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The Getty family was once America’s richest, with a fortune that comes from J. Paul Getty’s successful oil business. With about $5.4 billion of wealth to their name, the Gettys have chosen to mostly forge their own futures after the sale of Getty Oil to Texaco, but their path here has been lined with a fractured family and multiple tragedies.
Jean Paul Getty started out as a wildcatter, but he quickly struck up a deal in Saudi Arabia that had him on top of the oil market. He spent his money on a lavish home, Sutton Place, and a luxury life full of parties. But he was also stingy and made his guests use a payphone at his home when they wanted to make calls. He also nearly refused to pay a ransom for his grandson and chose to leave his company to only one of his sons when he passed away. But despite his flaws, you can’t deny that the Getty family fortune, which encompasses everything from Getty Oil to Getty Images and the J. Paul Getty Museum managed to find enormous success. This led to things like rebellious sons partying it up with the Rolling Stones and Getty becoming increasingly paranoid about his money and safety in his old age– but it definitely makes for an interesting story. Here’s the life of J. Paul Getty and how he made his fortune, as well as all the highs and lows that come with becoming America’s wealthiest man.
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