancy.
In historical eras, male "fortune hunters" were much more common, owing to the bride's lack of say in the matter. This was particularly common in Victorian Britain, when many Peers found that their old way of life had become insufficient to support their way of life (particularly their country estates): their primary source of income had been agriculture, but the main crop (grain) could be far more cheaply grown in the United States, Canada, Russia, and (later) Australia, so the aristocrats (after trying and failing to fix their problem with protectionism) were priced out of the market and started losing income. As a result, many young British nobles married the daughters of self-made industrialists and merchants (who had previously been seen as too low-class for the upper crust to marry), particularly American ones.For instance Lord Randolph Churchill marrying Jennie Jerome, the daughter of a New York banker—their name should sound familiar, as they're Winston's parents.The Other Wiki even has a list.
Another male variant exists in the Japanese Visual Kei subculture: Visual Kei artists, especially lifestylers or current or ex-Delinquents, are almost unemployable outside of their own industry in a culture dependent on conformity as a requisite of traditional employment. As a result, quite a few indies, beginning, or unsuccessful artists will work in a Host Club and/or seek out a mitsukano or mitsukare ("honey woman" or "honey man") to provide for them on a financial level.
This is Older Than Steam. Compare Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor. See also Trophy Wife, although the two don't always overlap. Sometimes overlaps with Coattail-Riding Relative. For the opposite type of character, who definitely does not want the rich beau's money, see Not With Them For The Money. Contrast Marry for Love.
The idea that all women are golddiggers is the Distaff Counterpart to the idea that All Men Are Perverts. This may also overlap with All Women Are Prudes, resulting in the idea that the only reason women ever have sex is to gain access to a man's money and/or get men to buy them things, while the only reason men even bother to make money in the first place is so that they can have sex with lots of hot women.
Important Note: A golddigger is never a Housewife. While both of them stay home, the golddigger has expensive tastes and refuses to dirty her hands. Children and family are almost never part of her priorities, mostly because they would distract her from her life of luxury; though a divorcing golddigger will use the kids as bargaining chips to gain as much money as possible (often seeking to be the custodial parent) without regard for the children's best interests and often without any real affection for the children. The Housewife on the other hand, even though she may live off her husband's paycheck, will concern herself with running the home and raising the kids, money and luxury usually not being in her repertoire other than as byproducts. A golddigger MIGHT turn into a housewife given proper character development.
For the comic book series, see Gold Digger. For the people who make a living actually digging up gold, see Prospector.
Itazura Na Kiss - Marina Shinagawa. The only reason she went to nursing school was so that she could find a rich doctor to marry.
Higurashi: When They Cry - Rina Mamiya, so very much. She and her pimp Teppei Hojou plan to scam Mr. Ryuugu (Rena's father) for a large quantity of money, apparently up to at least one million yen. It never goes well for her, since Rena is so determined to protect herself and her father that she bloodily kills her more than once.
Eva Heinemann of Monster before she went completely into her cups. In a subversion she's extremely wealthy and genuinely wants companionship from Tenma. The only reason she goes after rich guy is because poor people are beneath her.
Subverted in Hana Yori Dango. One of the reasons why Tsukushi Makino attends the very elite Eitoku Academy school is her parents's wish to have her marrying a rich guy who'll pull them out of their Perpetual Poverty. Tsukushi, however, is a TsunderePlucky Girl who will have none of it, engaging into Slap-Slap-Kiss dynamics with the male lead Tsukasa.
Berserk - Griffith's courtship of princess Charlotte is solely so that he'll gain a kingdom by marrying her. It ultimately works.
Pig Bride - Doe Doe Eun from the manhwa. She's a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who plays to the male lead's preference for unthreatening women so she can marry up in society. Late in the story, we learn Her birth mother actually got her adopted by an upper-class family so that Doe Doe could then marry very well.
Fruits Basket - Kimi Toudou. Possibly one of the few good-natured examples of this trope, as she uses her wiles to 'earn' the Student Council needed supplies and perks (in addition to gifts for herself).
Fujiko Mine from Lupin III is always acting like this around her boy of the week. Often she's trying to wile out of them the same treasure that Lupin is trying to steal. She often pulls this on Lupin himself to boot, and most of the time he lets her get away with it, saying that betrayal is a privilege reserved for women. A couple of times though he's had enough of her and left her in the dust for Inspector Zenigata.
Pokémon - Iris's Emolga. She uses Attract to make Pokemon fall in love with her, then takes their apples for herself. Ash's Oshawott already has a crush on her without Attract, so she easily manipulates him and pretty much many of the other male Pokemon. Unfortunately for her, she has to deal with Ash's Snivy to get what she wants nowadays since they're usually sent out at the same time.
Ranma ˝ - Nabiki Tendo is a very good example. She'll fleece and blackmail anyone who has a crush on her dry.
Skyhigh - A hideous man kills his girlfriend because he thinks she was after only his money.
Transformers Cybertron Thunderblast is a power-digger. She flirts first with Starscream and then with Megatron, pursuing them for their prestige and strength. Not that they notice or care beyond using her for their dirty work... Interestingly, Thunderblast is powerful enough to carve out her own path, but prefers to be a digger hanging off of someone else because that way she's not the one wearing a bulls-eye.
Miho Azuki from Bakuman。 asures the male lead, after he plukes up the courage to ask her out, that they will marry after he establishes himself (though she does hope to establish herself too). In a subversion, she does so out of the belief that they can serve as each other's motivation to succeed, and once they do, their happiness together will be greater.
Nadeshiko Amamiya's family accused Fujitaka Kinomoto of being this in Cardcaptor Sakura because she was a wealthy Uptown Girl, and he was a poor novice teacher (it also didn't help that this was a May-December Romance). Subverted because he did genuinely love Nadeshiko, and she genuinely loved him; money actually didn't factor in at all. They did marry, although Nadeshiko was disowned (and her cousin Sonomi still vehemently resents Fujitaka); Nadeshiko started working as a succesful model, Fujitaka continued his teacher work, and the two lived their lives happily wth their kids in a small but cozy apartment. (The Big Fancy House is much more recent.)
In Lady, George is being pressured into becoming this via marrying a minor noblewoman from a VERY rich family so he can use her money to pay his debts. He actually refuses.
The filler character Marron from Dragon Ball Z is implied to be this in the original series. In Dragon Ball Z Abridged, however, she admits to being one immediately after Krillin gives her evidence that he's committed insurance fraud.
Subverted with Ursula from Anatolia Story. She poses as a Rich Bitch and a fake Ishtar under Nakia's orders and tries to seduce Kail to live a life of luxury. But when Kail is not fooled, unmasks her and then asks her why did she even bother... Ursula breaks down crying and not only admits her deeds, but reveals her Dark and Troubled Past as a poor orphan. She's then forgiven by Kail and becomes one of his girlfriend Yuri's ladies-in-waiting, also falling in love with Kails' bodyguard Kash... and performing an Heroic Sacrifice some time later
In Child Ballad 62 Fair Annie, Annie's long-term lover — and the father of her many children — goes to marry another woman for her dowry. When the bride arrives, she hears Annie's lament and reveals that Annie is her kidnapped sister; she makes over her own dowry to her, so she can marry him.
The nut-browne bride haes gowd and gear, Fair Annet she has gat nane; And the little beauty Fair Annet haes O it wull soon be gane.
In Child BalladThe Lord of Lorn and the False Steward, the Duke of France offers a rich dowry with his daughter. The false steward posing as the young Lord of Lorn takes it without comment; it is the true lord who declares that he wants to marry the daughter more than the gold.
One of Doctor Octopus' old schemes years ago was a variation of this. During his feud with the mobster Hammerhead, he actually proposed to Peter's Aunt May, not because she was wealthy (which she wasn't) but because she had unknowingly inherited an atomic plant that he wanted. Of course, Spider-Man got involved, the scheme cumulating in a three way fight between him, Doc Ock, and Hammerhead, the plant's destruction, and Ock becoming a destitute vagrant for a while.
Fables features two male examples. One of Jack's get rich quick schemes was to become a hero of the Civil War and then marry into a wealthy Southern family. Prince Charming makes his living mooching off his conquests, and attempts to renew his relationship with Briar Rose when he learns she has a blessing that keeps her wealthy.
Astro City - Charles Williams' wife Darnice from the "Dark Ages" story arc. She flirts with anyone who has money, spends his earnings on personal luxuries, even encourages him to take bribes as a way to supplement their income, then leaves him when he refuses to be a Dirty Cop.
Several of the female criminals confronting the Spirit classify as such, particularly the primo example, P'Gell...her usual modus is to find a shady rich guy, work her wiles, get married to same and have the guy either disappear or get busted. Two other noteworthies: Sand Sarif, the hero's childhood girlfriend and Silk Satin, who turned more or less legit when she found her missing daughter Hilde.
Katmandu - The furry comic had a story were a villainous fortune hunter was about to marry the daughter of a rich man with every intent to sponge off him. Fortunately, a woman he cheated before had a friend who was a tailor who is also a magician who places a magic spell in his wedding suit to make him blab at the alter that he's only marrying the girl for her father's money. While the father is about to beat up the villain, the bride runs away in tears, but cheers up immediately when she runs into a very nice boy.
Maus - Money seems like a probable reason for Vladek leaving the poor Lucia Greenberg for the wealthy Anja Zylberberg — although they do eventually truly fall in love.
A Krazy Kat comic had Ignatz finding out that Krazy stands to inherit a lot of money. He immediately begins to woo Krazy with poetry, candy and mandolin music. When he finds out that Krazy isn't inheriting the money after all—and simultaneously gets billed for all the candy and poems—he returns to his usual practice of pelting Krazy with bricks, much to the Kat's relief.
Ginny Weasley is often portrayed this way by people who dislike her (particularly the Harry/Hermione shippers). The problem with this idea is that Harry has always been willing to share his money with the Weasleys, but they won't accept it.
Harry's mother Lily has also been accused of being this, simply because she chose James Potter over Severus Snape. This misses how Snape actually lost Lily's respect because he called her racist epithets in public and later joined the Wizarding World's equivalent of the Ku Kux Klan, whereas James may have been a Jerk Jock but he never ever thought of using said word against her and actually died protecting her and baby Harry from Voldemort.
Earth and Sky: Prince Blueblood marries Diamond Tiara strictly so that he can have access to her wealth (having squandered his own). In a possible subversion, she's well aware of this, as she only married him to gain power and prestige.
Frank Day and Stan Watson both ended up viewing the woman that would become Elly Patterson as this, with some of The Baby Trap thrown in for good measure in Stan's case.
Kortney Krelbutz started out as this, dating and getting engaged to John Patterson (although there was a revenge element in it as well, since Elly didn't stand up for her when she was fired). She realized she fell in love with him when he defended her against Connie.
On a more general note, the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic character Fleur Dis Lee is either this or that to many fans and their fanfics. She is a young, model-like mare with a knack for posing who is seen hanging around (and clinging onto) the obviously much older aristocrat Fancy Pants.
In By Royal Command, Twilight Sparkle gets depressed because she fears that anypony who'd show romantic interest in her would only do so because of her new princess status. When Rainbow Dash suggests that she could just take matters into her own hooves and pick a pony who won't care about such things, Twilight sets her sights on the one pony in Equestria guaranteed not to think highly of her for her new status: Her self-appointed rival, Trixie.
The Weasleys in Knowledge is Power were only interested in Harry so they could get their hands on his Gringotts vault, despite having been far too proud to take his money in canon.
The movie Gold Diggers of 1933 is, oddly enough, a movie-long subversion. When Polly the actress starts dating a millionaire, his friends assume this is going on, but in fact she didn't know he was rich. Polly's friends are a little peeved by the suggestion, however, so they decide to play it straight, and take the men for all they're worth. It is however also played straight when Polly's friend Trixie goes Gold Digging after another millionaire, and lands him.
Superman Returns - Lex Luthor did this to further his scheme. Lois eventually calls him on this.
Casino - Ginger McKenna in although she never lies about her intentions. And Ace has no illusions. What are the chances this works out?
Deconstructed in Legally Blonde. Elle points out that the new wife of an septuagenarian millionaire who is used to getting divorced on a whim, has to work extremely hard to stay married to the septuagenarian millionaire. She also has a small fortune of her own thanks to her workout tapes. When her sleazy lawyer tells her that the jury will think that she is this trope, after all, why would an attractive woman marry a wealthy not-so-attractive man, she suggests showing the jury a picture of her late husband's penis.
Played with in Magnolia - Julianne Moore's character initially married the elderly television executive played by Jason Robards with Golddigger intentions. The twist is that, after marrying him, she found herself genuinely falling in love with him instead, to the extent that when he's on his deathbed with cancer, she actually tries to have his will changed so that she won't inherit his millions out of guilt.
Elvira in Scarface (1983). Initially she is Frank's Mistress, and she seems purely concerned with the material benefits. With her coke-stoked pokerface it's hard to know for sure exactly why she becomes Tony's wife — there's a suggestion of real romance. But gold digging is a very natural explanation for her.
Some Like It Hot plays with it: Tony Curtis pretends to be a rich man to woo Marilyn Monroe, while Jack Lemmon pretends to be a woman to woo a rich man.
How to Marry a Millionaire centers on not 1, not 2, but 3 women trying to be golddiggers. Lauren Bacall's character succeeds—unwittingly at first—and the remaining two fail, but all are happier for it.
Heartbreakers is about a con artist played by Sigourney Weaver who marries men for money then gets her daughter Jennifer Love Hewitt to seduce them (not knowing she's her daughter) so she can divorce them and take their money
Marilyn Rexroth in Intolerable Cruelty is The Chessmaster of this trope. After champion divorce attorney Miles Massey foils her attempt to gouge her wealthy first husband, she sets out to ruin him at his own game. Her intricate scheme involves faking an entire second marriage to an oil tycoon, leaving her a Mock Millionaire, and then kindling Massey's attraction to her until he proposes himself.
It backfires when her first husband dies before changing his will, leaving everything to her. Suddenly, Massey is the one who demands half of her new assets. In the end, they decide to try married life again, for real this time.
Dial M for Murder - A male example is Tony Wendice; he only married his wife, Margot, for her money, and coldly plans to kill her, when he thinks that she wants to leave him. For added bonus, she's young and beautiful (she's played by Grace Kelly).
Although laughable in contrast to the superb characters mentioned above, Olivia Honey (Maria Pitillo) played one in She Devil (the movie, not the TV series)
Groucho Marx in most of the Marx Brothers movies. His usual rich woman was the wonderful Margaret Dumont. "You're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen, and that doesn't say much for you."
Nick Charles is one in the Thin Man series of films and the original novel. He marries Nora with the intention of retiring from the detective business and living off of her money. Although, they do love each other and are happily married.
Ricky Bobby's wife in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, she was married to Ricky for over ten years but the day that he's fired from the team, she dumps him and got together with his best friend, Cal. She even makes it clear that she is married to a driver and she does not work.
In 1914 slapstick comedy Tillie's Punctured Romance, the bad guy, upon hearing that the naive girl he robbed and dumped is about to come into a large fortune, hurriedly finds her, makes up, and marries her.
1964 B-MovieDevil Doll features evil ventriloquist/hypnotist The Great Vorelli, who plans to marry a rich young woman, kill her and inherit her fortune.
The Parent Trap has Nick's (Mitch's in the original) young, opportunistic fiancée Meredith (Vicki), who is only interested in Nick's money. In the remake, it is revealed Meredith is Vicki's daughter.
Clarice Kensington of It Takes Two is a socialite who is engaged to Amanda's father and only wants to marry Roger for his money.
Secondhand Lions has the 'get written in the will' variety. Word is that the two uncles Hub and Garth have millions stashed away somewhere. Walter was sent there to get in good with them, the other relatives have been trying for quite some time, and near the end Walter's mother and her fiance come back to just plain take the money. In the end...
Walter: [reading the will] The kid gets it all. Just plant us in the damn garden, next to the stupid lion.
Tommy Boy has Tommy's father marrying a woman who only wants his money. When Tommy's father died at the wedding party, she and her son from a previous marriage actually her husband, making her marriage to Tommy's father illegal commented how it was better than her original plan of living with him for one year and then divorcing him. In the end, she sets her eyes into another target.
The Man With Two Brains has Kathleen Turner playing a gold-digger who is introduced while trying to give her old rich husband a heart attack, only for him to reveal as he's dying that he altered his will. She changes her attention to Steve Martin's character, a famous brain surgeon, after he hits her with a car.
The villain in the live-action adaption of The Cat in the Hat, Larry Quinn, was all but said to be this.
Dr. Elsa Schneider in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was quite the golddigger. She used the bankroll and resources of the Nazis, as well as her "charms" on Indiana AND his father to further her quest to obtain the Holy Grail. In the end, her dreams are nearly fulfilled, but in a Literal Cliffhanger moment, she pushes her luck too far when she tries to reach the grail while suspended over a bottomless pit. Her black glove proves too slippery for Indiana to keep his grip on her hand, and she plummets to her Death by Materialism.
Mrs. Quickly in Nanny McPhee is, at first, willing to marry Mr. Brown simply because she is turning into an old maid, and he's available. However, when his children's efforts make her think that all he wants is sex, she leaves in a huff. When the kids beg her to return, they reveal that their late mother's wealthy aunt has promised to support the family if Mr. Brown re-marries. Realizing this, Mrs. Quickly quickly comes back to accept Mr. Brown's proposal and later sucks up to Lady Adelaide Stitch.
Mousehunt: Lars' wife April has shades of this; She leaves him (read: kicks him out of the house) after learning his late father left him nothing but a string factory in his will (which he wouldn't sell even when given the chance), but returns and seduces him after discovering his brother was left an antique house that the pair are about to auction off. And, when the deal goes south, she leaves him for the richest potential buyer attending the auction.
The protagonist of Baby Face. After her abusive father (who had been letting men pay to sleep with her since she was 14) dies, she is left without money and uses wealthy men to gain money and power. She makes a Heel-Face Turn at the end when she falls in love.
Chris from Woody Allen's Match Point essentially marries the aristocratic Chloe for the wealth and influence her family possesses. Even when he falls madly in love with (and impregnates) another woman he is decidedly reluctant to leave his wife or tell her the truth as he has "grown accustomed to a certain standard of living".
Miss Trixie in Paper Moon, who openly admits to Addie that she's only with Moses for what she can squeeze out of him.
The Peter Sellers movie The Bobo has Britt Ekland as a young lady who keeps company with a well-to-do man until she gets what she wants from him, then dumps him painfully. She had gotten a posh city apartment and a custom Maserati from two suckers.
Played with in The Color of Money. Carmen stays with Vincent and clearly benefits from his pool-playing skills, but it's never clear how much genuine affection she has for him.
Samantha Cole in Liar Liar is a clear example of this coupled with the inability to keep it in her pants. The whole divorce case stems from her husband finding out that she repeatedly cheated on him with... seven other men. Since they have a prenup, the fact that she was unfaithful pretty much leaves her with nothing. However, when she goes to the protagonist's law firm, he convinces her that she is the victim here, not her husband (who appears to be a pretty decent guy and a loving father), "pushed into the arms of another man" ("Seven other men" "Whatever"). She believes him, and demands half of her husband's assets. After the protagonist, an Amoral Attorney, wins the case (by complete accident, though), she demands to fight over the custody of the children, despite the fact that she's not much of a mother and doesn't really care about them. All she wants is more money.
There's a male fortune hunter going after a plain-looking heiress in Henry James' Washington Square.
In The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod Crane was basically a male example of one, who is more attracted by Katrina's father's wealth than to her. The animated version of the book makes this all the more clear.
A common occurrence in Jane Austen (interestingly enough, most — though certainly not all — of her Gold Digger antagonists are male):
Northanger Abbey: Isabella Thorpe becomes engaged to James Morland because he is the eldest son of a slightly better-off family, but continues to pursue the far richer Frederick Tilney. John Thorpe, who is keen to marry Catherine Morland, boasts to old General Tilney that Catherine is an heiress (a lie), which inspires the General to throw his younger son Henry Tilney at Catherine, and then to throw Catherine out of their country house in the middle of the night after the thwarted Mr. Thorpe tells him she is a gold digger (also a lie).
Sense and Sensibility: As a very young man, Edward Ferrars became secretly engaged to Lucy Steele, his tutor's niece, and can't honourably break off the engagement. She maintains the pretense of selfless devotion to him, even after he is disowned because of her, until she has secured a better prospect: his younger brother. Meanwhile, Mr. Willoughby leaves the penniless Marianne Dashwood, whom he loves, for the wealthy heiress Miss Grey. The devastated Marianne eventually concedes that he ever would have been satisfied as a poorer man married to her even though they loved each other — material wealth simply mattered to him more than love.
In Pride and Prejudice, Mrs. Bennet pressures Elizabeth and her sisters into chasing rich men. The eldest daughter, the perfect Jane, falls in love with a rich man geniunely; the middle sister Mary, who feels unworthy because she can't do the only thing her mother would approve because she isn't charming enough, shies away from the world and retreats into books; and the youngest two sisters are airheads who end up risking a lot while flirting. Socially and economically, her daughters don't have any other options: they are poor and have no dowry. Finally, protagonist Elizabeth is not a typical gold digger, despite her snarky hints she first began to love Mr Darcy when she saw his beautiful estate in Derbyshire. At first, Elizabeth shied away from Darcy in part because of his wealth; indeed, she despises him at first because he appears to be a snob. She does become open to his friendship (and courtship) after visiting his vast estate, but that has more to do with seeing how much his servants admire him, how nice he is to his sister, and his politeness towards her aunt and uncle despite knowing that they're in trade.
Elizabeth's suitor Mr. Wickham is a typical Austen gold digger; it's eventually revealed that he tricked wealthy Georgiana Darcy into running away with him (but he's thwarted before he can get at her money). It's implied that he courts Elizabeth only until he realizes she isn't an heiress, and starts paying attention to Miss King immediately after she inherits some money.
Mansfield Park: Maria Bertram becomes engaged to the immensely wealthy and immensely dull Mr. Rushworth in order to become independent of her family. She falls in love with Henry Crawford while engaged, but marries Rushworth despite her father's doubts when Crawford disappoints her. Mary Crawford, though an heiress herself, initially considers pursuing Sir Thomas' heir Tom, and is shocked to find herself falling in love with Edmund (the younger son), whom she knows will not inherit a fortune and is, therefore, simply out of the question as husband material. She can't reconcile her feelings for him with her determination to marry a man of fortune until his older brother falls ill, and she's thrilled because, if he dies, Edmund will inherit his title and estate... an attitude that does not make Edmund very happy when he hears about it.
Mr. Elton in Emma first chases Emma Woodhouse, the title character, even though he's so far beneath her socially that she assumes he's actually interested in her friend Harriet. When Elton is rejected by Emma, he almost immediately marries a woman from Bristol whose "charms" — she's loud, braying, crass, and bad-mannered — are such that it's obvious he only married her for her money.
Lord Robert St. Simon in the story The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor is only marrying American heiress Hatty Doran for her money, and she's only marrying him because her first husband was abducted by Indians years ago and is probably long dead. He isn't.
The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist centered around two men trying to court a young music teacher because they knew that her uncle was rich and had no will - making his niece, as next of kin, the heir to his fortune by default.
In The Sign of the Four, Watson desperately hopes (and is ashamed of himself for hoping) that Mary's Unexpected Inheritance remains lost, because he cannot abide her thinking him to be this if he woos her. When it is lost, he finally drops his self-flagellation and confesses to Mary that he is delighted. Mary is just as delighted, partly because she doesn't much care for wealth (and the wealth in question led to several deaths, including her own father's), partly because it has allowed Watson to stop mucking around trying to sacrifice his happiness for his honor.
Subverted in the sequel to the L-shaped Room, The Backwards Shadow. Joanne was a failed actress in her late 30's. She married her husband for his money, promising to make him a good wife and give him a baby if she could. The marriage was very happy and she was genuinely upset at his death, while recognising that everyone thought this was she had been waiting for.
Noelle Page in The Other Side of Midnight is a poor French girl who is (in essence) sold to a disgusting-but-rich shopkeeper as a mistress by her father. She flees after bilking the shopkeeper out of some money, but then falls in love with and is abandoned by an American pilot. In order to destroy him, and having learned her lesson from the prior experience, she proceeds to woo increasingly powerful men — culminating in becoming a Greek tycoon's mistress. Wooing the right men also helps her become an internationally beloved actress, which is all part of the plan.
In the novel 1632, when the first marriage between an up-timer (people from the year 2000) and a down-timer (people from the year 1632) is proposed, some people bluntly tell the up-timer this trope is in full effect. Although the down-timer does not understand love, she is willing to work very hard to make the marriage successful. In later novels, we find they are very Happily Married.
Beautiful but bitchy Blanche Ingram pursues very wealthy Mr Rochester. He uses her only for Operation Jealousy and never intended to marry her.
Mr Rocherster's father by proxy. Edward was his younger son and did not inherit anything — the house and money went to his eldest son. He pressured Edward to marry a rich heiress, who turns out to be Bertha Mason who'd become the Madwoman in the Attic.
Defied by Jane Eyre herself. She says she won't marry a rich man until she is independently wealthy, so she won't be reliant on him. Though with her character traits, she would be a very diligent wife and useful companion.
In Buddenbrooks, Bendix Grünlich marries Tony (Antonie) Buddenbrook exclusively for the dowry. As expected, this doesn't end well.
The eponymous heroine in Abbé Prévost's novel Manon Lescaut. She leaves her lover Des Grieux after sucking dry his wallet, then moves on to a rich old man. This eventually leads to her downfall and death. Her story is the subject of many operas and ballets.
Discussed in Little Women. The Marchs are Impoverished Patricians, and their eldest daughter Margaret/Meg is very beautiful as well as somewhat greedy. When she visits her Spoiled Sweet friend Annie Moffat and gets dolled up for a party, she's emotionally crushed when she hears some Gossipy Hens wonder out loud if her presence is a ploy from her parents to make her one of these, specially in regards to their very rich family friend Theodore "Laurie" Lawrence. Meg's mother Marmee and middle sister Josephine/Jo are very pissed off when Meg tells them, with the Hot-Blooded Jo even saying she's willing to hit Annie in Meg's defense.
Several minor characters in the Elenium and Tamuli could be seen as this: One side of the marriage is a minor noble with a lot of money marrying for rank, the other side is a poor higher ranked noble marrying for money. These marriages didn't work out very well.
The Angel-Seekers in the Samaria novels by Sharon Shinn are examples of this. Since Angels are forbidden from breeding with each other (unless given special dispensation from Jovah), they have to interbreed with humans. Any woman who bears an Angel child (or man who fathers an Angel child) is taken into the Angel parent's community and lives in luxury for the rest of their days. The result is a subcommunity of young men and women living near the Angels trying to snare an Angel lover. Since the child of a human and an Angel isn't always an Angel, there is also the secondary result of a large number of human children birthed by Angel-Seeker and then discarded when their parent decides to make another try for an Angel child.
Prince Thanel. Once he finally gets it through his head that under Valdemaran law, marrying the Queen does not automatically make him King, he seeks to murder his wife so that he become de facto king as regent to their infant daughter.
Baron Melles is despised by most of the Imperial court. But within minutes of being named the Emperor's heir, he is swamped by members of the court cheerfully gold digging on behalf of themselves or their daughters/sisters/nieces/cousins. Since Melles knew exactly what the rest of the court thought of him, he recognized this for what it was immediately.
Master Bard Tobias Marchand. He married his wife (Lena's mother) for the regular income, and committed borderline-treason to get more money.
Glinda from Wicked married for the money. It doesn't help that she didn't love her husband and was in love with for her female best friend.
Dubliners: Ignatius Gallaher in "A Little Cloud" means to "marry money", with some rich German or Jews.
Brother Cadfael series: An interestingly positive example: Avice of Thornbury is completely honest about becoming a rich nobleman's mistress for status and riches. However, in the end their relationship reminded that of a married couple. Also, she turned to be the only person to have any affection for him, and was genuinely sad when he got killed.
Anthony Trollope created many of these and of both genders. Burgo Fitzgerald is among the best known.
"Well, you can't just walk up to a woman and say 'Hello, I've heard about your large bank account, let's get married.'"
Two show up in the Magic and Malice duology by Patricia C Wrede. The one in the first book is a man who is hoping to marry his sister's wealthy ward in order to pay off his debts (Unfortunately, the siblings forgot to tell the girl about this plan, and she elopes with someone else). The one in the second book is a beautiful woman from an impoverished family hoping to get a wealthy husband so she can remain a figure in Society. Her primary target (The male lead) is engaged to someone else (The female lead) by the end of the story. No mention is made of whether or not she snared the other man she was aiming for. The female lead of the duology, despite having started as a street urchin and ending about to be married to a gentleman of means, is not one (If she had been, she would have married the Marquis rather than the title-less gentleman).
Scarlett in Gone with the Wind, with husbands 2 and 3, especially #2, Frank Kennedy, who's a generation senior to her and had been courting her younger sister for some years, before Scarlett flat-out lied to him about Suellen's alleged involvement with someone else, so she could swoop in, get married to him, and get the money to pay taxes on Tara (stated to be her reason to find him of interest). #3, Rhett Butler, was also quite wealthy, but she did have some history of attraction to him on a personal level before their marriage, so money wasn't her only motive in that case.
Ser Jorah Mormont's second wife in A Song of Ice and Fire. Which led to problems, since House Mormont is rather impoverished for a noble family. To satisfy his wife, Jorah had to sell some poachers into slavery even though slavery is illegal in Westeros. When the king found out, Jorah and his wife went into exile so he wouldn't be executed. She then dumped him for a much wealthier man.
Cassandra Mortmain in I Capture the Castle gradually comes to see her older sister Rose as one of these for getting engaged to wealthy American Simon Cotton when she doesn't love him (but Cassandra does). Eventually Rose breaks it off with Simon and gives into the Belligerent Sexual Tension she has with his brother Neil.
Walther Gassner married Anna Roffe, a woman considerably older than him and with no attractives other than being the heiress of the German branch of the family of the founder of a big pharmaceutical company. Anna's father tried to bribe him out and he used the money to buy her a wedding ring.
Before settling for her Henpecked Husband, Helene Roffe, heiress of the French branch, married other rich people to become even wealthier.
Gerald Wright in the Miss Marple novel A Pocket Full of Rye. He gets engaged to Elaine, the daughter of the wealthy Rex Fortescue, then dumps her when her father threatens to cut her off if she marries Wright. When Rex Fortescue is murdered and Elaine inherits a large sum of money, Wright immediately shows up again and resumes their engagement.
Lily Tremaine in Överenskommelser by Simona Ahrnstedt is a reconstructed case. She got married to an old British lord, who turned out to be an abusive alcoholic, rather than accepting the proposal from Seth, the story's male protagonist (who wasn't rich yet at the time). And even when she later does get engaged to Seth, she does it only because she needs someone to help her with financial issues. But then, she does find true love at the exact same time as Seth gets reunited with Beatrice, the story's female protagonist, and they decide to not get married after all.
In Christian Nation, the protagonist Greg's girlfriend Emilie will only marry him as long as he is a successful lawyer. As soon as he quits his job to join Sanjay's Theocracy Watch, however, Emilie dumps him.
Gender-inverted in Will of the Empress. Sandry is heiress to the Landreg lands, and Empress Berenene wants to ensure that all the wealth and income from the property will stay in Namorn, so she sets several pliable courtiers to wooing Sandry. There are also a few men who try to abduct her to get their hands on it.
In Through Alien Eyes, First Contact initiator Juna Saari is told that she must be married within four months of giving birth so that her child will be raised with both human and alien caretakers. She's courted by the powerful Xavierra family, which owns much of the Moon. This is a two-way use of this trope, in a way; she's interested in the Xavierras because they're very wealthy, while they are interested in her connections to aliens and fame.
Cordelia, though it is thwarted by Doyle's gallantry, which starts making her dating pool look rather pathetic. It isn't helped by her date (a stock broker), who cannonballs into his Beamer and races off at first sight of a vamp without the slightest hesitation in leaving Cordie behind to be eaten.
Cordelia: "All I could think about was: if this wimp ever saw a monster he'd probably throw a shoe at it and run like a weasel! Turns out the shoe part was giving him too much credit."
Cordelia contemplates marrying incredibly rich and lonely geek David Nabbit, but accepts that even she has limits.
Jefferson D'Arcy is often referred to in-show as a "trophy husband"; never works, preferring to leech off Marcy's banker income. In something of a twist, for all his cockiness when she's not around, in his relationship with Marcy it's made pretty clear that he's nevertheless a spineless doormat almost completely under her thumb as a result.
Kelly occasionally played this role. Ironically, despite Al typically being an Overprotective Dad in beating up most of Kelly's boyfriends, he actively encourages the relationship whenever she lands a rich guy, mostly so he can exploit it for his own gain. Unfortunately, her attempts tended to blow up in her face.
Kendall Casablancas in Veronica Mars. Mentioned within the show, even by her stepsons. Her husband also seems to have little illusions about her just being there to look good, but he probably didn't expect her to sleep around with one of his sons' friends behind his back.
One emblematic example is Maria Fatima of Vale Tudo ("Anything Goes / Everything counts"), a poor-to-middle-class young woman who makes a mission of her life to marry into a rich clan no matter how, to the horror of her way more honest mother Helena. While Fatima does find her Meal Ticket, the "anything goes" method she used to get it caused more problems to her than if she has just worked for her money.
There was the titular anti-heroine of Rubi, who essentially screwed around the lives of her best friend and their respective romantic interests just because she wanted to marry into riches and her true love wasn't rich enough for her. In the original, and almost every remake save the latest, she was anviliciously killed; in the latest Mexican remake, she just leaves her former circle to be Happily Ever After and direct her charms to unsuspecting foreign millionaires...
Major Frank Burns from Mash, probably. It's mentioned more than once that he married for money (far from the only thing he does that's motivated by greed) which is the biggest reason he is never willing to leave his wife for Major Houlihan.
The Brazilian telenovela "Anjo mau" ("Evil Angel/Angel Malo"), in all of its versions (the original Brazilian soap and its remake, an iconic Chilean remake in The Eighties, and a modern Mexican version), discusses and presents this trope both in the main plot and in other minor stories:
Berenice aka Nice, the Anti Heroine, is one. As the wholesome-looking babysitter for a very wealthy Big Screwed-Up Family and the eldest daughter of their Old Retainer chaffeur, the beautiful and greedy Nice plans from the beginning to marry either Roberto or Ricardo, the two young and handsome uncles of the baby boy she takes care of, so she can get out of poverty. In the original Brazilian version and the classic Chilean remake, she anviliciously falls victim to Death by Childbirth; in the Brazilian remake, she survives.
The father of the baby boy Nice babysits is accused of being one - specially when it seems he's cheating on his wife, who already is a Clingy Jealous Girl. It turns out to be false: he is actually a Self-Made Manfrom a poor family, and the "other women" he visits are his aging mother and his Christmas Cake younger sister, whom he economically supports behind everyone's backs.
Both of Nice's love rivals have the trope invoked on them. One of them is Lia, a sweet girl from a formerly rich famimily who's genuinely in love with Roberto and is about to go the Unlucky Childhood Friend route with him, but is pressured by her Rich Bitch mother into marrying him only for the family's benefit. The other is Roberto's original girlfriend Paula, who sees her parents lose a good part of their wealth, and after her Smug Snake father fails to steal the main family's riches he also pressures her into marrying one of the two guys. (The fact that she cheated on Roberto with Ricardo in the beginning, which is what drove her scorned boyfriend to Nice's arms in the first place, doesn't help).
A significant percentage of the female characters on Mad Men:
Particularly Jane Siegel, married as Jane Cooper.
Pete and Trudy Campbell's marriage is a slightly more complicated take on the issue—he's from a socially prominent, very old family (back to New Amsterdam on his mother's side) that hasn't been doing too well financially (his maternal grandfather was an idiot and his father was a spendthrift); her parents are vulgar Nouveau Riche, and loaded in the extreme. Both clans are not-so-subtly backing them to improve the standing of everyone concerned. The marriage starts rocky, improves to Happily Married for a while, but then goes into the crapper. A large part of Pete's early success in the firm is due to him getting the Vicks account due to his father-in-law being an executive with the company. When the father-in-law finds out that Pete is cheating on Trudy, he pulls the account and costs Pete and the firm a lot of money.
Early on in the series Ken Cosgrove expressed the sentiment that he would love to marry a rich woman whose executive father would give Ken a big account for the firm. However, when Ken does in fact marry such a woman, he steadfastly refuses to mix his family life with business and is shown to be highly successful even without his wife's money.
Don's new wife Megan has at least a touch of diggerism, though she is shown to be genuinely talented at advertising and does seem to genuinely love Don. She later uses the financial security afforded by her marriage to start an acting career. The fact that she spends so long away from Don as an actress means his eye starts wandering again...
Marcus in Seacht is a male golddigger, leeching off Joanne.
Upstairs Downstairs features one confirmed golddigger, Frederick the cockney footman, who uses his good looks to hook a rich woman and who eventually moves to Hollywood - shortly before the advent of the talkies. On the other hand, Richard Bellamy, one of the major characters, is suspected by his father-in-law of being a golddigger to the point that he ties up Lady Marjorie's money so Richard can't get to it after she dies. It's true that Richard was a poor parson's son who aspired to the hand of an earl's daughter and that he used his marital connections to build his career in Parliament, but on the other hand he actually did love Lady Marjorie and was devastated by her death.
Terri from Glee. Will (Terri's husband) and the Glee Club even sing Kanye's song while Terri goes house hunting to hammer in the point. She is not, however, married to a rich man but a High school teacher. Part of why the marriage is so unhappy.
Lie to Me provides a subversion: one of their clients finds out that his fiancee was after his money at first, but then genuinely fell in love with him. The team points out that he's not innocent of this either, only in terms of beauty. Yes, he loves her, but it doesn't hurt that she's a knock-out. They suggest a prenup, though.
Gloria on Modern Family is accused of this at one point by Claire. I ain't saying it's true, but she ain't messing with no broke gentlemen.
Charity Tate, Kim Tate and Sadie King in Emmerdale all marry millionaires for their money. The characters Kelly Windsor and Chloe Aitkinson date rich men for their money.
Tracey Barlow in Coronation Street dates her grandmothers boyfriend believing him to be a millionaire but later finds out he is lying about being rich
Janine Butcher in Eastenders marries Barry Evans then Archie Mitchell for money
Friends: Rachel was this in her backstory but when the plot kicks off has left her fiancee at the altar because she's unable to marry someone she doesn't love.
Julie Cooper in The O.C. married Caleb Nichol for his money.
Its implied that Gabrielle Solis in Desperate Housewives originally married her husband Carlos for his money, though she does love him
Tanya Turner in Footballers Wives marries two men for their money.
An early episode had a man marrying a woman who he planned to kill on their wedding night and inherit her money. Said woman turned out to be a yandere who murdered him after they made love in order to ensure time didn't spoil their love.
Another episode had a woman marry a man because a psychic predicted he would inherit a vast fortune and die soon after. Of course, there was a Prophecy Twist: She wins the money in a contest, breaks up with him in a cruel manner, and he kills her. He inherits her money, and gets the chair soon after.
Joe Pesci plays a man who pretends to have a twin brother so he can marry a set of twins and inherit their whole fortune. When the girls find out there's only one, the decide to share him...by cutting him down the middle and each taking half.
Nikki from Series/Lost. Before the crash, she pretended to love a film director from Sydney long enough for her to poison him, and then get a bunch of diamonds worth millions of dollars. They didn't help her much on the island, though.
Locke's father Anthony is a male example, as shown in the episode "The Man from Tallahassee".
Bebe became this for an old CEO with heart problems. Unfortunately for her, he died during the wedding so she didn't get any money (despite a rather game attempt to get through the vows with an Of Corpse He's Alive routine, all unfortunately offscreen). She did manage to steal his watch off of his corpse though.
Frasier briefly becomes this for none other than Patrick Stewart, who gives him expensive watches and introduces him to celebrities. In turn, Frasier lets the guy kiss him and treat him like a boyfriend, constantly "forgetting" to tell Stewart's character he's straight.
In another episode, he's dating a very busy high-profile lawyer and starts to worry that he's a male version of the "career widow" stereotype, being constantly stood up and then bought off with expensive gifts. When he goes to a party and meets the wives of his girlfriend's male colleagues, they're all shamelessly this trope, which is one of the things that causes him to break off the relationship.
Cerie of 30 Rock says her goal in life is to "marry rich and then design handbags." She has since gotten married to a guy we never meet, but who is implied to be wealthy.
The Hannah Montana episode "When You Wish You Were the Star" is a Wonderful Life episode in which Miley/Hannah finds herself in an Alternate Timeline, wherein, among other things, her father is married to her former homeschool teacher, who admits to a friend over the phone that she only married Robbie for his wealth and status.
It's implied that this is how Martha has lost her money and why she has to live with her son now.
It's joked that this is how The Charmer Castle will lose all his money.
Martha herself inverts this trope in her relationship with the wealthy (and unseen) Chet, who dies shortly after proposing to Martha, who was planning to break up with him; upon learning that Chet has left her a million dollars in his will, Martha initially decides to refuse the money, reasoning that he would never have bequeathed it to her had he lived and she broken up with him, and only agrees to accept it after her children insist that he would have wanted her to have it either way.
Martha has an element of this trope in one sense; she's not exactly shy about charging vast amounts to her son's credit card, much to his exasperation. It is, however, abundantly clear that she loves him for far more than just his purchasing power.
A non-romantic variation shows up in an episode of Mamas Family wherein Vinton believes he is adopted. A prospective birth mother appears, but she balks upon learning that Vint is not a banker ("securities") as she had surmised but rather a locksmith ("security systems").
Logan's mother on Gilmore Girls is said to have met her rich and unfaithful husband in a bar. She's a Socialite and not verz affectionate mother.
Batman rogue Penguin once teamed up with a golddigger who married an elderly wealthy man who, instead of dying and leaving her his estate, divorced her and all she got from him was a race horse and some umbrellas she tried to pass as a valuable collection.
Raj gets into a relationship with one in The Big Bang Theory. He takes advantage of his parents' wealth to shower her with gifts, until they give him an ultimatum, to choose between his parents' money and the girl. When he tells her about this, and that he chose her, she promptly dumps him, leaving him an emotional wreck for the rest of the episode.
Shake It Up: In "Match it Up" Deuce's first girlfriend, Savannah, is this, dumping Deuce for someone with more money. When Deuce wins the chance to get 10,000 dollars, she comes back to him. Rocky and Cece trick her into revealing her true nature by having Ty pose as an internet billionaire. Deuce dumps her soon after.
Lord Grantham provides an example of the classic "male Impoverished Patrician marries industrialist's daughter" type. He admits that his sole purpose in marrying Cora (an American) was getting her dowry and inheritance from her father, a millionaire dry-goods merchant, in order to support the estate. She loves him from the start, and by the time we see them about 20 years later, he's come to love her, as well—and deeply regret his initial motivations.
Some of Mary's suitors disappear when they learn that she will not inherit her parents' money. Lord Grantham takes one to task (in typical understated British fashion) for it.
El Chapulín Colorado prevented a wealthy man from shooting his daughter's boyfriend. The man suspects all her suitors were the trope. In the boyfriend's case, the man is proven right when he (falsely) claims he's leaving his entire estate to his butler.
On Revenge, Victoria assumes this about Emily and her interest in Daniel. Emily is actually rich on her own, but lets Victoria find evidence that suggests she's right because Victoria learning her real secret would be even more damaging.
A man wanted to mow the lawn but it was so hot he entertained the idea of doing it naked. When he asked his wife what the neighbors would think if they saw him naked, they'd think she married him for money.
"He was rich and old, and she/Was twenty-two or twenty-three./She gave him fifteen years to live/The only thing she meant to GIVE."—-anon.
There is a joke about a millionaire who asks his friend whether his chances to marry a young girl will improve if he'll tell her he's sixty instead of seventy five. The friend points out ninety three is a safer bet.
Kanye West's "Gold Digger". Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Ironically enough, the Ray Charles song it samples is actually about a Sugar Momma (a woman who financially supports her lover in exchange for certain affections).
Also Proyecto Uno's song "La Interesada". Quite appropriate, since the song was a cover of "Money Talks".
The female protagonist of the Eagles song "Lyin' Eyes" is a gold digger; she's treated more sympathetically than most examples, however, being depicted as being lonely and trapped in a loveless and unhappy marriage with a cold and distant man. The song nevertheless points out that she did bring it on herself and that she is stringing along at least two guys as a result.
Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend famously sung by Carol Channing. Also by Marilyn Monroe in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The famous dance number in which she sings it was also done by Madonna.
Subverted in the Madonna example in the video. She plays a performer who is pursued by several rich men, but she'd rather be with the hot but poor handyman and make out with him in his pickup truck.
Good Charlotte's "Boys and Girls", continually claiming "Girls don't like boys, girls like cars and money".
AC/DC, "What Do You Do for Money Honey." ("Money Talks" is an inverse example, with a man seducing a woman he thinks is a Gold Digger.)
Johnathan Coulton has two songs on this topic: "Till the Money Comes" and "Millionaire Girlfriend."
Kirsty MacColl's "I'm Going Out with an Eighty-Year-Old Millionaire" is a over-the-top parody of the phenomenon.
"Daddy (You Oughta Get The Best For Me)" by Bob Troup; Sammy Kaye recorded the first hit version, but there are lots and lots of cover versions. The song is "'bout a gal named Daisy Mae" who sings she wants such things as "a brand new car, champagne, caviar."
"Why don't you do right?" by Joe McCoy, performed by many many (including Jessica Rabbit). "Why don't you do right like some other men do? Get out of here and get me some money too!"
The later version used by Disney differs considerably from the original ("Weed Smoker's Dream"), which is fully of very thinly veiled suggestions that women should become gold diggers (or possibly prostitutes). "Sitting on a million, sitting on it every day, can't make no money giving your stuff away, why don't you do now like the millionaires do? Put your stuff on the market, and make a million too." Some of the verses are even more blatant than the chorus.
Cee Lo Green's hit "F--k You" is about a former girlfriend who the narrator laments only wanted money. Despite his choruses warnings, he kept asking for her back but she kept rejecting him for richer boyfriends.
Chorus: Oh shit, she's a gold digger - Just thought you should know, nigga
But at the end of the music video he gets sweet revenge when returning years later to show off that now he's rich and famous, while she's stuck working at the diner where her rejections took place. So much for her gold digging.
This is one of the methods of getting rich discussed in the ABBA song Money Money Money.
Garth Brooks' song "Digging For Gold" from In The Life Of Chris Gaines. The subject of the song was only in the marriage until the millionaire lost his money in the stock market and she bailed out in the end, leaving him crying.
The Pet Shop Boys song Rent seems to be about this and perhaps prostitution. The title sounds like an allusion to the term "rent boy" to mean "male prostitute", and the chorus is the words "I love you, you pay my rent" repeated over and over.
You dress me up; I'm your puppet
You buy me things; I love it
You bring me food; I need it
You give me love; I feel it
The Carter USM cover of the same song tends to avoid this trope, putting more emphasis on singing about the love angle and emphasising the lyrics "Words mean so little, and money less / When you're lying next to me." It comes off as more about a poor guy in a relationship with a richer girlfriend/boyfriend rather than the relationship between a prostitute and his client or a downright Gold Digger.
"Marry for Money" by Trace Adkins is a rare male example:
I'm gonna marry for money
I'll be so damn rich it ain't funny
I'm gonna have me a trust fund, yacht club, hot tub piece of the pie
Find me a sweet sugar mama
With a whole lotta zeroes and commas
I don't care if she loves me, she can even be ugly
Charlie Parker's "Romance Without Finance" is another male example.
Romance without finance just don't make sense
Mama, mama, please give up that gold
You so great and you so fine
You ain't got no money you can't be mine
"Do You Love Me" from KISS, with Paul Stanley asking if the person he's singing about really loves him or just loves the fame and celebrity that comes with being a rock star.
Nickelback: In "Rockstar", the narrator describes wanting to be pursued by golddiggers. The song in general is about wanting to be a rock star for all the wrong reasons.
Blondie. Yes, that Blondie. Dagwood Bumstead, though you'd never know it to look at him today, started off as the rich and privileged heir to the Bumstead fortunes. His family cut him out of the will when he married Blondie Boopadoop(!), whom they believed to be a gold digger. To be fair, they might not have been entirely wrong at the time. The strip is called "Blondie," though Dagwood is clearly the more comedic character today, because originally it was about Blondie the flapper girl's crazy antics, with her then-boyfriend Dagwood playing straight man. After they got married and found themselves suddenly middle-class (at best), Blondie underwent a lot of character development.
Not a few petty-scale villains of Victorian Melodrama, as mentioned in the Forgotten Futures supplement "Victorian Villainy" are some variety of "fortune hunter" who is after the Romantic Lead, who is usually the heiress to some vast fortune that the villain wants to get his greedy hands on.
In the musical based on Shrew, Kiss Me Kate Petruchio (not Fred) not only admits it outright several times, but he has an entire song about it. Just to even things out, though, Lilli Vanessi (not Kate) is planning to marry at least in part for status (in the stage show, her fiance is a retired General who is intended to be the next Vice-Presidential candidate) or money (in the movie, he's a wealthy Texas cattle baron).
The Merchant of Venice is full of male versions. Bassanio wants to marry Portia in part because she's wealthy and Portia's father had set up the whole "Three caskets" thing to assure that she doesn't get stuck with one.
Like everything William Shakespeare, this is up for interpretation. Some productions have Bassanio marrying Portia entirely for her money, some have him marry her because he loves her, with her money an obstacle, and some play around in the space between the two. With Arragon and Morocco, however, the text is... less kind.
The text also suggests that this is a big part of Lorenzo's interest in marrying Jessica. Depending on the production, it may be more or less obvious.
Subverted in the opera La Duenna by Roberto Gerhard: subverted because 1) the gold digger, the Large Ham Don Jerome, is a man and 2) he comes to love his wife and really misses her when she dies.
Carmen - Mercédčs, during the fortune-telling number, sees herself becoming the wife of a wealthy but senile man — and then, as his widow, inheriting magnificently.
In The Women, Crystal Allen is trying to sleep her way to the top, and replacing Mrs. Haines with herself is not the last step on her social climb.
In The Unsinkable Molly Brown, when Molly's father says she should settle down with a nice Irish-Catholic man, she objects that she only wants to marry "the richest Irish-Catholic next to the Pope." She rejects Johnny's marriage proposals until he has made enough money to satisfy her demands.
The 1913 Broadway musical High Jinks had a seductive widow named Adelaide, who sized up her suitors by their bank accounts.
The Haunted Mansion - Constance, the ghostly bride that was recently added to the attraction at Disney Theme Parks, married and decapitated about five men for their wealth. If you look at the portraits in the Attic scene, her smile and the amount of necklaces around her neck steadily increases.
And the last one was one of the Mansion's owners - the Imagineers specifically modeled his appearance after "George" from the Portrait Room.
Ace Attorney had Alita Tiala, who was digging for the gold of her fiance, the son of a major gangster. In fact, what made it even worse was that she was the nurse who treated the gangster's son, who had taken a bullet to the chest which would kill him within a year, and was virtually inoperable. She fooled the patient into thinking the bullet was removed, and then decided to marry him, and wait for him to die to get his inheritance.
In another game, there was a subversion when it turned out that the partner of Ron DeLite, Desiree, genuinely loved him, despite having definitely looked like a gold digger beforehand.
Many of the mistresses in Overlord, particularly Velvet in the first game and Juno in the second. A big part of either game is acquiring enough wealth so that you can afford to decorate your Tower with things that please the mistress. If you buy them all of their particular decorations, you are rewarded with an Optional Sexual Encounter with the mistress.
There are... certain women in Final Fantasy IV that are quite clearly stereotypical gold diggers. In the... bar where they are found, there is a... club you can gain access to (for an obscene amount of cash) where you can watch a... performance by them. After the show, you can enter the dressing room and, in the DS Version, get the "Gil Farmer" augment. Hmmm....
The Sims 3 - Gold Digger is a Lifetime Aspiration. To achieve it, sims have to marry someone worth a certain amount of money, and then have their spouse die and see their ghost.
In The Sims 2, Dina Caliente is implied to be this. She married Michael Bachelor and has the memory of "Married a Rich Sim", and he died before the game started. When the game starts, she's in love with Mortimer Goth, who is also very rich.
Dragon Age: Origins - A variant occurs within dwarven society. Dwarves have a very strict caste system that determines each dwarf's profession, with casteless dwarves filling the very bottom rung. Female casteless dwarves commonly engage in "noble hunting," where they seduce a male dwarf noble and have his child; if that baby is a boy, the casteless dwarf and her relatives can be accepted into the noble's house. This is even encouraged in dwarven society, as their population is dwindling from constant attacks by the darkspawn.
Annie of Atelier Annie dreams of falling into a life of easy luxury by "marrying up" before her family sends her lazy rear end off to work as an alchemist. Once she finds out that the prize for her efforts could include the Prince's hand in marriage she becomes incrediblydetermined.
Larry's main Love Interest in the previous game (who was a rich Granola Girl) suddenly turns into this trope after sleeping with Larry. She chains him to the bed and leaves with his wallet. His primary pursuit in this game (Captain Thygh) also turns out to be this, not to mention the Black Widow in the game who hires Larry to off her husband. Of course, neither Thygh nor Larry have any intention for a long-term relationship, but when Larry wins the contest, she refuses to honor her end of the deal until he shows her how much money he has.
Fawn in "The Land of the Lounge Lizards" who dumps Larry after recieving alot of gift from him, including a diamond ring.
In Ultra Fast Pony, Rarity is this, though inconsistently. She seems to want a legitimate relationship with Prince Blueblood, and she stops pursuing him as soon as she realizes their personalities are incompatible. On the other hand, she's interested in Fancy Pants solely for his money, and she's not the least bit ashamed.
Rarity: I am such a big fan of your money.
In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Princess Voluptua, heir to the throne of a vast space empire, has lamented that she's endured 270 years of power-hungry fools vying for her hand. This is one of the main reasons she's attracted to Bob, because he harbors no such ambitions.
Issa of Least I Could Do freely admitted she was looking to marry rich, which she was so focused on she made no other life goals, to the point where she was 27, still living with her parents, working at a gas station and had no skills to help her get a better paying job. She had to beg and plead for Rayne to get her a job at IDS. Now she has a new boyfriend.
A straight example is Bonnie going after Ron Stoppable's 99 million dollars. She promptly leaves after it gets stolen because she told Ron to keep it in his pocket.
Demona and Thailog scheme to do this to Macbeth, using a human Demona as bait in Gargoyles.
The Boondocks - Cristal (you know? like the champagne). Much like the Glee example, Kanye West's song was played over a montage of her shopping with Granddad, just to make sure we got it.
In Spider-Man, Jason PhillipMacendale, better known as The Hobgoblin tried to marry Felicia Hardy to get access to her wealth. When she found out his alter-ego, he threatened to kill her unless she goes through it.
In Futurama, when Bender undergoes a robot sex-change operation, Calculon becomes smitten with "Coilette" (AKA: female Bender). Bender intends to marry Calculon, then immediately divorce him for half his stuff. Unfortunately, he develops genuine feelings (or at least a desire to not screw him over) for him.
Congratulation Fry. Amy is a fine catch. She's rich... and I am sure she has many other positive qualities as well.
On The Simpsons, Marge's sister Selma (Bouvier-Terwilliger-Hutz-McClure-Stu-Simpson) at one point tells Marge that she from now on will only be marrying for love... "and maybe once more for money."
And she got the surname "Terwilliger" from Sideshow Bob, who tried to kill her for money and would have gotten away with that if not for that meddling Bart Simpson.
Jez on Jimmy Two-Shoes, apparently. She seems largely uninterested in being romantic with Lucius, but has no qualms about using his stuff. Sure enough, the moment the Broke Episode happens, she dumps him.
Kelly on Stoked, when she begins dating Lo's brother (and Emma's crush) Ty Ridgemount simply because he is the son of hotel owner Mr. Ridgemount.
At least two cartoon shorts (One of them featuring Daffy Duck) involved a male gold digger marrying a rich widow... and finding himself having to put up with her bratty kid and live his life according to her whims. After much physical and mental abuse, the gold digger decides he's had enough and leaves her.
The other short featured Yosemite Sam, who entered Wicked Stepfather territory by trying to off the kid (who in this case isn't so much bratty as dangerously large and naive like Baby Huey). As he left, he asked himself if all of that was worth five million dollars. Five million dollars? He ran back to the mansion.
He tried to marry another rich widow (played by Granny) in "Hare Trimmer", but Bugs Bunny posed as a rival suitor (and later Granny herself) to save her.
Lady Jasmine turns out to be this in The Smurfs episode "The Prince And The Hopper", when Smurfette finds out that Prince Theodore's bride-to-be is only interested in marrying him for the money.
Moral Orel: Doughy develops a crush on his teacher, Miss Sculptham and starts buying her presents with the money his parents give him to leave them alone. She takes advantage of this even though she clearly has no interest in her student. When he runs out of money, Doughy becomes this to Creepler in order to keep buying gifts for Miss Sculptham, until he realizes she's just taking advantage of him.