Like so many dynasties, the Getty Family has been absurdly rich in money, but not necessarily love, health or happiness. Their misfortunes over the decades – known as the ‘Getty curse‘ – have garnered as much attention as their financial successes, though the scrutiny has been at its most intense when tragedy has overlapped with greed.
The 1973 abduction of billionaire oil heir, John Paul Getty III, had both these elements – plus Italian mobsters, a postmarked severed ear and wild rumors about the 16-year-old's culpability. Not only is it the most glaring example of the so-called ‘Getty curse,' but it's one of the most bizarre, brutal and costly kidnapping cases in history. As the 45th anniversary of Getty III's disappearance approaches, there has been renewed interest in the case thanks to two Hollywood productions with decidedly different takes on Getty III's role in his own kidnapping.