(SL) – It’s truly riveting. The story of a teenager kidnapped and held for ransom in 1973. But this wasn’t just any teenager. It was John Paul Getty III. At the time his Grandfather, John Paul Getty Sr. was the richest private citizen in the world.
An oil magnate and billionaire, one would think that when that day of July 10th, 1973 came and it was revealed that his 16-year old grandson was being held in the company of the mafia that rescuing him wouldn’t be a second thought.
But it was. And that thought would carry on for five months. All The Money In The World explores the true story of John Paul Getty III who grew up in Italy where his father, John Paul Getty Jnr, was working for the family oil business. John Paul Getty had made a fortune in the oil business and by 1966 was a certified billionaire.
But when Getty Jr. developed a drug addiction, Getty Sr. cut him and his children off.
Getty Jr moved to England while Getty III stayed in Rome where he reportedly sold paintings and trinkets to make a living.
In July 1973, he was kidnapped by a group of men who demanded $17 million dollars from the Getty family for his safe return.
Getty III’s grandfather refused to pay it. Getty Jr, still battling drug addiction, was unable to deal with his son’s kidnapping leaving his mother Gail Harris to negotiate. Michell Williams plays Harris in the movie. Charlie Plummer plays Getty III. When Harris contacted Getty Sr. for help he was reluctant to help saying instead of having one kidnapped grandchild he would then have 14.
In spite of receiving threatening letters from his grandson’s kidnappers detailing what body parts they would cut off if the ransom wasn’t received, to everyone’s shock including the kidnappers Getty Sr. wouldn’t send a dime.
Four months into the ordeal, the Italian mobsters cut off one of Getty III’s ears and sent it to his family. Soon after, Getty Sr. agreed to send 2.2 million but his son Getty Jr. had to pay it back with a 4% interest rate.
Getty Sr’s icy actions didn’t stop there. It’s rumored that he refuse to take his grandson’s call when he tried to thank him for saving his life. Getty III never really got over the ordeal. He married a childhood friend shortly after his release and became a father at the age of 18. His son is actor Balthazar Getty.
Marriage and family still wasn’t enough, Getty III developed a drug and alcohol addiction of his own that led to an overdose that caused liver failure and a stroke. He was a quadriplegic, partially blind and unable to speak. He spent the rest of his life nursed round-the-clock by his mother and a team of caregivers.
He died in 2011 at age 54.