Former richest man in the world complained about paying for his dying son's hospital bills

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The controversial life of American oil tycoon Jean Paul (J. Paul) Getty is the subject of a new movie directed by Ridley Scott.

All the Money in the World is one of the front-runners in this year's awards season but Getty's notoriously tight relationship with his money remains more disturbing than any movie could interpret.

By 1966, Getty was the richest man in the world and was worth $1.2 billion, the equivalent of £6.7b in today's money.

He made his fortune through the Getty Oil Company but he rarely shared his money with his family.

The most tragic aspect of his frugality was the unfortunate effect it had on his son Timmy, who went blind after contracting a brain tumour in 1952.

Timmy died when he was just 12-years-old but his father hadn't seen him for four years and refused to attend his funeral.

Getty's former wife and Timmy's mother, Teddy Getty Gaston, wrote in her memoir about how much her son idolised his distant father.

The Mirror quotes her as saying:

He was full of love for his dad. 

He never knew he was the richest man in the world. He’d heard it but he’d say, ‘That’s what the world sees.

I see him as my own darling daddy, whom I love’. How he missed Paul.

Sometimes I sat ­quietly beside him while he seemed to be ­thinking and he’d suddenly say, ‘When will he come home? I wish I had a daddy like other boys have.

Do you think he really loves me? I wish I could talk to him

Not only was Getty absent in his son's life he also failed to show compassion for him when he fell ill and moaned about having to foot his hospital bills.

Whilst, Timmy was in hospital Getty remained in England for the entire time as he was negotiating a huge deal with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which would see him become America's first billionaire.

As his son lay in pain in a hospital bed, Getty not only failed to visit but also phoned doctors to complain about the bills.

He was due to visit his son in 1952 but failed to board the Queen Mary cruise liner which was supposed to bring him back to the United States.

Getty kept this information from his family and later that year wrote a cruel letter to Teddy about their son.

I hope Timmy can keep away from doctors, except for a $10 visit.

I don’t think doctors can do much for him now, except for a check-up, and that shouldn’t be more than $25 unless the doctors charge on the ability to pay and not on a tariff and I avoid such doctors.

He also told her that the pony that had been purchased for Timmy must be paid for by herself.

This stubbornness and his general ignorance towards his son and family led to the couple's divorce in 1958.

Teddy later wrote about their separation and how he tried to cling on to the relationship.

I always wondered why Paul had never come back to see Timmy.

It had killed me inside, it was what made me divorce him.

After Timmy’s death, Paul had said, ‘Don’t leave me, stay married to me, and you can be richer than the Queen of England’.

I said no. I was too hurt.

Getty died in June 1976.

Teddy went on to marry her friend William Gaston and died at the age of 103.

HT Mirror

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