Kathy Hilton is one of the most recognizable socialites and fashion icons in America. As the mother of famous celebutantes Paris and Nicky Hilton, Kathy has lived her life in the spotlight for decades. Beyond her celebrity family, Kathy has made a name for herself through her flourishing business ventures, philanthropy work, and reality TV appearances. Get to know the woman behind the big sunglasses and let‘s explore why Kathy Hilton is such a pop culture phenomenon.
Her Early Life and Family
Kathleen Elizabeth Avanzino was born on March 13, 1959 in New York City to Laurence K. Avanzino and Kathleen Mary Richards. Her father worked on Wall Street while her mother was a well-known actress and comedian, best known by her stage name "Big Kathy." Kathy was raised alongside her younger sister Kyle Richards in Upper East Side Manhattan.
In 1978, 19-year old Kathy met real estate heir Richard Hilton at a party. The two fell in love quickly and were married that same year on November 24. Together they have four children: daughters Paris and Nicky, and sons Barron and Conrad.
Kathy is also the aunt of infamous child stars and fellow socialites Kim and Kyle Richards. Her half-sister Kyle joined the cast of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in 2010 along with Kathy for several seasons.
Her Illustrious Fashion and Lifestyle Brand
Kathy Hilton‘s sense of style has made her an authority in the fashion industry. She launched her clothing brand, The Kathy Hilton Collection, in 2004 which sells chic evening wear and bridal designs. In 2007, she created an eponymous line of designer handbags that became massively successful in department stores across America.
In recent years, Kathy has expanded her empire to home goods and lifestyle products. She opened a retail store called Kathy Hilton Home Collection to sell luxury bedding, furniture, lighting, and more. Her perfume and candle lines called Kathy Hilton Parfums are best-sellers at beauty counters. Through its posh aesthetics and affiliation with Kathy‘s name, the ever-growing Kathy Hilton brand represents grace and opulence.
Her Long Career in Television
Kathy Hilton first stepped into the reality TV spotlight in the early 2000s by starring in shows with her socialite daughters like The Simple Life. In 2010, Kathy joined the cast of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for season 1 which rocketed her fame to new heights. She left after season 3 but made guest appearances in later seasons alongside her sister Kyle Richards.
Kathy‘s openness about her family life and luxurious lifestyle on RHOBH showcased a new side of her celebrity persona. Viewers connected with her doting motherhood and glamorous SoCal world. Recently, she has returned as a main cast member for RHOBH season 12 which premiered in 2022.
Beyond reality TV, Kathy has appeared on competition shows like Worst Cooks in America in 2017. She showcased her lack of culinary skills and hilarious personality on the program. She also been a frequent guest on talk shows like Ellen and The Talk to discuss her family and latest projects.
Her Extensive Philanthropy Work
Kathy Hilton spends ample time volunteering and donating to causes she is passionate about. She served on the board of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and routinely plans lavish events for children with terminal illnesses.
In 2015, Kathy founded the Kathy Hilton Foundation which provides housing, food, clothing, and tuition assistance to families with disabled children. She also supports organizations that combat child abuse and youth homelessness.
After her daughter Paris was sent to boarding school and faced trauma as a teen, Kathy has done advocacy work for the emotional wellbeing of adolescents. Her generous spirit and desire to help young people have impacted many lives over the years.
Fun Facts About Kathy Hilton
- Kathy met her husband Richard when she was a teenager and he was in his early 30s. Despite their age difference, they have now been married over 4 decades.
- She worked as a child actress on television shows like Bewitched and Happy Days under the stage name Kathy Richards.
- Her youngest son Barron currently runs the family‘s real estate business, Hilton & Hyland, with Rick Hilton.
- She appeared alongside her socialite daughter Nicky Hilton on the reality show I Am Nicky Hilton.
- Kathy loves dogs and has had several over the years, including an Chihuahua named Dolce.
Kathy Hilton‘s Net Worth
From her multiple business pursuits to her rich husband and investments, Kathy Hilton has amassed an enormous net worth estimated around $350 million. She came from an upperclass family but expanded her wealth exponentially through hard work and leveraging her family name. Kathy enjoys spending her fortune on real estate, luxury vacations, designer fashion, and spoiling her grandchildren.
Why We Love Kathy Hilton
Kathy Hilton has earned her title as pop culture royalty through her style, humor, business savvy, and devotion to her family. Here are just a few of the reasons she has so many adoring fans:
- Her iconic fashion sense and creation of a major lifestyle brand.
- Her close relationship with her children and grandchildren.
- Her bubbly, slightly kooky personality fans adore.
- Her generosity towards charitable organizations.
- The grace and poise she maintains despite life in the spotlight.
- Her chic, picture-perfect mansion fans get a peek into on RHOBH.
- Her honesty about the struggles of parenting and family drama.
At 64 years old, the glamorous, kind-hearted Kathy Hilton only becomes more beloved with age. She represents the elite socialite lifestyle but also feels down-to-earth and welcoming. Kathy may have been born into a famous family, but her patience, resilience and business savvy are what cements her star status today.