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J Paul Getty Jnr's Biography

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Philanthropist J Paul Getty Jnr was born on 7 September 1932 in California, into a dynasty of oil tycoons. His father was reputedly the richest man in the world.

Whereas J Paul Getty Snr was known for his meanness - he fitted payphones in the guest rooms of his stately home - J Paul Getty Jnr gained a deserved reputation as a philanthropist. He once said: "I simply had no use of an income of over £100 million a year".

His early days were relatively unremarkable. J.Paul Getty Jnr studied at San Francisco University, served in the US Army in Korea, and then joined the family oil business in Italy.

However, J Paul Getty Jnr drank heavily and started experimenting with hard drugs and in 1971 tragedy struck when his second wife, Talitha Pol, grand-daughter of the artist Augustus John, died of a heroin overdose.

Two years later his eldest son, J Paul Getty III was kidnapped by Calabrian terrorists, who demanded a ransom of more than $3m.

The kidnappers cut off Paul's ear, his grandfather initially having refused to pay the ransom, and sent it to the family.

The money was eventually transferred and the boy was released but, later, in 1981, he suffered a stroke brought on from drink and drug abuse, which left him paralysed and virtually blind.

J Paul Getty Jnr had moved to London, where he lived as a recluse, and started using his vast wealth for the benefit of his adopted country.

In 10 years from 1984 he gave away £140m, including £50m to the National Gallery. Another notable donation was £100,000 to the striking miners in 1984.

Getty also famously developed a love of cricket and gave a multi-million pound gift to Lords cricket ground to build the new Mound Stand.

J Paul Getty Jnr was awarded an honorary knighthood from the Queen in 1986. In 1994 he married for the third time, to Victoria Holdsworth.

In April 2003, J Paul Getty II died.

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