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Kidnapped grandson of Getty billionaire found

Kidnapped grandson of Getty billionaire found


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Jean Paul Getty III, the grandson of American billionaire J. Paul Getty, is found alive near Naples, five months after his kidnapping by an Italian gang. J. Paul Getty, who became the richest man in the world in 1957, had initially refused to pay his 16-year-old grandson’s $17 million ransom but finally agreed to cooperate after the boy’s severed right ear was sent to a newspaper in Rome. He eventually secured his grandson’s release by paying just $2.7 million, the maximum amount that he claimed he was able to raise.

READ MORE: Was the Getty Family Kidnapping a Hoax?

Born in Minneapolis in 1892, Getty inherited a small oil company from his father. Through his autocratic rule and skillful manipulation of the stock market, Getty soon shaped Getty Oil into a massive financial empire. By 1968, Getty’s fortune exceeded $1 billion. However, the world’s wealthiest man did not live an ideal life. He is remembered as an eccentric billionaire who married and divorced five times and had serious relationship problems with most of his five sons.

In the final 25 years of his life, Getty lived near London, England, in an estate surrounded by double barbed-wire fences and protected by plainclothes guards and more than 20 German shepherd attack dogs. He was also a notorious miser–his installation of a payphone for guests in his English mansion is a famous example. Three years after failing to pay his grandson’s ransom in a timely manner, J. Paul Getty died at the age of 83.

His children and former wives fought bitterly over the inheritance of his fortune in court, but ultimately the bulk of his billions went to the J. Paul Getty Museum “for the diffusion of artistic and general knowledge.” Today, the Getty Museum, based in Los Angeles, is the most richly endowed museum on earth.


Getty heir found dead in Hollywood with ‘rectal injury’

A grandson of billionaire energy mogul J. Paul Getty was found dead Tuesday inside his Los Angeles home with a rectal injury, according to reports.

Police responding to a 911 call of cardiac arrest at a Hollywood Hills home found Andrew Getty, 47, deceased in his bathroom at about 2:18 p.m., officials said.

Getty suffered a traumatic injury near his rectum that caused significant bleeding, TMZ reported.

He was found naked from the waist down and had suffered some kind of blunt-force trauma, law enforcement sources told The Los Angeles Times.

Despite those odd circumstances, investigators said they don’t believe Getty was the victim of foul play.

“At first glance, it does not appear to be a criminal type of act. But that could change,” LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said.

The oil heir had been feeling under the weather in recent days and had a doctor’s appointment set for Wednesday, a coroner’s official said.

“The tentative information that we do have is that he was not feeling good for the last couple months,” Los Angeles County Coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter said, “and he supposedly had an appointment (on Wednesday) with a personal physician.”

Investigators seized prescription meds from Getty’s home.

“He had some medication that we recovered and don’t know if he had taken the medication or what his medical history is, we do have a doctor’s name that we’re also going to follow up,” Winter said.

Getty’s ex-girlfriend Lanessa De Jonge found the body and called 911, KTLA in Los Angeles reported. She’s cooperating with cops.

The couple had a troubled history, including 31 LAPD visits to Getty’s home for domestic disturbance and drug use, TMZ reported.

Getty had gone to court and asked for a restraining order against De Jonge, according to KTLA. The case had been scheduled to go to court next week.

This isn’t the first brush with tragedy for the family.

In 1973, a 16-year-old grandson of J. Paul Getty was kidnapped.

The kidnappers sent the teen’s severed ear to his family, who paid $2.8 million for his release.

Getty’s dad, Gordon Getty, is the world’s 894th-richest man with a fortune worth $2.1 billion, according to Forbes magazine.


STABBED HIMSELF IN THE CHEST

The latest death on Friday last week is part of the long and sorry saga of the Getty clan, which includes the 1973 Mafia kidnapping of a 16-year-old John Paul Getty III.

His grandad J Paul refused to pay the ransom of £12million (equivalent to £70million today) so the Mob cut off John Paul’s ear and sent it to a newspaper in Rome.

Renowned miser J Paul eventually coughed up, but only after the US government negotiated a ransom figure of about £1.6million, the maximum that would be tax deductible.

Even then, he ordered John Paul’s father John Paul Getty Jnr to repay him at four per cent interest.

The kidnapping was the subject of Ridley Scott’s 2017 movie All The Money In The World — and it seems even that film could not escape the Getty curse.

Actor Kevin Spacey was cast as J Paul, but had to be replaced after filming came to a close when sexual abuse allegations broke. His scenes were then re-shot, with Christopher Plummer taking over the role.

J Paul’s road to fortune began in 1903, aged 11, when his father George, a lawyer, moved the family to Oklahoma in the hope of striking it rich with oil.

And strike it rich they did. In 1914 George lent a 21-year-old J Paul 10,000 dollars to make his own investments. Within two years he had made his first million.

Thanks to shrewd early investments in oil-rich land between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, he was named the richest man in America in 1957.

The Guinness Book Of Records named him as the richest private citizen in the world in 1966, with wealth of approximately £6billion in today’s terms.

But the sheen was already coming off America’s golden family.

Dad George had fallen out with J Paul over the younger man’s womanising.

J Paul married and divorced five times in his life — with three of those coming in the 1920s alone. He had five sons in total.

In 1959, J Paul moved the family to the UK, buying Sutton Place, a 16th Century Tudor manor house in Surrey.

Visitors there could admire the Rembrandts and Renoirs on the walls, but had to use a payphone to make calls.

When J Paul’s youngest son, Timothy, by fifth wife Teddy Lynch, developed a brain tumour at six years old, J Paul moaned about the cost of the medical bills.

When ­Timothy died in 1958, aged 12, J Paul was “too busy” to go to the funeral. Soon after, he and Teddy divorced.

J Paul died at Sutton Place, aged 83, in 1976, surrounded by his mistresses and dogs, but not a single family member.

He left a large slice of his £4.2billion estate to the Getty Art Museum in Los Angeles.

Of J Paul’s four other sons, one died after a suspected suicide, one had a secret second family and another fell into drug and booze addiction.

The eldest, George F Getty II, chief operating officer of the family’s Getty Oil Company, died in 1973, aged 48.

An inquest in LA found he had overdosed on barbiturates and alcohol and stabbed himself in the chest.

In Danny Boyle’s American TV drama, Trust, about the family, George is seen staggering away from a pool party at his Bel Air mansion, locking himself in the garage and stabbing himself with a barbecue fork.

According to J Paul biographer John Pearson, George had been taking drugs and on the night of his death had argued with his wife about his father, who George was said to be scared of.

Pearson wrote: “Their rows were almost always over Mr Getty.

“At the end of the row, he flipped. All the frustrations, hatreds, impotence and rage surfacing in one great wave of anger and he panicked.”

A month after his death, his nephew John Paul Getty III was kidnapped.

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine after his release in 1974, John Paul said he never thought his grandfather would cough up.

He explained: “Because of the way he is. Besides, I realised I would probably do the same thing.

"Because I don’t believe that somebody should work for 60 years to make his money then have some little criminal who’s too lazy to get a job take his money.”

It was five months before the Mafia released him. Afterwards, John Paul fell into drug addiction and suffered a stroke aged 25, leaving him paralysed in all four limbs, partially blind and unable to speak.

He died at the family’s estate, Wormsley Park, Bucks, in 2011, aged 54.

John Paul’s own son Balthazar, 45, became a musician and actor, appearing in TV series Twin Peaks.


What happened when J Paul Getty was kidnapped?

J Paul Getty III was kidnapped on 10th July 1973 at 3am in the Palazzo Farnese in Rome. Two days later, his mother Gail Harris received a ransom request for $17 million, along with a note.

Ten days later she received a phone call with instructions: “Get it from London,” the kidnappers reportedly told her. But this was easier said than done. Gail was divorced from her son’s father and had little sway with her stingy former father-in-law, Getty Sr.


STABBED HIMSELF IN THE CHEST

The latest death on Friday last week is part of the long and sorry saga of the Getty clan, which includes the 1973 Mafia kidnapping of a 16-year-old John Paul Getty III.

His grandad J Paul refused to pay the ransom of £12million (equivalent to £70million today) so the Mob cut off John Paul’s ear and sent it to a newspaper in Rome.

Renowned miser J Paul eventually coughed up, but only after the US government negotiated a ransom figure of about £1.6million, the maximum that would be tax deductible.

Even then, he ordered John Paul’s father John Paul Getty Jnr to repay him at four per cent interest.

The kidnapping was the subject of Ridley Scott’s 2017 movie All The Money In The World — and it seems even that film could not escape the Getty curse.

Actor Kevin Spacey was cast as J Paul, but had to be replaced after filming came to a close when sexual abuse allegations broke. His scenes were then re-shot, with Christopher Plummer taking over the role.

J Paul’s road to fortune began in 1903, aged 11, when his father George, a lawyer, moved the family to Oklahoma in the hope of striking it rich with oil.

And strike it rich they did. In 1914 George lent a 21-year-old J Paul 10,000 dollars to make his own investments. Within two years he had made his first million.

Thanks to shrewd early investments in oil-rich land between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, he was named the richest man in America in 1957.

The Guinness Book Of Records named him as the richest private citizen in the world in 1966, with wealth of approximately £6billion in today’s terms.

But the sheen was already coming off America’s golden family.

Dad George had fallen out with J Paul over the younger man’s womanising.

J Paul married and divorced five times in his life — with three of those coming in the 1920s alone. He had five sons in total.

In 1959, J Paul moved the family to the UK, buying Sutton Place, a 16th Century Tudor manor house in Surrey.

Visitors there could admire the Rembrandts and Renoirs on the walls, but had to use a payphone to make calls.

When J Paul’s youngest son, Timothy, by fifth wife Teddy Lynch, developed a brain tumour at six years old, J Paul moaned about the cost of the medical bills.

When ­Timothy died in 1958, aged 12, J Paul was “too busy” to go to the funeral. Soon after, he and Teddy divorced.

J Paul died at Sutton Place, aged 83, in 1976, surrounded by his mistresses and dogs, but not a single family member.

He left a large slice of his £4.2billion estate to the Getty Art Museum in Los Angeles.

Of J Paul’s four other sons, one died after a suspected suicide, one had a secret second family and another fell into drug and booze addiction.

The eldest, George F Getty II, chief operating officer of the family’s Getty Oil Company, died in 1973, aged 48.

An inquest in LA found he had overdosed on barbiturates and alcohol and stabbed himself in the chest.

In Danny Boyle’s American TV drama, Trust, about the family, George is seen staggering away from a pool party at his Bel Air mansion, locking himself in the garage and stabbing himself with a barbecue fork.

According to J Paul biographer John Pearson, George had been taking drugs and on the night of his death had argued with his wife about his father, who George was said to be scared of.

Pearson wrote: “Their rows were almost always over Mr Getty.

“At the end of the row, he flipped. All the frustrations, hatreds, impotence and rage surfacing in one great wave of anger and he panicked.”

A month after his death, his nephew John Paul Getty III was kidnapped.

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine after his release in 1974, John Paul said he never thought his grandfather would cough up.

He explained: “Because of the way he is. Besides, I realised I would probably do the same thing.

"Because I don’t believe that somebody should work for 60 years to make his money then have some little criminal who’s too lazy to get a job take his money.”

It was five months before the Mafia released him. Afterwards, John Paul fell into drug addiction and suffered a stroke aged 25, leaving him paralysed in all four limbs, partially blind and unable to speak.

He died at the family’s estate, Wormsley Park, Bucks, in 2011, aged 54.

John Paul’s own son Balthazar, 45, became a musician and actor, appearing in TV series Twin Peaks.


The Bizarre True Kidnapping Story Behind FX's New Drama Trust

Following the success of its American Crime Story anthology series, FX is once again turning to true crime for inspiration. On Sunday, March 25, the network will debut the new drama Trust, which chronicles the highs and lows of one of the wealthiest families in American history: the Gettys.

The first season, written by Simon Beaufoy and starring Donald Sutherland as billionaire J. Paul Getty Sr., follows the 1973 kidnapping of Getty's teenage grandson and the heir to the Getty Oil fortune, John Paul Getty III (the kidnapping was also the subject of the recent Ridley Scott film All the Money in the World). FX intends to tell the complicated story of the Getty family and the corrupting influences of money and power across multiple seasons and decades, but here's everything you need to know about the infamous kidnapping -- and the ransom no one wanted to pay -- covered in Trust's first season.

How did the kidnapping happen?

In the summer of 1973, Paul Getty (played by Harris Dickinson in the series), the long-haired teenage heir to the massive Getty Oil fortune, was living a bohemian lifestyle in Italy, where his father had, at one time, managed the Italian branch of the family business. He'd become something of a fringe celebrity thanks to his family name, and in the early morning hours of July 10, he was kidnapped by Italian gangsters in Rome.

Two days after Paul's kidnapping, his mother, Gail Harris (portrayed by Oscar winner Hilary Swank in the show), received a letter from his abductors, threatening to send along Paul's severed finger if the Getty family didn't pay a $17 million ransom. Police initially suspected Paul's kidnapping and the subsequent ransom demand to be a hoax or a ploy by Paul to con his grandfather out of his money he'd reportedly previously joked about the idea of staging a kidnapping with his friends.

Why did no one want to pay the ransom?

The frugality of Paul's grandfather, who was believed to be the richest man in the world at the time of the kidnapping thanks to his booming oil business, has been well documented. A Time article from the 1950s described Getty Sr.'s thriftiness:

His penny pinching has become a legend. He eats simply, dresses well but inexpensively, spends about $280 a week for personal needs. He once took a party of friends to a dog show in London. The admission fee was 5 shillings (70¢), but a sign over the entrance said: "Half price after 5 p.m." It was then twelve minutes to 5. Said Billionaire Getty: "Let's take a walk around the block for a few minutes."

Knowing this it should perhaps come as little surprise that Getty Sr. initially famously refused to pay the ransom. He said it likely would only encourage additional kidnappings. "I have 14 other grandchildren," he'd said, "and if I pay one penny now, then I'll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren."

Paul's father, John Paul Getty Jr., living in London by that time, claimed he could not afford to pay his son's ransom after a life of drug addiction and excessive spending left him without the means, and Paul's mother did not have access to that kind of cash as she was no longer married to Paul's father.

Harris Dickinson as John Paul Getty III, Trust

What happened when no one paid?

Three months after Paul was abducted -- he was held in the mountains of Calabria -- his captors sent to a local Italian newspaper a lock of his red hair and his severed right ear. A threatening note accompanied both items. "This is Paul's first ear," the note read. "If within ten days the family still believes that this is a joke mounted by him, then the other ear will arrive. In other words, he will arrive in little bits."

How did it finally end?

In the end, Paul's grandfather agreed to pay the ransom, which was negotiated down from $17 million to approximately $2.8 million -- but not without one final, painful twist. According to the book Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortune and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty, Getty Sr. handed over $2.2 million of his own money, which was the maximum amount said to be tax-deductible. But Paul's father, Getty Jr., had to pay the rest after borrowing it from Getty Sr., who said it was a loan to be repaid with 4 percent interest.

The ransom, paid in Italian lira, was delivered to the kidnappers by Getty Sr.'s security specialist, former C.I.A. operative James Fletcher Chace (played by Brendan Fraser). Paul was released in December 1973, five months after his abduction. He was found near an abandoned service station approximately 100 miles south of Naples. Most of the ransom money was never recovered, but nine men were arrested for the kidnapping. However, only two were convicted and sent to prison the others were acquitted for lack of evidence.

What happened after Paul was freed?

When Paul, who underwent reconstructive surgery on his ear, attempted to call his grandfather to thank him for paying the ransom, Getty Sr. famously declined to come to the phone. In the years that followed, Paul engaged in a reckless lifestyle, marrying a German photographer, with whom he had a son, actor Balthazar Getty, before divorcing. He eventually spiraled into a life of addiction, suffering a stroke in 1981 that left him confined to a wheelchair. He was cared for by his mother, and required around-the-clock nursing care, for which his father refused to help pay. Paul died in 2011 at the age of 54.

Trust premieres Sunday, March 25 at 10/9c on FX.


The personal life of J. Paul Getty

This success led to attention, and this attention – particularly of the female kind – and Getty married a grand total of three times during the 1920s alone. His father, from whom his business success had sprung, was greatly distressed by his son’s philandering nature, and left him just a fraction of his $10 million fortune upon his death. Not that it mattered – Getty was a multimillionaire in his own right by then, eclipsing even his father.

However, just before his death in 1930, Getty’s father George was quoted as saying that his son’s recklessness, fickleness and obsession with money would ultimately lead to the destruction of the company that they had built together. Yet shrewd investment and business skill saw the younger Getty flourish. He weathered the financial storm of the Great Depression admirably, and acquired oil companies from Tidewater Oil to the Pacific Western Oil Corporation – growing and growing his business until it spanned not just America, but the globe.


The kidnapping of John Paul Getty III

Playboys, mafiosos and severed appendages: the cautionary tale of John Paul Getty III.

A 1973 Italian postal strike meant that by the time the severed ear of John Paul Getty III reached a Roman newspaper it was putrid. ‘This is Paul's ear,’ the accompanying ransom note read. ‘If we don't get some money within ten days, then the other ear will arrive. In other words, he will arrive in little bits.’

It was more than six months before Getty eluded his captors. By the age of 24, he was paralysed, unable to speak and almost completely blind after a stroke brought on by a drug overdose. In 2011, aged 54, he breathed his last, bringing to an end the lamentable life of billionaire oil tycoon Jean Paul Getty's grandson.

This year marks 42 years since the kidnapping, and the saga of the doomed house of Getty. Was the family's obsession with wealth, image and power, the value placed on those things above all else, little more than a lurid tabloid tale from the past, or a real-life parable that modern counterparts have failed to learn from?

Getty's grandfather was, at the peak of his powers, the richest man in the world. His father, John Paul Getty II, had managed the family’s business interests in Italy. When he was abducted, the young Getty was living alone in Rome. Just 16, he enjoyed a bohemian existence. Expelled from a string of private schools, he kept company with artists and activists including the Rolling Stones and Andy Warhol. He spent his days selling dope and diamonds to the rich and famous, and most evenings in nightclubs. He was fond of drink and drugs, carried machine guns, totalled several cars and motorbikes and posed naked in a magazine. The very picture of a posh-boy rebel.

“I realised a car was stopping alongside me,” Getty later said to Charles Fox, author of Uncommon Youth: The Gilded Life and Tragic Times of J. Paul Getty III, a book on the saga. “These men were coming out of it. They grabbed me and wrestled me to the floor behind the front seats. There were three guys: two in the front, one in the back – I could feel his heels resting on me. I slept and we drove south for hours.

“I woke feeling like s***. So thirsty. I said: 'Water, water!' They would only give me whisky. I must have drunk a bottle and a half on the trip. I didn’t realise at all what was going on. I was just so f***ing drunk. I thought [they were] the cops. When I woke again, the car had stopped. It was getting light. Outside, I heard them talking. They blindfolded me. I was carried out. Feet and hands. They laid me on to the grass.”

A ransom of $18 million (AED 66 million) was asked in what would prove to be one of the most high-profile kidnapping cases in history. But Italian police were sceptical. Getty had spoken to friends about faking an abduction to extract money from his prodigiously tight grandfather – a man who famously insisted guests use a payphone heɽ installed in his Surrey mansion. “If I pay one penny now,” the eldest John Paul said, “I’ll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren.”

The oil baron was as miserly with his money as he was with his love. His son, also known as Big Paul, was, in turn, an absent and neglectful father. A heroin addict, living in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, he had greater affection for his collection of rare books than his teenage boy.

“Do you realise that if I have to pay the ransom,” Big Paul said to his mistress, “I’d have to sell my entire library for that useless son?”

Getty's mother, Gail Harris, no longer married or rich, took things more seriously. She received the original letter of ransom, handwritten by her son. But it was not until three months after his kidnapping, once his ear and a lock of his hair was mailed, along with a reduced ransom of $3 million, that the rest of his family followed suit.

As written in John Pearson's 1995 book Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortune and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty, John Paul Getty paid $2.2 million – the maximum his accountants said would be tax-deductible. The teenager's dad came up with the rest, money he borrowed from his father – at four per cent interest.

The negotiations

This came only after a succession of ludicrous inter-family negotiations – in which, among other things, the custody of children was used as a bargaining tool – and a letter was written to then US president Richard Nixon.

The beat-up boy, malnourished and missing an ear, was found half-dead in the driving rain at a petrol station on December 15, 1973. Of the nine men arrested for his kidnapping, only two were eventually convicted. The others, including a man believed to be the head of the Calabrian Mafia –the Ndrangheta – the brains behind the abduction, were acquitted due to lack of evidence. Just $85,000 of the $2.8 million ransom was recovered.

A ransom of $18 million (AED 66 million) was asked in what would prove to be one of the most high-profile kidnapping cases in history. But Italian police were sceptical. Getty had spoken to friends about faking an abduction to extract money from his prodigiously tight grandfather – a man who famously insisted guests use a payphone heɽ installed in his Surrey mansion. “If I pay one penny now,” the eldest John Paul said, “I’ll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren.”

The oil baron was as miserly with his money as he was with his love. His son, also known as Big Paul, was, in turn, an absent and neglectful father. A heroin addict, living in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, he had greater affection for his collection of rare books than his teenage boy.

Two minds

“Do you realise that if I have to pay the ransom,” Big Paul said to his mistress, “I’d have to sell my entire library for that useless son?”

Getty's mother, Gail Harris, no longer married or rich, took things more seriously. She received the original letter of ransom, handwritten by her son. But it was not until three months after his kidnapping, once his ear and a lock of his hair was mailed, along with a reduced ransom of $3 million, that the rest of his family followed suit.

As written in John Pearson's 1995 book Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortune and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty, John Paul Getty paid $2.2 million – the maximum his accountants said would be tax-deductible. The teenager's dad came up with the rest, money he borrowed from his father – at four per cent interest.

This came only after a succession of ludicrous inter-family negotiations – in which, among other things, the custody of children was used as a bargaining tool – and a letter was written to then US president Richard Nixon.

The beat-up boy, malnourished and missing an ear, was found half-dead in the driving rain at a petrol station on December 15, 1973. Of the nine men arrested for his kidnapping, only two were eventually convicted. The others, including a man believed to be the head of the Calabrian Mafia –the Ndrangheta – the brains behind the abduction, were acquitted due to lack of evidence. Just $85,000 of the $2.8 million ransom was recovered.


What All the Money in the World Gets Right (and Wrong) About the Getty Kidnapping

Left, Charlie Plummer as Paul Getty III in All the Money in the World Right, Paul Getty III being interviewed by the press following the arrest of the men responsible for kidnapping him. Left, courtesy of Sony Pictures Right, by Keystone/Getty Images.

For those unfamiliar with the 1973 Getty kidnapping, the plot of Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World may seem ludicrous: the richest man in the world refuses to pay his grandson’s ransom—a paltry sum in comparison to his vast oil fortune an Italian kidnapper is so disgusted by said action that he actually takes pity on his hostage, and finds himself reprimanding the hostage’s maddeningly slow-moving family members on their messed-up priorities a body part is savagely sliced off and popped into an envelope as proof of life.

Alas, the major events in All the Money in the World—written by David Scarpa, based on John Pearson’s 1995 book Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortune and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty—are rooted in truth. In fact, some of the scenes that unfold on-screen are even less dramatic than what happened in real life. Ahead, with help from screenwriter Scarpa, a thorough fact-checking.

The Kidnapping

In real life, 16-year-old Paul Getty had become somewhat of a fringe celebrity while living in Rome, thanks to his last name. The teenager—who had dropped out of formal schooling, dressed in bohemian clothing, and wore long, curly hair—had been nicknamed “the Golden Hippie” by the press.

As depicted in the film, Paul was walking alone to the apartment he shared with two artists in the early hours of July 10, 1973, when a car pulled up alongside him, and the driver asked, “Excuse me, signore. Are you Paul Getty?” When Paul responded affirmatively, he was pulled into the car, muzzled with a chloroform-soaked pad and gag, and driven south to a rural hideaway.

Because neither Paul nor his mother Gail had access to the Getty fortune, Paul had occasionally bartered his paintings for meals from a restaurant near his apartment. Gail suspected that someone working in the restaurant had revealed the teenager’s identity to the criminals who kidnapped Paul.

The Conditions

Paul was chained in several different hideaways, including a cave (which was not shown in the movie). His captors, who wore masks, gave Paul a radio to listen to, fed him, allowed him to bathe in a nearby stream, and told him that as long as he did what he was told he would not be hurt. The captors wrongly assumed that the kidnapping would be over quickly.

In real life, Paul never even saw the faces of his captors when he and his mother later attended the trial in Italy, he did not recognize the men accused of kidnapping him. Previously, Paul had spent a night in prison after a student demonstration, but he also did not have a history of starting fires—as is depicted in the film—and did not stage an escape.

The Kidnappers

After alerting Paul’s mother, Gail, that they had her son, the kidnappers waited another 10 days before making a follow-up call. They eventually made their demand for approximately $17 million in “a colorful, artistically-done collage of letters cut from magazines.”

The kidnappers also had Paul write a letter—with no clues about his location or his captors—warning his mother not to go to the police and urging her to pay as soon as possible. “Dear Mummy, Since Monday I have fallen into the hands of kidnappers. Don’t let me be killed,” Paul wrote. He added, “If you delay, it is very dangerous for me. I love you. Paul.”

Paul’s Father

Paul’s estranged father John drifted in and out of drug addiction from his home in England. He was not permitted back in Italy, due to complicated circumstances surrounding his second wife’s death, and was not emotionally strong enough to handle the crisis—retreating so much so that Gail found herself consoling him by phone. John refused to call Getty Sr. to ask for the ransom money, on the grounds that he was not on speaking terms with his father. Gail attempted to reach the eldest Getty herself instead.

Paul’s Grandfather

Paul’s grandfather, Getty, was a single-minded billionaire, who had spent his life accruing an oil fortune, all in an attempt to disprove his own father—who thought he would destroy the family business. Getty did not speak to John, whom he wrote off as a drug addict, and had tenuous relationships with his other sons, rotating them in and out of his will at whim. He lived an isolated life in his English manor house, Sutton Place, and had grown paranoid about his own safety, hiring a private security team. Notoriously cheap, Getty had also installed a coin-operated pay phone at his mansion for guests to use.

Scarpa points out that his grandson’s kidnapping coincided with “the oil crisis of 1973, when the price of oil skyrocketed to the point where Getty’s profits daily would’ve been enough to pay the ransom. Yet the wealthier he became, the more dependent he became on money, like an addict.” Getty was said to be worth approximately $2 billion at the time, a number not adjusted for inflation.

Though he had not seen his grandson often, Getty still disapproved of Paul, according to Pearson, because he was a hippie and because Getty “had heard enough about him to believe that he was like his father, and he wanted nothing to do with either until they changed their ways.”

For several months after the kidnapping, Getty believed that his grandson had staged the crisis to extort money from him. After realizing that his grandson had, in fact, been kidnapped by criminals, Getty still blamed the grandson—“for getting kidnapped in the first place, and thereby involving him, his grandfather, with the dreaded Mafia,” according to Pearson. “For the truth was that the old man had been terrified of kidnap even before Paul disappeared.”

Though Gail phoned Getty repeatedly, the billionaire would not pick up the phone or return her calls. He did, however, speak to press to explain why he would not pay the ransom: “I have 14 grandchildren, and if I pay a penny of ransom, I’ll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren.”

Like in the movie, Paul had one kidnapper—“Cinquanta”—who began to sympathize with his hostage. Tasked with making phone calls to Gail, Cinquanta could not wrap his mind around the idea that a man as rich as Getty refused to pay his grandson’s ransom.

“Who is this so-called grandfather?” Cinquanta told Gail during one phone call, according to Pearson. “How can he leave his own flesh and blood in the plight that your poor son is in? Here is the richest man in America, and you tell me he refuses to find just 10 miliardi for his grandson’s safety. Signora, you take me for a fool.”

Cinquanta pleaded with Gail to find the funds, giving her ample warning that the kidnappers would harm her son. When Gail asked for proof of life, Cinquanta asked her for questions that only Paul would know the answer to, collected Paul’s answers, and returned Gail’s call, proving that her son was still alive.

When Paul became very sick towards the end of the months-long kidnapping, Cinquanta called Gail to ask for advice on what to do to keep him healthy. She advised him to keep Paul warm.

The kidnapping took so unexpectedly long that some of the captors sold their stake in Paul—as though he were some kind of investment property. More aggressive businessmen, who were not as patient, bought out the stakes. They swiftly took away Paul’s radio, killed a bird the boy had befriended in captivity, played Russian roulette against Paul’s forehead, and eventually sliced off his ear.

Pearson writes that Paul first became suspicious that something terrible was going to take place when his kidnappers offered him brandy in the morning. (They had offered him alcohol in the past, to help keep him warm in the colder months, but never so early in the day.) The kidnappers then cut his hair, wiping alcohol behind his ears.

“They offered more brandy. He drank it. When they gave him a rolled up handkerchief to bite on, he bit it, And while he was still biting, he felt somebody behind him grab his right ear between a roughened thumb and finger and hold it tight. One swift stroke of a cutthroat razor [took off his] right ear.”

In real life, the kidnappers did not offer Paul chloroform or a doctor to do the surgery. In real life, Cinquanta told Gail that the kidnappers had cut off her son’s ear and were sending it to her as evidence that he was still alive. Gail studied pictures of her son—taking note of his ears—so that she could make sure that it belonged to Paul when it arrived, three weeks later (due to a postal strike), at a local newspaper office. Gail stoically marched into the office and identified the ear. (She was never asked to identify a body, as her character does in the movie.)

J. Fletcher Chase

Mark Wahlberg’s character in All the Money in the World is based on a real-life former C.I.A. spy whom Getty sent to Rome, five weeks after the kidnapping, to help Gail. The real Chase was an even more maddening figure. Pearson alleges that Chase—who was the only person Getty would speak to—began sleeping with a woman on the payroll of the paramilitary Carabinieri who fed his suspicion that the kidnapping was a hoax. While telling Getty not to pay the ransom, Chase slowly and singlehandedly followed dead-end leads—one of which took him to a remote town, where he was bilked out of $3,000. At one point, Chase nonsensically relocated Paul’s family to a safe house in London.

Paul’s Recovery

In the film, Gail is given almost comically-precise instructions about retrieving her son: she must drive a car with a suitcase on a roof rack a certain number of kilometers south of Naples where a man will throw gravel at her window, indicating her to stop. These were the real-life instructions that the kidnappers gave Gail . . . but at an earlier point in the saga, when they tried to encourage her to meet and negotiate in person. (She decided against meeting the kidnappers, only angering them more.)

Once the American government became involved, an ex-F.B.I. lawyer from the same small town the kidnappers hailed from—who worked in the U.S. Embassy in Rome—was able to make contact with the kidnappers and negotiate the ransom down to approximately $3.2 million.

It was Chase, the bumbling former C.I.A. spy, who drove alone with the ransom money to meet the kidnappers. The first attempt was a failure. The second time, he delivered the money—and, upon arriving at the pickup location, realized that Paul had fled the scene. Pearson alleges that Chase and Gail finally tracked down Paul at a local police station, though The New York Times reports that “he was found at an abandoned service station, shivering in a driving rainstorm”—five months after he had been kidnapped.

After Paul’s ear had been cut off, and after the boy had become seriously ill, Gail’s father, a judge, was able to convince Getty to pay the discounted ransom. Getty agreed to pay $2.2 million—the amount his lawyers told him was tax deductible. He lent the difference, about $1 million, to his son John, Paul’s father, on the condition he pay it back with 4 percent interest computed annually.

These negotiations took place by phone there was no dramatic boardroom meeting, as depicted in All the Money in the World. Gail was, however, led to believe that she had to surrender custody of her children to their drug-addict father as a condition of receiving the ransom. Pearson writes that Gail, out of desperation to get Paul back, was prepared to take her children to the airport, only to discover that John did not actually want custody of the children. (Pearson does not say whether Getty was behind this bogus condition.)

Why Did It Take So Long?

Myriad factors—including the fact that the Italian police, according to Pearson, “are rarely over-sympathetic to what they see as rich, indulgent foreigners living in their midst.” Additionally, the police, and Getty himself, suspected that the kidnapping was a hoax concocted by Paul to extort money from his grandfather, so they did not take the investigation seriously for months. Gail did not have the money to pay the ransom and, given the sexism of the era and the fact that she was not in a position of power, according to All the Money in the World screenwriter Scarpa, she was left helpless.

“Interestingly, the F.B.I. agent I spoke to while researching, who worked on the case, was actually sympathetic to Getty,” said Scarpa. “At the time this was very much a man’s world. So the men, be it Getty or Chase, felt that this was no place for a woman. Today we would assume, if a woman’s child got kidnapped, she would be in charge in a sense. Yet at the time, the attitude was, ‘Well, you can’t possibly involve a woman in all this business, right?’”

It was only after the severed ear made its way to an Italian newspaper office that Italian authorities began to take the case seriously. Despite the many phone calls Gail made, it was her father who was ultimately able to get through to Getty and convince him to pay the ransom—but only part.

The Aftermath

After the kidnapping, Gail convinced Paul to call his grandfather and thank him for paying the ransom money. Famously, Getty refused to come to the phone.

Paul went on to marry a friend from before the kidnapping, Martine Zacher, two years later, when he was 18 years old—so young that he disqualified himself from a stake in his grandfather’s trust. He and his wife had one son, Balthazar Getty (who would grow up to become an actor). When Getty died in 1976, he left his son John $500, and his grandson, who had been kidnapped, nothing.

As he struggled to adjust to life after the kidnapping, Paul became an alcoholic and drug addict. Eight years after the tragic ordeal, as he was attempting to make a career for himself acting, he suffered liver failure and a stroke that left him severely handicapped physically—partially blind, a quadriplegic, and unable to speak—but mentally intact. He and Gail, unable to pay his monthly medical costs, sued John.

“His mother basically cared for him until he died, so he was very close to his mother. He was the center of her life for over 40 years,” said Scarpa.

Paul died in 2011 at the age of 54. Upon his death, Paul’s son Balthazar said, “He taught us how to live our lives and overcome obstacles and extreme adversity, and we shall miss him dearly.”


John Gilbert Getty dead: Heir to Getty family $5bn fortune dies aged 52

John Gilbert Getty, one of the heirs to the Getty family's estimated $5 billion fortune, has died aged 52, a family spokesperson said.

Gilbert Getty, grandson of the billionaire oil tycoon J Paul Getty, was found unresponsive at a hotel room in San Antonio, Texas on Friday.

The circumstances surrounding his death are unclear and an autopsy has not yet taken place. Foul play is not suspected.

"With a heavy heart, Gordon Getty announces the death of his son, John Gilbert Getty," a spokesperson for his father said in a statement.

"John leaves behind his daughter, Ivy Getty, whom he loved beyond measure, and his brothers Peter and Billy.

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"His brother, Andrew, predeceased John. John’s mother, Ann Gilbert Getty, passed this September.

“John was a talented musician who loved rock and roll. He will be deeply missed.”

The Gettys, once one of the richest families in America, have faced a number of tragic deaths of family members.

John Gilbert Getty’s brother Andrew was found dead at his Los Angeles home in 2015.

The Los Angeles County coroner's office found that he died from intestinal bleeding and had methamphetamine in his system.

The siblings' mother Ann Getty died from a heart attack at her San Francisco home this past September.

John Gilbert Getty was the cousin of J Paul Getty III, who was kidnapped as a teenager in 1973. A drug overdose caused him to have a life-changing stroke in 1981 and he died in 2011 aged 54.

John Gilbert Getty's sister-in-law Talitha Pol died following a heroin overdose in 1971, People reported.

“My father was awesome - coolest man to ever land on this planet and I will forever be the proudest daughter," John Gilbert Getty's daughter Ivy said in a tribute.

“Love you so much Dad. life is cruel sometimes. I have not one, but two guardian angels watching over me now. here are some of my favorite pictures of him (and selfishly a couple of us).”



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