Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
J. Paul Getty
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota into a family already in the petroleum business, he was one of the first people in the world with a fortune of over $1 billion U.S. dollars. He was an avid collector of art and antiquities, and his collection forms the basis of the J. Paul Getty Museum in California.
He enrolled at the University of Southern California, then at the Berkeley before graduating in 1914 at Oxford with degrees in economics and political science. He worked during the summers on his father's oil fields in Oklahoma. Running his own oil company in Tulsa, he made his first million by 1916. However, in 1917, he announced that he was retiring to become a Los Angeles-based playboy. (He married five times.) Although he eventually returned to business, Getty had lost his father's respect. Just before George Franklin Getty died in 1929, he believed that Jean Paul would destroy the family company, and told him so.
Despite his vast wealth, he was notoriously tight-fisted: he had pay phones installed in his home, saved bits of string until he had enough to tie up a parcel, and washed his own underwear. In 1973, his grandson, J. Paul III, was kidnapped. Getty refused to pay the ransom until he was sent the boy's severed right ear.
- How to be Rich, a collection of Getty's essays.
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