Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March 27, 1961: Cheapskate billionaire John Paul Getty

                                       A billion dollars doesn't mean so much to me any more, either. I'm far too rich.

1961 Cheapskate billionaire oil-man, John Paul Getty, installed a pay-phone in his own home in Guildford, England, for the use of his guests.

Getty, however miserly he might have been with his friends, was the philanthropist who gave a fortune for the establishment of the famous Getty Museum. He is also notable for defiance (or was it stinginess?) following the kidnapping in Rome on July 10, 1973 of his grandson, J Paul Getty III. When the kidnappers demanded a ransom, Getty bluntly refused, "on principle". (A deal was finally negotiated and Grandpa Getty had to shell out $2 million and Getty III was found alive on December 15, 1973, grandpa's 81st birthday.)
In 1957, Fortune magazine first suggested that Getty was probably the world's richest private citizen, and thus a journalist inquired of him what the total Getty fortune would realize if he liquidated all his assets. "I would hope to realize several billions," Getty said. "But, remember, a billion dollars isn't worth what it used to be."


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