J. Paul Getty

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Minneapolis, Minnesota
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People remember Jean Paul Getty as the first billionaire and independent oil producer in the world. George Getty was an oil merchant, and his son, Jean, went into business at a young age. As a low-skilled worker at his father’s oil company, he learned the tricks of the trade. He started his own business right away, and in just two years, he made a million dollars. But he didn’t stay in the oil business. Instead, he went into self-exile for two years and worked as a playboy in Los Angeles. In 1919, he went back to the oil business. In the 1920s, he worked hard to turn his father’s business into an oil company that could drill, transport, and sell oil on its own. Because he was smart about business and willing to take risks, he was able to double his personal wealth and grow the company to reach more people. Because he was so good at business, Getty Oil Corporation bought 200 oil companies from all over the world. In 1957, Fortune magazine said he was the richest American still alive. Nine years later, he got himself into the Guinness Book of World Records by becoming the world’s richest private citizen, worth an estimated $1.2 billion. Even though he made a lot of money and had a lot of it, he was stingy and didn’t do anything to help others.

Early years and childhood

Sarah Catherine McPherson Risher and George Getty had a son named Jean Paul Getty. He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His father was a lawyer before he went into the oil business in 1903.

The family quit the oil business in 1905 and moved to Los Angeles, California. Before going to Polytechnic High School, young Getty went to a private school. In 1909, he got a degree from the same school.

Then, he got into the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and the University of California at Berkeley. In 1912, he moved to England to study political science and economics at Oxford University. In 1914, he got a degree from the same school.

During college, he spent the summers as an unskilled worker in his father’s oil fields in Oklahoma. During his time there, he learned how things worked in the business world.

J. Paul Getty’s Career

In 1914, he moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to get started making oil. For the same reason, he borrowed money from his father. But he didn’t work for his father’s company, the Minnesota Oil Company.

He started buying and selling oil leases with the money his father gave him. He paid $500 for an oil lease in Tulsa. Even though his competitors thought it was a bad idea, he made a huge amount of money from the business.

By 1916, he had made his first million dollars from the Nancy Taylor No. 1 Oil Well Site near Haskell, Oklahoma. Even though he was very successful in the oil business, he quit that job the next year to become a playboy in Los Angeles.

The break in his career didn’t last long. In 1919, he went back to work in the oil business. But by then, his father no longer had any respect or admiration for him.
The majority of the 1920s were spent with him working closely with his father. Both of them dug oil wells and bought and sold oil leases. He took care of the work in California himself.

He worked hard for many years to build up a three-million-dollar fortune. He also bought a third share of the Getty Oil Company. When his father died in 1930, he got only $500,000 of the $10 million that the senior Getty had left behind. He was also given the position of president of the company.

In his new job, he worked hard and made smart decisions about how to spend his money. He changed the way the company was set up so that it could drill for, refine, transport, and sell oil on its own. Then, he started buying big companies, first the Pacific West Oil Corporation and then the Mission Corporation.

In 1949, he took a chance on Ibn Saud and a piece of empty land near the border of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. He paid Ibn Saud $9.5 million in cash and $1 million a year for a 60-year concession. For four years, no oil was found.

But the company’s luck changed when, in 1953, the land started making 16,000,000 barrels of oil a year. This made the company’s finances much better.

At the end of the 1950s, he also owned the Skelly Oil and the Tidewater Oil. In 1967, the companies merged so that they could work as one unit under Getty Oil Company. This made the company more profitable. His own wealth went from millions to billions as well.

He learned Arabic so that he could grow in the Middle East. His business kept growing, which gave him a controlling stake in over 200 companies, including Getty Oil Corporation. From $2 billion to $4 billion, his own wealth doubled.
He not only worked in the oil business but also in the hotel business. He did well with a number of hotel-related real estate investments, including the Pierre Hotel in New York City.

In 1959, he bought the Sutton Place, which had 72 rooms and was spread out over 1500 acres. The Duke of Sutherland used to live in the country house that is now the center of Getty Oil and his other companies.

Aside from business, he was a big fan of buying art. In 1953, he set up what is now called the J. Paul Getty Trust. The trust runs the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, has a collection of art worth $2.7 billion and is home to some of the world’s most beautiful pieces.

Personal History and Legacies

During his life, he got married five times. The first one was in 1923 with Jeanette Demont. The next year, they were lucky enough to have a boy. The couple legally split up only three years after they got married.

He tied the knot with Allene Ashby in 1926. The marriage didn’t last long, and in 1928, the two broke up. He got married to Adolphine Helmle the same year and had a son with her. In 1932, there were problems in the marriage.
Ann Rork was his fourth wife, and they got married in 1932. They were lucky enough to have two sons. But, like his other marriages, this one didn’t last long either. It ended in 1936.

Louise Dudley Teddy Lynch was the last person he married. They got married in 1939, but they split up in 1958. They had a son who died in the same year that they got a divorce.

He lived in the British Isles for the rest of his life. He died on June 6, 1976, because his heart gave out.

Estimated Net worth

At the time of his death in 1976, American businessman Jean Paul Getty was worth $2 billion. J. Paul Getty built up his wealth by starting the Getty Oil Company. Getty was born into the oil business that his father, George Getty, ran, but he became famous as one of the first people in the world to make over $1 billion.

In 1957, J. Paul was named the richest living American. By 1966, he was named the world’s richest private citizen, with an estimated net worth of $1.2 billion.


This billionaire and owner of an Oil Corporation was a real cheapskate who spent very little money. When his grandson was taken, he didn’t want to spend money and instead tried to negotiate for the ransom.