Excesses of the Rich and Wealthy William Randolph Hearst Part 1

About the excesses of the rich William Randolph Hearst, biography and history of his extravagent spending.



At the age of 10, little Willie Hearst asked his mother, "When I grow up, Mama, can I live in Windsor Castle?" When told no, he said,"Well then, will you buy me the Louvre?"

Unable to buy or live in either of those institutions, William Randolph Hearst set about producing a facsimile of the two of them combined. San Simeon, his California estate, was the ultimate monument to this attempt.

Hearst inherited $8 million from his father. Putting the money to "good" use, he developed a newspaper-publishing empire founded on a bedrock of yellow journalism. With the immense proceeds from his various ventures, he began his quest for the perfect castle to call home. Listing and detailing all of Hearst's homesteads-most of which he shared with his mistress, actress Marion Davies-would be very time-consuming. It is preferable, then, to limit the descriptions to his major fortresses.

He barely bothered to live in St. Joan, a Long Island chateau that had belonged to August Belmont. The feature that most intrigued Hearst about the mansion was that it possessed its very own lighthouse.

He preferred St. Donat's, an authentic 11th-century castle on the south coast of Wales. Hearst bought it after seeing a photograph of only one of its rooms, and did not get around to visiting it until three years later, when he stuffed it with antiques and objets d'art. He transformed the moat into a croquet lawn. (It was his second house with a moat; the first also had a drawbridge.)

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