Follow TV Tropes


Rich Genius

Go To

Captain America: Big man in a suit of armor. Take that off, and what are you?
Tony Stark: Genius. Billionaire. Playboy. Philanthropist.

Bob is a Gadgeteer Genius. He then gets a great idea for an invention; maybe a Time Machine, a cloning machine, or a doomsday weapon. After he designs any of those things, he catches the attention of a government official, the president, or a king. This powerful person wants to buy this thing for a trillion dollars! This inventor becomes the richest man in the world after selling so many inventions!

Bob now owns a mansion, a yacht, a private jet, his own island, and is now the owner of the Mega-Corp. This person is one of the smartest and the richest people in the world, maybe even the universe! Anyone who wants to make loads of dough might be a person who seeks knowledge.

This would take a person from Rags to Riches if they start out as poor and homeless.

Contrast Cut Lex Luthor a Check, Reed Richards Is Useless. Often overlaps with Howard Hughes Homage and Tech Bro.


Anime & Manga

  • Dragon Ball: Bulma and her father Dr. Briefs are both genius inventors who created the capsules, those tiny things that are able to store anything of ANY size. They also own a yacht, are able to host big parties, and they have their own professional chefs.

Comic Books

  • Bruce Wayne is a billionaire and philanthropist who runs Wayne Enterprises whose stated IQ is an unbelievable 192. That's his day job. By night, he is the Batman, a masked detective and vigilante armed with a plethora of non-lethal gadgets that he invents who protects the innocent and spreads fear to the criminals of Gotham City. He alternates between being portrayed as an active, competent, businessman and Obfuscating Stupidity by playing a ditzy Millionaire Playboy Depending on the Writer.
  • Some characters in the Marvel Universe:
    • Norman Osborn is the owner of Oscorp and is able to invent flying objects and bombs that look like pumpkins. He can ride in a limo if he wants to.
    • Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man. Smart enough to invent, build, maintain, and constantly update an entire fleet of Iron Man suits. Also one of the richest men on the planet in-universe, and sometimes the guy who personally bankrolls the Avengers, paying for collateral damage repairs, equipment, and transportation.
    • Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four is often held up as the single smartest man on his planet in-universe. He maintains a comfortable living in a three-floor penthouse apartment in a prestigious New York City skyscraper using the patents from his inventions.
      • Early Nick Fury comics explained that both he and Tony Stark designed (and probably built) a lot of the equipment SHIELD uses.
      • There's a bit of a weird case of Superhero Speciation whereby both he and Tony are smart and rich, but if they're in the same room together, he's the smart one and Tony is the rich one.
  • Tintin: Professor Calculus is at first presented as a Bungling Inventor and Omnidisciplinary Scientist, but he clearly manages to have enough money to fund his inventions (and is one of the lead scientists in a working space program at one point). At the end of "The Treasure of Rackham the Red", the titular treasure has not been found (only some old parchments were), so Professor Calculus jumps in to save the day, telling him that the government bought his shark submarine design and that he'll happily help Haddock buy the castle mentioned in the parchments (as it was on Haddock's expedition that the sub proved its worth). And when they visit, Haddock and Tintin find the treasure which was in the castle all along.

Films - Animated

  • The Incredibles has the super-villain Syndrome. How did he get rich? He built numerous advanced technologies and weapons, as he was also capable of becoming a successful weapons designer.

Films Live-Action

  • In Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, the main characters' nerdy classmate in high school, Sandy Frink, becomes a very wealthy millionaire, after he invented a special rubber that's used in every tennis shoe in America. He even arrives in a helicopter at the high school reunion.


  • In Friday, Daniel Shipstone is the inventor of an "improved power battery" before the Second Atlantic Rebellion and later used the funds gained by his invention to create the Mega-Corp Shipstone.

Live-Action TV

  • Revenge: Nolan Ross is a billionaire genius who got rich thanks to his successful tech company, Nolcorp.
  • Richie Rich: In this Netflix adaptation of Richie Rich, Richie's massive fortune comes from creating a green energy source from all of the vegetable he never ate, making him a trillionaire.

Video Games

  • Bioshock:
    • Andrew Ryan in Bioshock 1 claims to be this and built Rapture specifically to cater to this kind of person. He seems to have made his fortune by putting together his own oil drilling operation, but the implication seems to be he only struck big because of good luck.
    • Seems to be a case of Hidden Depths with Jeremiah Fink in Bioshock Infinite; despite appearances, he actually does have significant skill at operating sophisticated machinery, enough that he's the only person in town that Father Comstock can turn to for discrete sabotage work.
  • Esmond Roseburrow from the Dishonored series invented the modern whale oil tech, kickstarting a One-Man Industrial Revolution, and became rich and famous off his patents. However, he later committed suicide (as shown in The Tales from Dunwall) after his inventions became the government's primary means of oppression.
  • Fallout: New Vegas gives us Mr. House. A genius who built his own robotics empire before the war, and after the war created his own technologically advanced society powered by technological superiority and economic dominance.

Western Animation

  • Hiroshi Sato from The Legend of Korra personally designed a lot of the stuff his company sells, and is one of the wealthiest men in town. His daughter isn't any slouch at engineering, either, and takes over the company when he's not around. The other example is Varrick, who made a lot of money off his various inventions but is also... let's say "eccentric".

Real Life

  • Thomas Edison is one of the most prolific and game-changing inventors of all time who was worth $178 million. Among Edison's most notable inventions were the electric light bulb, the phonograph, electrical power, battery for an electric car, recorded music, and the motion picture camera.
  • Howard Hughes, who inspired several of the characters on this list. Made a considerable fortune for himself by designing aircraft, but also turned out to be very mentally ill.
  • Bill Gates invented Microsoft Windows and is worth an astounding $81.6 billion and he keeps getting richer every year.
  • Ralph Lauren is worth $7.5 BILLION for creating Polo shirts. This designer has got serious business smarts. He started out very small, launching Polo with only $50,000 in 1967. In 1994 he sold 28 percent of his business to Goldman Sachs for $138 million.