Oil and Art Fortune Heir Andrew Getty Found Dead in Home, Age 47

Per one report, the death is being handled "under suspicious circumstances."

Andrew Getty.
Andrew Getty. Photo: via Facebook.
Screen shot of ABC news report about Andrew Getty's death.

Screen shot of ABC news report about Andrew Getty’s death.

Andrew Getty, grandson to J. Paul Getty, the oil baron and storied art and antiquities collector who founded Los Angeles’s Getty Museum, was found dead yesterday afternoon in his Hollywood Hills home.

Initial reports from authorities and family members indicate that Getty likely died as the result of an accident or natural causes. “This does not appear immediately to be a criminal act,” Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson Andrew Smith told the Los Angeles Times.

Andrew Getty.

Andrew Getty.
Photo: via Facebook.

But other reports vary. TMZ reports that according to the police, the death is being handled “under suspicious circumstances.” Getty was discovered naked from the waist down in the bathroom, with blunt force trauma injuries, which TMZ indicates were to the rectal area.

Medication was found at the scene, and the coroner will perform toxicology tests on the body, the results of which might not be available for up to 10 weeks.

An officer stands outside the home of Andrew Getty in the Hollywood Hills. Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP Photo.

An officer stands outside the home of Andrew Getty in the Hollywood Hills.
Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu, courtesy AP Photo.

“The tentative information that we do have is that he was not feeling good for the last couple months,” Los Angeles County coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter told the New York Times, “and he supposedly had an appointment tomorrow with a personal physician.”

Though Andrew Getty does not appear to have shared his grandfather’s passion for art, the Getty Museum continues to be a major force in the international art world, conserving major works of art (see Caravaggio and Rubens Paintings Get Getty Restoration Grants and The Legend of Jackson Pollock’s Peggy Guggenheim “All-Nighter”) and significant historical and cultural sites such as the Mogao Grottoes in China (see The Getty Helps Save China’s Mogao Grottoes from Tourists) and examples of modernist architecture around the world (see Getty Foundation Will Rescue Modern Architecture Gems).

J.Paul Getty in 1964 at his Surrey, UK, manor, Sutton Place, in front of Peter Paul Rubens's Diana and Her Nymphs on the Hunt (1627–28). Photo: Ronny Jaques for Town and Country, courtesy the Julius Shulman Photography Archive and the Getty Research Institute.

J.Paul Getty in 1964 at his Surrey, UK, manor, Sutton Place, in front of Peter Paul Rubens’s Diana and Her Nymphs on the Hunt (1627–28).
Photo: Ronny Jaques for Town and Country, courtesy the Julius Shulman Photography Archive and the Getty Research Institute.

Police are questioning a woman, identified by TMZ as Getty’s ex-girlfriend, who was present at the home and alerted the police about his death. Law enforcement have assured the press that they do not suspect that she was involved in Getty’s death.

Nevertheless, Getty had taken measures to get a restraining order against a woman in the last two weeks. TMZ reports that the ex-girlfriend was the target, and that the couple has been visited by the LAPD on 31 different occasions, mainly for domestic disturbances.

Getty’s parents, Ann and Gordon Getty, issued a statement confirming his death and requesting privacy during an “extremely difficult time.”

Andrew Getty with his father Gordon at J. Paul Getty's memorial service in 1976.

Andrew Getty with his father Gordon at J. Paul Getty’s memorial service in 1976.

This is only the latest in a string of misfortunes to befall the family of industrialist J. Paul Getty, who died at 83 in 1976. One of his sons died at age 12 from a brain tumor in 1958, and another committed suicide in 1973.

His grandson J. Paul Getty III, was kidnapped that same year, and held for five months before being released in exchange for $2.2 million. He later suffered from substance abuse, the results of which left him in a wheelchair for the last 30 years of his life, before he died in 2011 at age 54.

For other artnet News coverage of major art collecting families see:

HBO True-Crime Expose of Robert Durst Reveals Family’s Art World Connections

World’s Biggest Art Collector Sheikh Saud bin Mohammed Al-Thani Dies at Age 48


Follow Artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share

Article topics