|Birth: ||Nov. 4, 1956|
|Death: ||Feb. 6, 2011|
Scion of Getty Oil dynasty. John Paul Getty III was a great-grandson of George Franklin Getty, who was the founder of the Minnehoma Oil Company; a grandson of Jean Paul Getty, who grew the Getty family oil holdings into Getty Oil Company and became one of the world's first billionaires; and a son of John Paul Getty, Jr., and former water polo champion Gail Harris. He was also the father of actor Balthazar Getty. Known as "Paul," young J. Paul Getty III spent much of his childhood in Rome, Italy. On July 10, 1973, sixteen-year-old Paul was kidnapped from a Rome piazza. At first, his grandfather and father believed the kidnapping was a hoax. His grandfather, a notorious miser who installed a pay phone in his mansion, thought it was just a scheme to cash into his inheritance early. Eventually, J. Paul Getty, Sr., told reporters that he had fourteen grandchildren, and if he paid one penny of ransom, he would have fourteen kidnapped grandchildren. So four months into the kidnapping, a package was delivered containing a lock of Paul Getty's red hair and a severed human ear. Soon, the kidnappers sent photos of Paul with his ear cut off, along with a message saying that if they did not get money, his other ear would arrive, and he would be returned in little bits. The grandfather then agreed to pay the ransom, but required that he be repaid, plus four percent interest. He also reportedly negotiated the kidnappers down from $3.2 million to $2.9 million. Paul Getty III was released on his grandfather's 81st birthday on December 15, 1973. However, when he telephoned his grandfather to try to thank him, the grandfather reportedly refused to come to the phone. A year later at the age of eighteen, Getty III married twenty-four year-old German actress Gisela-Martina Schmidt Zacher. To this union, actor Paul Balthazar Getty was born. However, J. Paul Getty, Sr., disapproved of his grandson marrying so young, and disinherited him. Getty III went through a series of operations to reconstruct his ear, and tried to put his life back together. However, he became addicted to alcohol and drugs, which caused a near-fatal stroke in 1981. The stroke left him nearly blind and paralyzed. Although he worked at his rehabilitation, and was even able to ski again with a specialized device, he was in poor health the rest of his life.
J. Paul Getty (1932 - 2003)
Maintained by: Anne S
Originally Created by: Steven Tynan
Record added: Feb 07, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 65340040