Monday, January 22, 2018


It was June of 1955, when J. Paul Getty's wife, Teddy Lynch Getty, showed up in Paris with their son Tim to see if there was any way to get Paul back to Los Angeles, California and their marriage. (marriage #5).  They had not seen each other in FOUR YEARS! When he refused to return with her, in January 1956, Teddy filed for divorce.  She was in her thirties and still interested in being an opera singer.

Paul had met a 29 year old, unhappily married woman and mother of three from a British society background named PENELOPE KITSON. This woman was separated from her husband but as you know if you've been reading MISTRESS MANIFESTO, being a Mistress does not always mean adultery.  As Getty's mistress, Penelope was hired to be his Interior Decorator, beginning with the cabins in his oil tankers!

Over time Penelope Kitson would come to believe the man was amoral, had no interest in marrying him, and was around to see a lot of women come and go.  It was the ones who insisted on sticking around Sutton Place, Getty's lavish home, fighting over him and being part of an unofficial harem, who didn't get it, as she saw it.  While various women went in and out of favor (and Getty's will with many codicils is a testimony to this), Penelope Kitson knew her place and kept it by being a little bit separate by not seeing these women as direct competitors.  If there was anything especially nice that she did for the Getty family, it was to push Paul to try and be a father to his sons.

Getty himself was quite effected when he was outed in 1957 by Fortune Magazine as a billionaire times two and he was no longer a private individual following his whims.  About the same time reporters wrote and published stories about his cheapness.

Sutton Place was the scene of the only extravagant party Getty ever hosted, and Mrs. Kitson did the planning. 2000 guests were invited.  In the chapter called "Good Old Fashioned Vulgar Fun,"  in the book "The House of Getty," by Russel Miller page 20 of the e-book read on Overdrive, ..."a selection of his mistresses, many of whom had never set eyes on each other before" were invited.  According to Miller, Getty began to invite guests over without concern about their unpleasant behavior, enjoying being fought over.  On page 31 of the same, "Within its mellow red-brick walls they schemed and fought, listened at keyholes, poisoned the old man's mind against each other, jockeying for his favors." ... "It was not at all unusual for three or four women to be staying in the house at one time, all of them competing for his affection and attention."  As the staff played an essential role in all the comings and goings, some guests claimed to have been horrified by the scene.

On page 33 of the same, ..."To Getty's credit, he did not necessarily accord preferential treatment to the mistress - of the mistresses of the moment." Getty also shared his bed with women friends or women who he was once lovers with.  And so Mrs. Kitson and he ended their affair and she still spent a great deal of time with him.

Getty's proposals of marriage were not taken seriously.  Who were the leading Mistresses of J. Paul Getty as he became old?

Baroness Marianne von Alvensleben said he suggested they marry but he'd keep his Mistresses and she could have affairs.

Rosabella Burch, a widow of 29 when they were introduced by Claus Von Bulow in 1962, moved into Sutton Place, and that upset Mary Tessier and Lady Ursula d' Abo, contenders. Penelope Kitson witnessed the three fight over Paul. Rosabella thought she was better than the others. D'Abo, when the press caught up with their relationship in the mid 1960's, claimed they were just friends and she acted as a hostess and companion. Rosabella also claimed to the press that she and Paul were friends but perhaps she went a little further than the others to claim his love.

At the end of 1962, when Paul was seventy-two years old, Rosabella Burch went to Switzerland to give birth to a son she named Paul Bernard. She had a daughter a few years later.  Both would be remembered in his will, but Paul Bernard's amount was substantially more.  Rumors were that J. Paul Getty had fathered Paul Bernard.  When Rosabella learned that Paul had purchased a house for an immigrant woman, she demanded a house too.  He gave her a house budget and expected her to stick to it. The house was purchased for a mere 25,000 pounds.  When Paul died, age 83, she said he had promised her support for life and went after the money, expecting a thousand a month plus company shares, but settled at 150,000 pounds.

J. Paul Getty worked long hours until the very end of his life.  He died in June 1976 and a dozen "Getty Girls" were beneficiaries but only one wife was; Teddy Lynch.

I want to say that Russel Miller's book is quite special and covers so much more than the women I have focused on here at MISTRESS MANIFESTO.  Worth a read!

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Friday, January 19, 2018


You might be thinking, is Getty ever going to slow down?  The answer is no.  Certainly he must have felt himself aging like most people, but it's said that his libido never quit.  Married but living separate lives with Teddy, in the summer of 1951 Getty went to Europe, never to return, although he actually booked steamship travel to come back to the United States a couple times.  He lived a nomadic existence of travel, purchasing antiquities.  He continued to get up late and read the local newspaper and the overnight bags of business papers, but it wasn't just because he wanted to stay out late.  It was because it was a 6-7 time difference there and he needed to call  the West Coast - Los Angeles rather late.  Of all his sons, it was Teddy's Timmy who he made the most effort with, speaking to him on the phone often.  But it's also said that he had women all over Europe.

In chapter 12 of the book "The House of Getty." a primary reference for this month's posts, by Russel Miller,  on page 33 of the e-book, "He had many girlfriends all over Europe.  Some of them already collecting monthly cheques at their nearest American Express office courtesy of the libidinous old millionaire for services rendered.

I want to take a moment to think about that statement.  It does imply that Getty only enjoyed women for sexual services, implying these women were sex workers - prostitutes.  However, while there are many reasons why a man may keep a woman or a woman accepts being kept, I think that there is always a relationship of some sort involved.  And please note.  While some people know of Getty and know he is rich, he has yet to be outed to the world as the possibly richest man. Getty was too business savvy to have completely lost the value of a dollar, as some people insulated by their wealth do, however, perhaps he didn't want people to know just how rich he was.

Monday, January 15, 2018


After J. Paul Getty was through with marriage #4, he is said to have become a world class womanizer, possibly also hiring prostitutes, and his personal reputation was being trashed. So perhaps when he met LOUISE DUDLEY LYNCH, called Teddy, he was considering that he needed a high society woman as cover.  The man uncharacteristically rented a luxurious penthouse in New York that was already furnished by its socialite owner with antiques, after so often running home to live with mom after romantic disasters.  Along for a visit with an old friend came Teddy.  In the 1930's she was a "society Chanteuse," (Use the Google Search embedded on this blog to read about Little Edie!) and sang at upper crust dinner clubs like The Stork.  Teddy was 22 and legal.  Paul wooed her with regular attendance at her engagements, kind of like one of those wealthy "stage door Johnnys" who awaited a Ziegfeld Follies girl back stage.  He sent her flowers, bottles of champagne, and one might have thought - for a moment - that he'd back burnered business.  But he was just working hard and playing hard.

In the chapter called "Teddy Phoned, Miss Her So Much," in the book "The House of Getty," we learn that on August 16, 1936, Miss Lynch's New York Times engagement announcement mentioned her exclusive education and professional singing.  Paul was 42 and continued in his unconventional and adventurous personal and business life. This would be his fifth and last marriage. Also his longest.  And here with Teddy is where the J. Paul Getty story moves into the story of the beginnings of his museum in Malibu, the property which he called the ranch, for his is where Teddy would live out her life, after Rome, London, and New York City, while he lived in England.

Teddy's ambition at 22 as a Getty Mistress was to be an opera singer and Getty financed lessons in Rome calling money he never expected to be paid back a loan. Teddy leaned into her dream by having herself photographed dramatically.  As he had when married but seeing Ann Rork around town, though not yet divorced Getty was seen escorting Teddy.  Instead of the posh Hollywood nightclubs it was the Metropolitan Opera House and restaurants.  Still running his empire as Emperor, Getty used the telephone for hours every day and delegated, but was very mobile in his travels.

I found this interesting because I tend to think like this as well; "If you can trust a man, a written contract is a waste of time and if you can't trust him, a written contract is still a waste of paper," is how Getty thought.  (But he would this time insist on something futuristic for 1936, a PRENUP!  While he suited up every day for a day at his hotel room office, he liked to keep things simple - except in his personal life. 

In the spring of 1938 Teddy left New York for England to train her voice with a respected London teacher.  Paul kissed her goodbye.  By now he was considered a serious collector of antiques and antiquities (and loved a bargain) and spent much of his time touring Europe by car and visiting estates, museums, art galleries, and dealers.  He met other women along the way.  That June he met up with Teddy in London and they went out on the town, then off to Paris. But they both seemed content with their separate lives.  He saw little of his four sons and was to have yet another with Teddy, a sickly boy named Timmy who would not live into adulthood.-book page 54 of this chapter, "...Paul wanted Teddy to return to the United States with him after the marriage, whereas Teddy was determined to stay in Rome to continue her operatic studies..."  (World War II was soon to begin, already there were signs.)

As Hitler invaded Poland, they met up in Switzerland but during a visit to Berlin, Paul is said to have kept breakfast, lunch, and dinner dates with three different women friends.

Teddy went back to New York City because of the World War on European soil.
In 1940 the couple met up in Los Angeles and Getty used the trip to visit with ex-wives and sons. Once Teddy was back in New York, Paul began an affair with an actress, age 23, Joan Barry and would soon become embroiled in the scandal that involved her pregnancy, blamed on Charlie Chaplin!

Oh, Paul hated to testify, but the truth was he'd seen Joan frequently in 1941 and in November of 1942 and he gave her "loans," but since (primitive compared to what's available now) blood tests proved Chaplin was the father, why mention that Joan's son might be Paul's?!

When J. Paul Getty died, Teddy was the only one of his wives in his will.  She wrote a memoir entitled "Alone Together."


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Friday, January 12, 2018


According to Russel Miller's book, The House of Getty, Paul Getty was 31 and living with his parents when he announced that he had married. The lucky first bride was Jeanette Dumond, an 18 year old of Polish Catholic heritage who he married in October of 1923 in Ventura, California (which is just north of Los Angeles). Within weeks of the marriage Jeanette was pregnant and Paul was back to proving to his father that he could make it in the oil business without working for him.  He kept an extreme work schedule, again hands-on, and was barely home which was the pattern that would fail his personal life.  His son George Franklin Getty II was born, and Jeanette left Paul soon after.  Their divorce was granted in February of 1925.  (Marriage #1)

Then he befriended two rich girls he met in Mexico, Allene and Belene Ashby, who were studying at the National University in Mexico City. From the looks of things it seemed he was romancing both, or friends guessed he'd marry Belene.  His summer romance ended with a marriage to Allene there but within weeks he went back to Los Angeles and she went home to Texas. They agreed to keep the marriage and divorce a secret from family but Paul's dad George had already decided to put most of his estate and control of the business into his wife, Sarah's, hands, and this is important because it is Sarah Getty's trust that endured and became the key to the family's enduring wealth.  (Marriage #2)

In 1928 in Vienna, Paul met Adolphine Helmle, called Fini, and just 18 years old.  Her father was a doctor and her family from Germany was vacationing.  Paul was 38.  Once again he charmed and there was a sneaky element to the relationship.  His divorce from Allene wasn't done and he said nothing to Fini about it.  She found out he was a divorced man in December 1928 when she was about to marry him.  They moved in 1929 to Los Angeles and he moved her with his parents,  The idea was for Sarah to introduce her around and keep her company and Sara truly liked Fini. The pattern included a pregnancy, the birth of a son, Paul's workaholism preventing him from actually having a relationship, the wife feeling neglected and abandoned.  In this case it was also Fini's father, always opposed to the marriage, that wanted his daughter home.  (Marriage #3)

Paul had become a shareholder in his father's company, which had been performing poorly, and hoped he could prove himself by turning it around.  By 1926 he was also the general manager of his father's oil companies, the original Minnehoma, and the Getty. 

Fini took their son, Ronnie, and went back to Germany, allowing her father to negotiate a divorce with Paul. When Paul Getty finally admitted to his mother that he was divorcing Fini and marrying Ann, she wept. 

In the chapter called, "He Should Dress You In Sable," after his father's death, Paul finds out that he was left a half million dollars but his mother has 90% of the estate and control over the companies.  Author Russel Miller tells us that while Paul was still not done with Fini, it was well known in Los Angeles that Paul was in a relationship with an actress named ANN RORK.  Rork's father was the manager of "It Girl" Clara Bow, who was our Mistress of the Month previously, as well as a film producer, and Paul had met the father and daughter when Ann was fourteen.  At 17 Ann was doing small parts in the new Hollywood films with sound, the "talkies."   Paul escorted her around town and the couple were photographed, so it wasn't just a secret kept by close personal friends.  (And Fini may have known too...)

In New York City, while still negotiating with Fini's father, Paul Getty and ANN RORK made vows to each other in a ceremony so simple there was no minister.  (If there had been, Paul Getty would've been a bigamist.)  They pledged to each other that they were married in a hotel room. Then he started calling her "Mrs. Getty," when he introduced her around.  She was already pregnant when they got married, having waited out the divorce from Fini.  They married when Paul was 40, Ann was 20, and Eugene Paul Getty was born soon after.

Once again Getty went back to work leaving a wife alone.  Ann lived in Santa Monica near the beach in a twelve room house full of visiting friends (a bit like Hearst's Mistress Marion Davies did, though her "cottage" was massive in comparison).  Ann became pregnant a second time, giving birth to son Gordon Peter Getty.  Then she too wanted out of her lonely existence.  (Marriage #4)

Using the e-book version, and read on Overdrive,  on pages 60 and 61 of this chapter, I'm excerpting this telling passage:

"The fourth Mrs. Getty was privy to none of these negotiations (business), but did not care. Abandoned at the beach house in Santa Monica while Paul devoted himself to business, Ann began to despair of ever making her marriage work.  She hated playing second fiddle to Getty, Inc, hated everything to do with the oil industry.  She often compared herself to the long suffering heroine of J.M. Barrie's play, "The Twelve Pound Look," about the neglected wife of an overworked businessman who decides to pull out all the stops to save her marriage."

Paul came home late, as usual, she insisted he sit down while she played (acted) the climatic scene...A few days later Ann told him she was suffocating in her "gilded cage" and wanted a divorce.  Paul raised no objection..."

Reading to this point, I was aware that Paul Getty was getting more unconventional about relationships with women, especially for his times, as he got older.  Perhaps the pressure to marry was some of that.  Perhaps if he had been born later he might have had affairs with women rather than marry them.  Certainly he was aware that promising a woman marriage was seduction too, for if he had not been able to divorce Fini, he would have found himself in a society scandal.

In the chapter called "My First Thought Was This is THE girl," we learn that NEXT DOOR to Paul and Ann's Santa Monica beach house was the comparatively massive "cottage" that Hearst had built for his Mistress Marion Davies. The cottage had at least a hundred rooms.  Paul was friendly with the couple and in my opinion was inspired by their collections.

In 1934 Ann Rork filed for divorce and said that Paul's interest in her began when she was 15.  Then they went through "a form of marriage" in a rented apartment in New York.
To me this emphasizes Ann's mistresshood.

Reading pages 38- 39 of this chapter on e-book, "In court Ann painted an extraordinary picture of life with Getty. She complained of being "forced" to live in a "dismal apartment" in Paris; her husband refused to take her out because she was pregnant and her "only companion: was a little scotch terrier called Sophie." 

Her complaints included being "forced" to pay $200 a month rent out of her $600 allowance, being called a "gold-digger," and other allegations of Paul's cheapness and other women.  She eventually settled for $2500 a month for herself and $1000 a month for their 2 sons.

After that, J. Paul Getty VOLUNTARILY increased payments to Jeanette and Fini.

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Sunday, January 7, 2018


The Getty Museums in Los Angeles are two of my favorite places to visit. Oh, I love the view out to the ocean on a clear day from the mountain top.  I like finding the fossils in the marble cut thin to make the surface of the buildings. You might find me at the end of the afternoon, sitting with a coffee, watching a dramatic Southern California sunset all greys, purples, and oranges, thinking about the preservation aspect of the collection, most unseen, which eventually allows the general public to see sculpture and paintings that are hundreds or thousands of years old. One of the great things about these Museums is that admission is free to the public. You can even bring your own lunch and check it with your coat at no charge, then go outside and sit to eat later in the day. So there really is no reason not to go! (And you just might meet another art loving person while there.) Sadly, due to water shortages the wonderful fountains no longer run and are filled with stones, but that's in the eco-spirit of the informed in Southern California, more so than budgeting - or so I'm told.

So I'm there and I'm thinking, what sort of man was J. Paul Getty?  Was he really as cheap as he is notorious for?  He married several times times, and had children, sons who worked for the company in some capacity usually. and he was a workaholic who rarely spent any time with the women he had seduced, married, abandoned.  What about Mistresses?  Was he incapable of faithfulness? A collector of fine women as well as fine art?

And so it was of great interest to me that a film has been made focusing on the event of the kidnapping of one of Getty's grandsons whose ear was cut off and who Getty refused to pay. The film, "All The Money In The World," is now controversial too because actor Kevin Spacey was replaced due to a sex scandal with actor Christopher Plummer, who I hear was the original choice and doing a great job of acting as. Getty refused to pay so the kidnappers cut off the teenager's ear. 

And so, this being MISTRESS MANIFESTO, I turned my attention to the private life of this billionaire, who lived in England for years till the end of his life and never made it back to his Malibu property, called "the ranch," until he was buried there. I depended on author Russel Miller's book "the House of Getty" as well as news articles on the Internet.

I learned from this book that while the press dwelled upon episodes of Getty's cheapness as one of his idiosycracies, in fact the man wasn't always. He could be generous by any average person's standards and then not and he had wanted to be a diplomat, but found he loved the oil business.  Perhaps grandson's ears cannot be paid for with corporate holdings or profits but balls of string, by-the-rule-tipping, and avoiding expensive cab fares add up. And so while it's understood that due to his wealth a great number of women were interested (and you might assume, put up with him) author Miller makes a case for Getty being in fact a man who was his best self as a personality and more social than you may imagine when you see pictures of his scowling face, with women.
Starting young sexually, Getty may have tried to do the expected early on by marrying, but by the time he was in mid-life, he had many overlapping relationships, and ended with a harem.

And so you might want to check out the museums and ask yourself just how cheap Getty was because the museums that bear his name and were funded by his estate remain the ONLY always free museum in the city.

Here is some background on J. Paul Getty, who I will call "Paul" as everyone did, and his family before we begin this month's expose into Getty Mistresses.

He came from one of the families that immigrated to the United States in the late 1700's, and one Getty bought the area called Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where the most famous battle of the Civil War took place, purchasing it from William Penn.  J. Paul was the only son born in 1891 to Sarah and George Franklin Getty, who had acquired a fortune by Indian Territory standards ($250,000) by 1901. (His mother is an important part of the Getty saga.)  At that time, knowing nothing of the oil business, George Getty gambled on a lot in the Osage Nation that struck a geyser of oil.  Long residents in the Minneapolis area, Sarah had relatives in California and no real reason to stay. By 1906 they were renting in Los Angeles and Paul was going to Harvard Military Academy where he read Latin and Greek, and may have begun his interest in Roman and Greek antiquities.  In 1907 they bought a house near Wilshire Boulevard and Paul still living at home, at 17 started USC.  For some time he'd been claiming to his friends to have a "love life" that involved sneaking out and using his parent's car.

There may have been something to his early sexual confidence as by 14 years old he was considered to be girl crazy. He had an affair at about 17 with Edith McNair, ten years older than himself.  She was a sophisticated and rich local single woman. USC bored him and he thought fraternities and sororities were snobbish.  In 1910-1911 he worked his father's oil fields, you could say starting at the bottom, since it wasn't beyond him to work physically or operate machinery.  After he transferred to UC Berkeley and began to travel, he bought his first collection items, Chinese bronzes and carved ivory.  But when he transferred to Oxford, in England, he found himself finally at a college he liked.  He was considered reserved (for an American) but had enough personality to be invited to the weekend house parties of his set, and enjoyed going out to theatre.  (Getty would live in England in the last part of his life as well.)

At his 21st birthday, he traveled to Alexandria, Egypt to see the pyramids.  His father's company was worth millions but he really wanted the life of a diplomat.  But in 1914, when he was 22, Paul agreed to spend one year in the business and discovered that he loved it.  He also loved money and women.

But (you'll love this!) he continued to live with his parents until his first marriage, when he was thirty one (31) years old!

Now when you see the unsmiling photos of Paul Getty, you may think this was a man who was too shy and awkward to be seductive.  Money certainly helped, but his friends also knew a man who was charming, polite not pushy, and had a sense of humor and loved to make a woman laugh.

Next I'll cover Getty's early marriages, his pattern of workaholism, and his first known Mistress... and then cover the next one and the next and the next...


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