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Back to school has brought with it ads for Old Navy Clothing, featuring the talented actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus.  Many actresses and actors are often starving artists, but Julia and commodities trading have something in common which we are sure allowed her to have three square meals a day while going to and from her first auditions.

World agricultural commodities trading is dominated by the “ABCD” quartet of companies – Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, and Cargill and Louis Dreyfus Group.  One of the oldest, Louis Dreyfus Group, is a French global conglomerate company involved in agriculture, oil, energy and commodities as well as international shipping. Founded in 1851 in the Alsace region of France by Léopold Louis-Dreyfus, the company became quite successful as it diversified into many areas, including transportation, weapons manufacturing, agriculture, oil, and banking. During the World War II,  much of the family assets were confiscated by the Vichy government and some members of the family fled to America during or immediately after the war.

Fast forward to 1965, great grandson Gérard “William” Louis-Dreyfus became the chairman of Louis Dreyfus Energy Services, a US subsidiary of the group. Louis Dreyfus Energy Services is involved in crude-oil trading, gas investments and infrastructure. Reports are he has done quite well for himself, with an estimated net worth of US $ 3.4 billion.

The only child of William and his first wife Judith was a daughter born on January 13, 1961. Their daughter would go to study acting at Northwestern University. She would later join the cast on Saturday Night Live. She next got get her big break as Elaine Benes on Seinfeld, went on to star on The New Adventures of Old Christine, and currently is starring on the series Veep. Of course, we are talking about William and Judith’s daughter, Emmy-winning actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

So you don’t think darlin’ daughter is the only one with creative talent in her family, William Louis-Dreyfus is also a well-respected poet who has had numerous poems published in leading publications such as The Hudson Review. He was also chairman of the Poetry Society of America from 1998 to 2008.

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