The subject of this article is a person who may be the most avaricious billionaire ever. He was widely known for his heartless refusal to pay ransom after his grandson was kidnapped—as well as for his decision to put payphones for the guests at his mansion to use.
This person’s name is J Paul Getty. He was the richest man in the entire world and he was worth $1.2 billion back in 1966, which is worth roughly five times more in today’s money.
When the Mafia managed to kidnap John Paul Getty III, his 16-year old grandson, the stingy businessman decided that the whole thing was simply a fraud, designed by his grandson to get a chunk of his grandpa’s money.
The Italian gangsters who abducted the boy decided to cut off one his ears, after which they mailed it to his grandfather. You will be able to see the whole story in the upcoming movie All the Money in the World, which will be premiere in a few days. Getty’s character was supposed to be portrayed by Kevin Spacey, but he was replaced by the 88-year-old legend Christopher Plummer, who managed to record all of the featured scenes in just nine days.
If you think that the aforementioned unpaid ransom epitomizes Getty’s personality, you are just seeing the tip of the iceberg. The fact that he put money above anything, even his family, was best shown in the situation with his terminally sick son.
The story of his son Timmy is actually the one that likely reflects J Paul Getty the best. Timmy was born by Getty’s fifth and last wife Teddy, who died in April 2017 at the age of 103. Teddy Getty Gaston was a singer, and in her memoirs she revealed just how big of a scrooge her husband was. Getty Sr. allegedly did not like the fact that he had to pay the medical expenses for his own child after the boy’s brain tumor caused him to go blind.
Timmy was fighting for his life, and during that time he was not visited by his father a single time in four years.
The heartless man attended neither Timmy’s birth, nor his funeral. When the boy passed away at the early age of 12, his father simply sent a note, saying that he was sorry for being so busy.
Despite everything, the boy loved his father. Teddy’s book, entitled Alone Together, reveals and details Timmy’s affection for his dad during his last days.
She wrote that Timmy was not aware that he was the son of the world’s richest man. He heard people saying it, but to him he was just the father he loved, and he missed him very much.
Sometimes, as the boy was sitting quietly, he would ask his mother if his daddy really loved him. It seems that Timmy wanted a normal father and son relationship like those that exist in many other families.
The one thing Teddy did not forgive her husband for was that he did not visit Timmy even once during his illness, and that was the reason she divorced him in 1958. She wrote him numerous letters, begging him to come at least once to bring some comfort to their son, but Getty never returned. Four years prior to their divorce, she wrote to him and said that she realized he had no concern for her or their son.
In 1958, Getty was extremely busy sealing the deal to receive oil rights in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which was surely going to make him the first American billionaire.
Getty did not only fail to return to his American home. It was even worse – he constantly promised to visit his son after every operation in the hospitals of New York. He did not do so, but he did find time to complain about the expensive medical bills on the phone, and he did so while Timmy was in excruciating pain in the next room.
That was the time Teddy felt completely alone—it was the hardest time of her marriage. She and Timmy needed Getty.
When the boy was diagnosed with the brain tumor in 1952, most of the family members gathered to wait for him upon the Queen Mary’s arrival in New York. Getty had promised to cross the Atlantic, but there was no sign of him; they soon learned from the ship’s captain that he never went on board, and he did not even bother to tell his family about the change in his plans.
After a couple of days, Timmy needed to undergo one of many operations he went through. Later the same year, his father wrote a letter, saying that it was better for his son to stay away from doctors, except for an occasional routine visit, which should cost no more than 10 dollars. When Teddy bought a pony for her son to comfort him, Getty said that he was not going to pay for it.
Teddy probably knew just how stingy her husband was since the beginning. When they first met in 1935, she was attending an opera singing class. Getty said that he would pay the bill, but only if she would return to him 10% of all earnings she would make with opera singing.
When Getty decided to move 3,500 miles away in Surrey, he gave Teddy a big set of diamond jewelry, and just when she thought he was finally being romantic, he made her promise that if she was to divorce him some day, she would return them.
She did end up divorcing her husband, but she never returned the jewels.
In her memoirs, Teddy wrote that she could not figure out why her husband never visited their son, and she revealed that his decision not to do so killed her inside. When Timmy passed away, Getty begged her to stay and that he would make her richer than any other woman, but she was far too hurt to continue to be his wife.
Fifteen years after the tragedy, Getty proved that he was still the same man and nothing had changed.
After the abduction of his grandson in 1973, he agreed to pay a part of the money the kidnappers asked for, but it did not happen before his accountant team assured him that the money he would pay was deductible from his taxes.
The ransom was paid more than five months after the boy’s ear was cut off.
The story of the kidnapping was major news across the world in the 70s. Getty’s family members could never forgive him for being the scrooge he was. Teddy eventually married William Gaston, and their daughter Louise Gigi Gaston is now a movie director working in LA. Last year Gigi shared in a social media message that her mother died in her arms.
It seems that Teddy was the complete opposite of her ex-husband—family was everything to her.
H/T – Source