The strange curse that haunts the Getty Villa – and family
Some people have all the luck and some people have no luck at all. The Getty family certainly fits into the latter category. They may be as rich as kings from over a century of building wealth from oil profits but one thing is for sure: many of the Getty line have met a sticky end.
The word “curse” has been thrown around in relation to the family’s misfortunes. While the Gettys are not quite pharaohs of ancient Egypt, it’s strange that death & destruction seem to haunt their every step. Whether it’s bad luck or bad karma, we’ll leave you to decide if you believe in the curse of the Getty family.
On March 31, 2015, Andrew Getty, grandson of the oil baron, John Paul Getty, was found dead in his Beverly Hills home. Andrew was discovered by his ex-girlfriend, naked from the waist down and surrounded by a pool of blood. It may look as though foul play was involved but the Los Angeles County coroner chalked the cause of death up to heart disease and heavy drug use.
The Gettys’ history with drug abuse did not begin with Andrew, as his uncle, George Getty, died of an overdose in 1973. George was the oldest of John Paul Getty’s five sons all of which were born to different mothers. John Paul’s youngest son, Timothy, also died tragically at six-years-old from a brain tumor.
The third son of John Paul Getty, John Paul Jr., was a party boy in his own right. He went to live in Morocco where he and his second wife, actress Talitha Pol, indulged in wild, lavish parties. In 1971, Talitha died of a heroin overdose and John Paul Jr. moved his family to England.
In 1973, while in Rome, John Paul Getty III, oldest son of John Paul Jr., was kidnapped by mobsters. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of £11.5 million but John Paul Jr., unable to pay the sum, was forced to turn to his father for help. John Paul was notoriously frugal and refused to pay. It wasn’t until a local Roman newspaper received John Paul III’s ear in the mail that John Paul offered £2.1 million for his grandson.
After he was returned to his family, John Paul III went right back to his wild lifestyle. He married German model, Martine Zacher and the two adopted a Bohemian way of life, falling in with Andy Warhol’s art crowd in New York. In 1981, John Paul III suffered a stroke after ingesting a cocktail of drugs & alcohol. He remained permanently disabled until his death at age fifty-four.
John Paul Jr. finally managed to kick his drug habit by checking into a London clinic in 1984. He turned his life around, giving generously to many British institutions. Before his death in 2006, John Paul Jr. became a British citizen and even received a knighthood.
Andrew Getty’s death in 2015 was the most recent in the family’s history. The irony of the incident was that Andrew was the son of Gordon Getty, known as the most stable & responsible of John Paul’s sons. (Though he had his own problems with extramarital affairs.)
After years of relative peace among the members of the family, it almost appeared as though their troubles were behind them. The shock of Andrew’s untimely death once more stirred up unrest and left us all asking one question: when will the Getty curse strike again?
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