| FROm thE vAULt: gEttY’S mightY gRip,Ñ JULY 15, 1957

Forbes - - CONTENTS - By mid-cen­tury J. Paul Getty’s em­pire spanned con­ti­nents and fu­eled in­dus­tries.

BIL­LION­AIRE J. PAUL GETTY’S em­pire stretched from Cal­i­for­nia to Ara­bia, en­com­pass­ing oil wells, re­finer­ies, tankers and ho­tels. It to­taled some $1.1 bil­lion in as­sets, al­most $10 bil­lion in cur­rent money. And Getty ruled ab­so­lutely, with un­bri­dled am­bi­tion. “He just can’t stop as long as there’s a Shell or a Stan­dard Oil big­ger than he is,” one Wall Streeter ob­served. “He’s driven to keep grow­ing.” Getty owned tro­phies, in­clud­ing the Pierre Ho­tel in Man­hat­tan, but most of his wealth came from oil, and in the late 1950s, he was watch­ing a bet on Mid­dle East re­serves be­gin to pay off.

Em­peror Paul lived a life of con­tra­dic­tions. He even­tu­ally took up res­i­dence in a 73room English manor and amassed a mu­seum-qual­ity col­lec­tion of art (Rubens, Ti­tian, Gains­bor­ough and many more). Yet he was fa­mously par­si­mo­nious and “stead­fastly shun[ned] pub­lic­ity, some say for fear of be­ing kid­napped,” we noted. As the Os­car-nom­i­nated 2017 movie All the Money in the World de­picts, Paul wasn’t the Getty who ended up get­ting ab­ducted. His name­sake grand­son was in­stead—and true to form, the tight­fisted el­der Getty ini­tially re­fused to pay the ran­som. Getty’s ec­cen­tric­ity, Forbes con­cluded in 1957, was “symp­to­matic of a deep urge to cre­ate wealth—and keep it.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.