Skip to Content

Larry Ellison Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here is a look at the life of Larry Ellison, co-founder, executive chairman and chief technology officer of Oracle.


Birth date: August 17, 1944

Birth place: New York, New York

Full name: Lawrence Joseph Ellison

Father: Adoptive – Louis Ellison, accountant; Birth – Italian-American air force pilot

Mother: Adoptive – Lillian (Spellman) Ellison, aunt of his birth mother, Florence Spellman

Marriages: Melanie Craft (2003-2010, divorced); Barbara Boothe (1983-1987, divorced); Nancy Wheeler (1977-1978, divorced); Adda Quinn (1967-1974, divorced)

Children: with Barbara Boothe: David and Megan

Education: Attended University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1962-1964; Attended University of Chicago, 1966

Other Facts

At age 12, Ellison learned that he had been adopted when he was 9 months old by his birth mother’s aunt and uncle.

Florence Spellman, Ellison’s birth mother, was 19 years old and not married to Ellison’s birth father, whom Ellison has never met.

Ellison is a licensed pilot and owns several airplanes.

Oracle is the world’s second largest software company, second only to Microsoft.

The inspiration for Oracle came from a 1976 white paper by IBM Research, which posited the potential of a relational database management system.


1977 Ellison, Bob Miner and Ed Oates found Software Development Laboratories (SDL), and are contracted by the CIA to build a database program code-named “Oracle.” The company’s name is later changed to Relational Technologies, then Oracle Corporation.

1977 Becomes CEO of Oracle Corporation.

1978-1996 President of Oracle.

1986 Oracle goes public, raising $31.5 million in its initial public offering.

1990-1992 First stint as chairman of the board.

December 25, 1991 – Suffers a broken neck, punctured lung, and other injuries while bodysurfing in Hawaii.

1995-2004 Second stint as chairman of the board.

1997 – Founds the Ellison Medical Foundation, a non-profit that supports biomedical research on age-related diseases and disabilities.

August 11, 2000 Founds Oracle Racing, Inc., a sailboat racing syndicate.

February 14, 2010 Wins the 33rd America’s Cup with his BMW Oracle Racing team.

August 4, 2010 – The Giving Pledge — a movement led by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates — reveals that Ellison has pledged to give away “at least 95%” of his wealth to charity.

June 21, 2012 According to a statement from the governor of Hawaii, Ellison has bought 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lana’i.

September 25, 2013 – Oracle Team USA, backed by Ellison, comes from behind to win and successfully defend the America’s Cup. The team was given a two point penalty and fined $250,000 after illegally placing lead pellets in their catamarans to gain extra weight.

September 18, 2014 – Ellison announces that he is stepping down as Oracle’s CEO. Safra Catz and Mark Hurd, Ellison’s top lieutenants, will replace him as co-CEOs. Ellison is named Oracle’s executive chairman of the board and chief technology officer.

May-June 2015 – Ellison donates $3 million to the Conservative Solutions PAC, a group supporting Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign. He contributes $1 million in May and $2 million in June, according to FEC filings.

May 11, 2016 – Announces a $200 million donation to the University of Southern California to establish a cancer research and treatment center, the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC.

March 19, 2018 – Launches Sensei, a hydroponic, indoor food-growing company, with author and physician David Agus.

December 28, 2018 – Ellison is named to Tesla’s board as an independent director.

January 11, 2022 – Ellison gives $15 million to the Opportunity Matters Fund, a super PAC supporting South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott.

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - National

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

CNN Newsource


KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content