Dagmar Dolby

Dagmar Dolby (born in 1941 or 1942) is the widow of the surround sound pioneer Ray Dolby. In January 2018, she had a net worth of $4.1 billion. She owns roughly 38% of the publicly-traded audio technology firm Dolby Laboratories, a company founded by her husband Ray Milton Dobly in 1965.

Dagmar was born in Germay during World War II. She graduated from Heidelberg University in West Germany with a Bacheolor of Arts/Science. In 1962, while attending a summer language program at Cambridge University in England, she met her future husband Ray Dolby.

Ray Milton Dolby OBE (1933-2013) was a United States-born engineer. He invented the noise reduction system that bears his name, Dolby NR, and founded Dolby Laboratories, Inc, a company specializing in audio noise reduction and audio encoding/compression. While working at Ampex, Ray Dolby also helped develop the video tape recorder.

Dagmar Dolby

Short facts about Dagmar Dolby

Name: Dagmar Dolby

Born: 1941 or 1942 in Germany

Nationality: USA

Residence: San Franciso, USA

Alma mater: Heidelberg University in West Germany

Spouse: Ray Dolby (died in 2013)

Children: Tom Dobly and David Dolby


In 2014, the year after Ray Dolby’s death, Dagmar and her family founded Dolby Family Ventures, a foundation that invests in startups with potential to solve social problems. Dagmar and Ray’s son David Dolby is the fund’s managing director.

The fund is known for not being afraid of supporting controversial issues, such as stem cell research and reproductive rights.

The Giving Pledge

Dagmar Dolby is a signer of The Giving Pledge. On the official site, she is quoted saying: “I am delighted to confirm my plans to devote the major part of my estate to charitable causes. This is a decision my late husband, Ray Dolby, and I made many years ago, and will enable our sons, Tom and David, and their families to carry on these efforts to improve our communities.”

Examples of causes and projects supported by Dagmar Dolby

  • Reproductive rights, including projects that support full reproductive freedom through education, advocacy and access to services
  • Stem cell research
  • Brain health research, especially mood disorders and Alzheimer’s disease
  • The care of seniors with cognitive impairment
  • Educational opportunities for children at all levels, with special emphasis on equality and support for women and girls
  • In 2015, Dagmar Dolby pledged nearly $53 million to the University of Cambridge, money earmarked to expand the campus. Dagmar and Ray met at Cambridge back in 1962, and Ray earned his Ph.D. in physics there.
  • In late 2015, Dagmar Dolby donated $20 million to the University of California, San Francisco, to finance research on mood disorders.