- “No man is poor who can do what he likes to do once in a while! And I like to dive around in my money like a porpoise! And burrow through it like a gopher! And toss it up and let it hit me on the head!”
- ?Scrooge McDuck[src]
Scrooge McDuck is the richest duck in the world, a lavish title and lifestyle earned from years of hard work, well-utilized intelligence, honesty and perseverance. He is an adventurer and opportunist, having trotted some of the most exotic corners of the world in search of treasure and wealth. Scrooge's expertise and creative business methods have put him leagues beyond his competition, and he carries this reputation knowingly and with pride. In putting so much time and dedication into growing his wealth, however, Scrooge became somewhat of a lone cheapskate over the years. Cold and nearly unforgiving, he is deathly protective of his fortune, and seldom spends any more of it than he has to. When asked to donate to the poor, Scrooge exclaimed, "They're not worth it!". For a long period of time after gaining his extensive wealth, Scrooge practically lived alone and had little contact with his family. This would partially play into his bitterness, though things would slowly change as he opened himself up to his nephews Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie. The younger ducks provided Scrooge with someone (rather than something, like his wealth) to care for, to the point where his family became far more important to Scrooge than his money.
Scrooge would become increasingly compassionate and selfless as he spent more time with his nephews, going as far as to regularly invite them on his international treasure hunts as partners and loyal sidekicks. Like Donald, Scrooge can still be greedy and hot-tempered at times. A majority of his employees and business associates still consider him an imposing figure even, but he is essentially good-hearted and well-meaning. He values honesty and fair play, firmly believing that great fortune should be squarely earned. Furthermore, while he can be undoubtably selfish at times, Scrooge will never leave behind someone in urgent need, and has even rescued some of his most formidable foes from certain death out of pure kindness.
Beyond obtaining wealth, Scrooge's exploits also provided valuable lessons in both a practical and moral sense, which he would make certain to reflect on in his following years. With age, Scrooge became wise and knowledgable, and regularly puts this wisdom to good use when raising his nephews, specifically Huey, Dewey and Louie. One of the more notable lessons is the danger of greed and selfishness, which Scrooge urges in hopes that his nephews remember the importance of life beyond money, such as family and honesty. He nevertheless has shown pride in their eagerness to learn the value of a dollar.
According to many tales told about Scrooge's lifetime, including the Eisner Award-winning series The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, Scrooge has worked his way up the financial ladder from humble immigrant roots. Spending his youth in Glasgow, Scotland, he made a living shining boot. His "Old Number One" is his most famous prized possession, and has been considered to be the source of his immense fortune, However, Scrooge has privately confided to Donald and the nephews that the dime's "great luck" may only be a superstition. In 1964's Getting That Healthy, Wealthy Feeling, drawn by Tony Strobl and written by Carl Fallberg (Uncle Scrooge #50), Scrooge reveals that he earned his first dime when he was a shoeshine boy in his youth, a concept that originated from Carl Barks' and Vic Lockman's 1963 comic The Invisible Intruder (Uncle Scrooge #44), and would later reappear in the DuckTales episode "Once Upon a Dime", as well as The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck. In Of Ducks, Dimes and Destinies (Uncle Scrooge #297), it was revealed to the reader that the dime originated from the wealthy and braggy American Howard Rockerduck.
Touring through Glasgow, Howard tossed pocket money to some playing children, where the particular dime was caught by Scrooge's sister Matilda, who gave it to her father, Fergus McDuck. In an attempt to get Scrooge to set his mind on serious business, Fergus handed the dime to his friend Burt the ditch-digger and asked if he would go to Scrooge's street shoeshine business to shine his extra dirty boots. Getting paid with the worthless American coin after his hard work, Scrooge decided to "be smarter than the smarties and tougher than the toughies, and make [his money] square". The dime also inspired him to seek his fortune in America.
Scrooge is now the richest duck in the world, rivaled only by Flintheart Glomgold, John D. Rockerduck and, less prominently, the maharaja of the fictional country Howdoyoustan (play on Hindustan).
He keeps a portion of his wealth in a massive Money Bin overlooking the city of Duckburg. In the Dutch and Italian Disney comics, he regularly forces Donald and his nephews to polish the coins one by one in order to pay off Donald's debts. Scrooge will not even pay them much for this lengthily, tedious, hand-breaking work. As far as he is concerned, even thirty cents an hour is too much expenditure.
Scrooge and his bookkeeper in Barks' The Second Richest Duck (1956).
A shrewd businessman and noted tightwad, his hobbies include diving into his money like a porpoise, burrowing through it like a gopher and throwing coins into the air to feel them fall upon his skull. He is also the richest member of The Billionaires Club of Duckburg, a society which includes the most successful businessmen of the world and allows them to keep connections with each other. Glomgold and Rockerduck are also influential members of the Club. The sum of Scrooge's wealth is disputed. According to Barks' The Second Richest Duck, as noted by a TIME article, Scrooge is worth "one multiplujillion, nine obsquatumatillion, six hundred twenty-three dollars and sixty-two cents." The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck notes that Scrooge amounts to "five multiplujillion, nine impossibidillion, seven fantasticatrillion dollars and sixteen cents". In 2007, Forbes listed his wealth at a much more modest $28.8 billion. Whatever the amount, Scrooge never considers it enough; he always wants to continue earning money by any honest means possible.
Scrooge is depicted as an elderly duck. The only time a specific age was stated was in the 1955 one pager comic, Watt An Occasion (Uncle Scrooge #12), by Scrooge's creator Carl Barks, where Scrooge celebrates his 75th birthday. According to the comic Zio Paperone e l'oro del Klondike ("Uncle Scrooge and the Gold of the Klondike"), by master Disney artist Romano Scarpa, Scrooge was born in 1897, making him 73 years of age when the story was first published in 1970. However, in Don Rosa's The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, Scrooge celebrates his 10th birthday in 1877 (according to the cover of the comic book), thus making him 80 years old when he meets his nephews in the last chapter of the series, of which the comic book cover shows the year 1947. The DuckTales episode "Sweet Duck of Youth", shows Scrooge having approximately 60 candles on his birthday cake. In DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp he refers to 40 years as "most of his life", placing his age under 80 years.