A native of Marrakesh, Lasry arrived in the U.S. at the age of seven and grew up in Connecticut where, because he didn't speak any English, he was inexplicably placed in a class with Spanish speaking kids. After attending Clark University, Lasry says he planned to take a job at UPS-until, that is, his wife convinced him to pursue a slightly more lucrative line of work and he decided to enroll at New York Law School instead. Clerking for a bankruptcy judge during law school provided him with his first exposure to the distressed investing world. After a short stint at a law firm and positions at several financial firms around town, in 1989 he formed his first company, Amroc Investments, with backing from Texas billionaire Robert Bass, the brother of Sid Bass. In 1995, anticipating a surge in bankruptcies, Lasry founded Avenue Capital with help from the Texas Pacific Group's David Bonderman, one of Bass's former protégés, and his sister, Sonia Gardner. Avenue now oversees some $20 billion.
Lasry met his wife, Cathy Cohen, at college. They married when Lasry was in law school; they now have five kids. They live in Manhattan and weekend and summer in Westport, Connecticut. In their free time Lasry and his wife serve on the boards of a number of organizations in New York, including the Big Apple Circus, The 92nd Street Y and Mount Sinai Hospital. [Image via Forbes]