Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Biography (1986–)
Actresses, entrepreneurs. Born June 13, 1986 in Sherman Oaks, California. The twin daughters of mortgage banker David Olsen and manager Jarnie Olsen, Mary-Kate and Ashley have become among the most popular—and bankable—female personalities in America. They made their acting debut in 1987 at nine months old, sharing the role of the youngest daughter, Michelle Tanner, on the ABC family sitcom Full House.
The Olsens also became a huge force in girl marketing when they created their company, Dualstar Productions, in 1993. When Full House ended in 1995, the girls had already starred begun to amass a small entertainment empire. Products bearing their names, including computer games, dolls, and an enormously popular clothing line for Wal-Mart, generates about $1 billion in retail sales alone per year. Their brand is sold in more than 3,000 stores in America and over 5,300 stores worldwide. The girls also continued acting, appearing in a home video series, feature films, multi-media entertainment, and the ABC TV series Two of a Kind and So Little Time.
In 2004, Mary-Kate and Ashley announced that they would be attending New York University for their undergraduate degrees. Later that year, they released the movie, New York Minute (2004). Since the film, Mary-Kate and Ashley have begun work on solo acting projects.
In 2005, the Olsen twins took full control over their company, Dualstar, buying the minority shares from lawyer Robert Thorpe. That same year, Mary-Kate left NYU and returned to California to focus on new business developments at Dualstar.
Two years later, in 2007, Forbes magazine ranked the twins as the eleventh-richest women in entertainment. Their estimated net worth sits at nearly $100 million.
In 2008, the twins released the book Influence, a work introducing readers to the artists and designers who have influenced the Olsens over the last decade. The book, released through a division of the Penguin Young Readers Group, featured figures such as Christian Louboutin, Lauren Hutton and Bob Colacello.
In recent years, the Olsens have been focusing on the fashion end of their business. They recently launched a men’s collection for their new high-end clothing line, The Row, and announced plans in 2009 to launch menswear under their Elizabeth and James line.