Saturday, April 16, 2011

The saddest billionaire- John Paul Getty III

He was known for his enormous wealth and inheritance, but also and for being kidnapped in Italy when he was a boy. Because of a heroin overdose when he was 25, he remained paralyzed for the rest of his life.

Most people do not understand the expression “The rich also cry”, and they are asking themselves why would the rich cry and be sad. However, in the case of billionaire John Paul Getty III (1956-2011), this expression is not far from reality. This successor of great oil empire, who died at the age of 54, had plenty of unfortunate episodes in his life. That is why now, after his death, which occurred due to failure of vital organs, he is calledthe saddest billionaire”.

John Paul Getty III was also known as “Golden Hippie. For those who knew Getty’s lifestyle this nickname is completely logical.  He spent much of his childhood in Rome, where he socialized with artists, and leftist bohemians. The Italian capital was also the place where his teenage idyll was brutally interrupted. There, when he was 16, John Paul Getty was kidnapped. His kidnappers demanded $ 17 million from his family, but Getty’s grandfather, John Paul Getty I (1892-1976), refused to pay them.

I have 14 other grandchildren, and if I pay one penny now I’ll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren.” - said John Paul Getty I, at that time one of the richest people in the world and founder of California's famous museum that bears his name.

At the same time, his father, John Paul Getty II (1932-2003), was unable to pay that sum of money, because, at that time, he was rehabilitating from drug addiction in one rehabilitation center in London.

In the beginning, his family thought that his kidnapping was just a joke and they didn’t do anything. Four months later, a package arrived at the offices of a Rome newspaper. It contained a lock of red hair and a moldy human ear. A message that came along claimed that these belong to Getty, and threatened: "This is Paul's ear. If we don't get some money within 10 days, then the other ear will arrive. In other words, he will arrive in little bits."

The ransom was paid only after his grandfather, John Paul Getty I, managed to reduce the ransom to the figure of $ 2.8 million in cash with "bargaining". He borrowed that money to his son, Getty II, but he warned him that it was just a “loan” and that he expects his money back with 4% interest.

Soon after that, a truck driver spotted John Paul Getty III along the road, some 160 kilometers south of Naples. He spent five months in captivity. When he wanted to thank his grandfather for saving him, Getty I refused to talk to him.

John Paul Getty III was born in 1956, as the first child of John Paul Getty Jr. and actress Abigail Harris, who were already divorced when he was kidnapped. When he was 18, he married Gisela Martine Schmidt who was a photographer and an artist. In 1975, he got a son with Gisela, Balthazar Getty. He also adopted Gisela’s daughter, Anna from her first marriage, and gave her his surname. He and Gisela divorced in 1993.

Almost a decade before that, more precisely, in 1981, Getty suffered a stroke caused by heroine overdose. From then and on he needed constant care because he was strapped to a wheelchair. As a consequence of the stroke, Getty was quadriplegic and nearly blind.

Life of the Getty family was a movie-like tragic story. Getty dynasty made their first millions dealing with oil, but after that, they expanded their business to almost all branches. What is bizarre in the case of this family is the fact that a large number of its members died of a drug overdose.

Their empire was established by unusual oil tycoon John Paul Getty I, in the first half of the 20th century.  Getty I had five wives and five sons (one of his sons died at the age of 12).

Getty family was always in the spotlight. Until recently, they had  one of the strangest and richest couples in America – curly and physically neglected Peter Getty, who never did anything and is spending his time knitting, watching pornography and playing video games, and his wife Jacqui Getty, which is adorned by Hollywood stars. It is said that behind all those billions, Peter is nothing more than an abuser. His wife didn’t had the strength to leave him until he started to cheat in her with other women. Those who know Peter say that when he is travelling somewhere, he never caries a bag because he buys everything he needs when he arrives where he is going.

In 2006 when she was filing for divorce, Jacqui described her husband as a person who became heavily addicted to cocaine and soon after, started to, mentally and physically, abuse her.

Peter had a very bad, violent temper during the last year or two of our marriage; he made at least one threat to kill me, he hit me so hard that he broke my forearm (not at a joint), he has choked me and physically pushed me.” – Jacqui described her husband in the divorce documents. “He told me 'I could kill you and get away with it”. She also said that Peter, because of his enormous wealth, has no sense for good and evil and that he often said to her: “I can do anything. Because I'm Getty”.

Anyway, Jacqui Getty is a famous stylist who worked on many movies. Among the first who noticed her talent was Demi Moor, who met Jacqui at one shop in the late eighties. It was Jacqui who picked a dress for Moor in the famous scene of the movie “Indecent proposal”, when Demi approaches Robert Redford.

Howard Hughes – playboy, pilot and a hermit

One of the most bizarre billionaires was Howard Hughes. Hughes was successful in everything he did, whether it was designing aircrafts, piloting, film production...he even managed to seduce Hollywood beauties like Katharine Hepburn.

In 1935, he constructed an airplane with whom he set an airspeed record of 567,46 km/h. Two years later, he set a transcontinental airspeed record for flying from one end of America to another. In 1938, he flew around the world in just 91 hours and 14 minutes.

However, due to an obsessive dedication to work, addiction to drugs and agonizing among many lovers, he suffered his first nervous breakdown. Soon after, he demanded that everyone who comes in contact with him, wears white gloves. After second nervous breakdown, he spent his days in a hotel, in a closed room, where he sat completely naked in a white leather armchair.

He spent the last years of his life wandering around the world. He resided in luxurious hotels but, before his arrival, his employees were obliged to sterilize the rooms where he stayed. When he arrived to Las Vegas in 1967, he didn’t have a reservation for a luxury suite at the Hotel “Desert Inn", so he bought the entire hotel. He also bought television station KLAS-TV, which had to show movies until late into the night so he wouldn’t be bored.

He travelled in a car with welded windows, in which he had installed a special air cleaner that cost more than the vehicle itself and occupied more space then the engine.

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