Alice Walton

Alice Louise Walton was born on October 7, 1949. She is an American heiress to the fortune of Walmart. In September 2016, she owned $11 billion in Walmart shares. As of October 2022, Walton has a net worth of $59 billion, which makes her the 19th richest woman in the world according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Early life

Walton was born in Newport, Arkansas. She was raised along with her three brothers in Bentonville, Arkansas. She graduated from Bentonville High School in 1966. She later graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, having earned a B.A. in economics.


Early in her career, Walton was an equity analyst and money manager for the First Commerce Corporation and headed investment activities in Arvest Bank Group. She also served as a broker for EF Hutton. In 1988, Walton founded Llama Company, an investment bank, where she was the president, chairwoman, and CEO. Walton was the first person to chair the Northwest Arkansas Council and played a big role in the development of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, which opened in 1998. At the time, the business and civic leaders of Northwest Arkansas Council found a need for the $109 million regional airport in their corner of the state. Walton provided $15 million in initial funding for construction. Her company, Llama Company, underwrote a $79.5 million bond. Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport Authority would go on to recognize Walton’s contributions to the creation of the airport and named the terminal the Alice L. Walton Terminal Building. She was later inducted into the Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame in 2001.

In the late 1990s, Llama Co. closed, and in 1998, Walton moved to a ranch in Millsap, Texas called the Walton’s Rocking W. Ranch. Walton is an avid horse lover who was known for having an eye for determining which 2-month-olds would grow to be champion cutters. Walton listed the farm for sale in 2015 and moved to Fort Worth, Texas, citing the need to focus on the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Bentonville, Arkansas, art museum she founded in 2011.

In his 1992 autobiography “Made in America”, Sam Walton remarked that Alice was “the most like me–a maverick– but even more volatile than I am.”

Walton and her mother would often pain using watercolors on camping trips. Her interest in art led to the Walton Family Foundation, developing the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. In December 2004, Walton purchased art sold from the collection of Daniel Fraad and Rita Fraad at Sotheby’s, located in New York.

In 2005, Walton purchased Asher Brown Durand’s celebrated painting called Kindred Spirits in a sealed bid auction for a reported $35 million. The 1849 painting, a tribute to Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole, had been given to the New York Public Library in 1904 by Julia Bryant, the daughter of Romantic poet and New York newspaper publisher William Cullen Bryant, who is depicted in the painting along with Cole. She has also purchased works by American painters Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper, as well as a notable portrait of George Washington by Charles Wilson Peale. In 2009, Walton acquired Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter for $4.9 million. Walton’s attempt to quit smoking would inspire her to purchase a painting reminiscent of an earlier painting by John Singer Sargent by Alfred Maurer which depicts a full-length woman smoking. Another painting, by Tom Wesselmann, titled Smoker #9 and depicts a hyper-realistic, disembodied hand and mouth smoking a cigarette.

In a 2011 interview, she spoke of acquiring great works by other artists. She described Marsden Hartley as “one of my favorite artists. He was a very complex guy, somewhat tormented, but a very spiritual person, and love the emotion and the feel and the spirituality of his work.” She went on to say: “As Andrew Wyeth- the mystery and the loneliness he expressed. How do you paint loneliness?”

Alice Walton was the 20th-largest individual contributor to 527 committees in the U.S. presidential election in 2004, donating $2.6 million to the conservative Progress for America group. As of January 2012, Walton had contributed $200,000 to restore our future, the super PAC associated with Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Alice donated $353,400 to the Hilary Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee supporting Clinton as well as other democrats. In 2016, Walton and other Walmart heirs donated $407 million in Walmart shares to a Family Trust, which finances its philanthropy.

In her personal life, Walton married a prominent Louisiana investment banker in 1974 when she was 24, but they were divorced two and a half years later. According to Forbes, she married “the contractor who built her swimming pool” soon after, “but they, too, divorced quickly.”

Walton has been involved in multiple automobile accidents, one of which was fatal. She lost control of a rented Jeep during a 1983 Thanksgiving family reunion near Acapulco, and plunged into a ravine, shattering her leg. She was airlifted out of Mexico and underwent more than two dozen surgeries in total. It’s reported she suppers with lingering pain from her injuries. In April 1989, it is reported she struck and killed a 50-year-old Oleta Hardin, who had stepped onto a road in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Net Worth

$59 billion


Walton has received a number of awards for her philanthropic contributions to society, including the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art Medal, the John Cotton Dana Medal for Visionary Leadership Museum, and the Leonore and Walter Annenberg Award for Diplomacy through the Arts.
She was also inducted into the Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame in 2001 and into the International Women’s Forum Hall of Fame in 2018.