William Randolph Hearst, the son of George Hearst, a newspaper proprietor, was born in San Francisco in 1863. After studying at Harvard University (1882-85) he took over the San Francisco Examiner from his father in 1887.
Inspired by the journalism of Joseph Pulitzer, Hearst turned the newspaper into a combination of reformist investigative reporting and lurid sensationalism. He soon developed a reputation for employing the best journalists available. This included Ambrose Bierce, Stephen Crane, Mark Twain, Richard Harding Davis and Jack London.
In 1895 Hearst purchased the New York Journal. He was now in competition with Pulitzer's New York World. This included recruiting the popular cartoonist, Richard F. Outcault from Joseph Pulitzer. Hearst also reduced the price of the New York Journal to one cent and included colour magazine sections. He also persuaded Frederick Opper, another of Pulitzer's cartoonists, to join his team.
Pulitzer's New York World and Hearst's New York Journal became involved in a circulation war, and their use of promotional schemes and sensational stories became known as yellow journalism. However, he received praise from the radical journalist, Lincoln Steffens: "Hearst, in journalism, was like a reformer in politics; he was an innovator who was crashing into the business, upsetting the settled order of things, and he was not doing it as we would have done it. He was doing it his way. I thought that Hearst was a great man, able, self-dependent, self-educated (though he had been to Harvard) and clear-headed; he had no moral illusions; he saw straight as far as he saw, and he saw pretty far, further than I did then; and, studious of the methods which he adopted after experimentation, he was driving toward his unannounced purpose: to establish some measure of democracy, with patient but ruthless force."
Over the next few years Hearst became the owner of 28 newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Examiner, the Boston American, the Atlanta Georgian, the Chicago Examiner, the Detroit Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Cosmopolitan and the Washington Herald. He used his newspapers and magazines to campaign for an aggressive foreign policy. As a result of distorted and exaggerated reporting, Hearst was blamed for the war between the United States and Spain (1897-98).
Hearst was a member of the United States House of Representatives (1903-07) However, he was defeated for mayor (1905 and 1909) and the post of governor of New York (1906). An opponent of the British Empire, Hearst opposed United States involvement in the First World War and attacked the formation of the League of Nations.
In the 1920s Hearst built a castle on a 240,000 acre ranch at San Simeon, California. At his peak he owned 28 major newspapers and 18 magazines, along with several radio stations and movie companies. However, the Great Depression weakened his financial position and by 1940 he had lost personal control of his vast communications empire.
Hearst upset the left-wing in America by being a pro-Nazi in the 1930s and a staunch anti-Communist in the 1940s. William Randolph Hearst died in 1951. It is believed that Hearst's career inspired the Orson Welles film, Citizen Kane.
the seattle times
Hearst Castle a monument to eccentric excess
California's Hearst Castle is certainly a monument to the man: to his vanity, his eccentricity, his force of will, his uneven taste in art.
By Eric Noland
Los Angeles Daily News
Nearly a century ago, when newspaper publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst conceived a summer dwelling for a ridge top on the central California coast, he wanted it to make an unequivocal statement about himself.
Mission accomplished. Hearst Castle, as it is known today, is certainly a monument to the man: to his vanity, his eccentricity, his force of will, his uneven taste in art. As visitors walk the terraces and hallways today, they can't help but conclude that this is what happens when an unsophisticated fellow has more money than he knows what to do with.
Hearst was more of an art accumulator than a collector. Rooms feel crammed with artifacts, like a cluttered museum, and there's no sense of order to the design — a jumble of periods and styles and places of origin.
A similar disorder prevailed in the construction of the mansion itself. "Workmen didn't like working here," said guide Jacquie Calvert on a recent tour of the place, "because they would build something and he'd have it torn down the next day."
In his biography "The Chief," author David Nasaw chronicles one such incident in which Hearst walked into a completed guesthouse and said he didn't like the position of the fireplace.
It was ripped out, the wall closed up, and a new fireplace constructed in another location. Six months later, Hearst surveyed it again and said, "No, that was a mistake. We shouldn't have moved it from where it was. Take it out and put it back where it was."
All of this only heightens a visitor's fascination with the castle. Europe has its estates and châteaux to enchant tourists, but beyond Elvis' Graceland (an apt comparison, actually), America is a bit shy on grand palaces of excess.
Hearst Castle, which opened to the public as a state park in 1958, now averages nearly 700,000 visitors per year. They plunk down $24 per person for any one of four daytime tours (an evening tour costs more), then ride buses up the hillside to marvel at what Hearst called Casa Grande.
It's a real-estate agent's dream listing: 80,200 square feet of living space, including the basement and three guesthouses; 56 bedrooms, including servants' quarters; 61 bathrooms. Also 41 fireplaces, two swimming pools (outdoor and indoor), a movie theater, two tennis courts. All of this perched at 1,600 feet, with an unobstructed view of miles of unspoiled coastline.
When the castle became a state park, seven years after Hearst died, tours provided glimpses into a few of the public rooms, but "ever since it was opened, people have been clamoring to see more of it," said spokesman Dan Eller. "We've had to keep expanding opportunities."
The most popular Experience Tour still provides an overview, and will accommodate up to 55 people, but for something a little different — and a little more intimate — repeat visitors should consider one of the specialty tours.
After taking the Experience Tour in the morning, we signed up for the Garden Tour in the afternoon, and joined about a dozen others for a stroll across the grounds with Calvert, a knowledgeable guide who dispensed information with enthusiasm and humor.
Like the building and its interior design, the gardens also bespoke the idiosyncrasies of the man.
Hearst didn't start building his castle until he was in his late 50s, and he was too impatient to wait for trees or shrubs to grow to maturity, we were told, so he had most everything planted full-grown.
He wanted guests to see colorful plantings at all times of the year, so three greenhouses were kept busy and the flower beds were torn up and replanted with annuals and bulbs four times a year.
Fruit on the trees, he felt, provided artistic splashes of color, so he forbade it being picked.
Tree roses were among the more than 1,000 rose bushes on the property, so that guests could enjoy the blooms and their scent without bending over.
The native coast live oaks on the hillside were sacrosanct, with all building done around them. Accordingly, as we walked the 360-degree esplanade around the castle, we noticed that it wasn't of uniform width, but narrowed in places to accommodate the great trees.
The Garden Tour pays a visit to the Casa Del Mar guesthouse, which was Hearst's quarters while the main house was being built. In his oversize bathtub, he had a seawater bath every day at 2 p.m., Calvert said.
On any tour of the castle, a visitor can readily be numbed by the opulence of the furnishings and the confounding hodgepodge of art.
We found ourselves marveling instead at the little things — beautifully painted squares of tile, the ocean breeze that wafted in through a bedroom window or the astonishing scope of that view.
the new york observer
The Hearst Family
By Gillian Reagan
William Randolph Hearst was the Rupert Murdoch of his day. “He is,” President Teddy Roosevelt once wrote, “the most potent single influence for evil we have in our life.” Hearst inherited his father’s newspaper business and kept going: At his peak, he owned 28 major newspapers and 18 magazines, not to mention radio stations and movie studios. At 23, two years after getting kicked out of Harvard, he took control of the San Francisco Examiner. He acquired the New York Morning Journal in 1895 and turned it into a bastion of sensational celebrity news and yellow journalism. He married a chorus girl named Millicent. Although he lost in two bids to become Mayor of New York City and another to become Governor of the state, in 1902 he did win election to Congress. Fireworks at a celebration in Madison Square Garden reportedly killed dozens. His towering personality was portrayed in Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane. Hearst offered RKO Pictures $800,000 destroy all prints and burn the negatives of the film. When he died in 1951, he gave his sons five of the 13 seats on the board of trustees overseeing the Hearst Corporation.
William Randolph Hearst Jr.—“Young Bill”—took the helm. He was a cub reporter for The New York American, publisher of the New York Journal-American and a World War II correspondent before winning the 1956 Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Soviet Union. He later wrote, “I lived in my father’s shadow all my life.” In reference to the Hearst name, he said, “I don’t need a title. My father gave me one when I was born.” He divorced twice before marrying gossip columnist Austine McDonnell in 1948. The couple had two sons, Austin and William Randolph III, who became publisher of the San Francisco Examiner in 1984 but then left the paper to become a partner at the investment company Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers. He is currently a director of the Hearst Corporation.
Young Bill’s older brother George Randolph Hearst spent time as vice president of the Hearst board. He and his wife, Rosalie May Wynn, had George Randolph Hearst Jr., who at age 79 is the oldest living heir and has been serving as board chairman of the Hearst Corporation since 1996. Forbes ranked him No. 160 in its list of the 400 Richest Americans, with a net worth of more than $2 billion. He has two daughters and two sons, including George III, who is a vice president at the Hearst Corporation and associate publisher of the Albany Times Union.
Another of the original five brothers was John Randolph Hearst, who was president of Harper’s Bazaar as well as general manager of the Hearst radio enterprise and publisher of the New York Daily Mirror. He died at age 49 in 1958, leaving four children, including John Randolph Hearst Jr.—a Hearst director who now controls his father’s branch of the trust—and William Randolph Hearst II.
The brother who lived the longest was Randolph Apperson Hearst—“Randy”—who attended Harvard and was chairman of Hearst Corporation from 1973 to 1996. He was serving as editor and president of the San Francisco Examiner when his daughter Patty was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974, putting him in his own newspaper’s headlines. He had four other daughters: Catherine Hearst, Virginia Anne Hearst Randt, Anne Randolph Hearst and Victoria Veronica Hearst.
Of the third generation, Patricia Hearst Shaw is certainly the most famous: As a Berkeley sophomore in 1974, she was kidnapped and apparently brainwashed by the Symbionese Liberation Army, a radical anti-fascist group that advocated the overthrow of corporations and governments. The S.L.A. demanded a $400 million ransom, while she was drawn into participating in a whirlwind of illegal activities, including a bank robbery. She served almost two years in jail before President Jimmy Carter helped release her. She married an ex-cop, Bernard Shaw, and moved to Connecticut before Bill Clinton officially pardoned her in 2001. She was the leading witness in a trial against S.L.A. members in 2002. She has two daughters: Gillian Hearst Shaw, 25, who can be seen flitting around fashion shows and the Hamptons and recently competed to win the starring role in Social (a reality show about, well, socialites); and Lydia Hearst Shaw, 22, who prances on the runway, pouts in ads for Louis Vuitton and Prada, and dates rock stars and party boys.
While Patty Hearst’s sister, Anne Randolph Hearst, was never kidnapped by crazed maniacs, she has been swept off her feet by soigné author Jay McInerney, whom she recently married. She is contributing editor of Hearst’s Town & Country and has a daughter, Amanda Hearst, a 22-year old model who is studying art history at Fordham University and is the fresh face of the preppy-clothing powerhouse Lilly Pulitzer.
It was a clash of the titans. William Randolph Hearst, the lord and ruler of San Simeon. And Orson Welles, the ambitious young man with a golden touch, who set out to dethrone him. It was a fight from which neither man ever fully recovered.
Long before Orson Welles' Citizen Kane was released in 1941, there was a buzz about the movie and the "boy genius" who made it. At a preview screening, nearly everyone present realized that they had seen a work of brilliance--except Hedda Hopper, the leading gossip columnist of the day. She hated the movie, calling it "a vicious and irresponsible attack on a great man."
Citizen Kane was a brutal portrait of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. When Hearst learned through Hopper of Welles' film, he set out to protect his reputation by shutting the film down. Hollywood executives, led by Louis B. Mayer, rallied around Hearst, attempting to buy Citizen Kane in order to burn the negative. At the same time, Hearst's defenders moved to intimidate exhibitors into refusing to show the movie. Threats of blackmail, smears in the newspapers, and FBI investigations were used in the effort.
Hearst's campaign was largely successful. It would be nearly a quarter-century before Citizen Kane was revived--before Welles would gain popular recognition for having created one of cinema's great masterpieces.
"Hearst and Welles were proud, gifted, and destructive--geniuses each in his way," says producer Thomas Lennon. "The fight that ruined them both was thoroughly in character with how they'd lived their lives."
Orson Welles was just twenty-four when he took aim at William Randolph Hearst. The brash upstart was well on his way to claiming Hollywood as his own. A few years earlier, his infamous radio broadcast, War of the Worlds, had terrified listeners and won him the sweetest contract Hollywood had ever seen. With a reputation as a gifted radio and theater director, Welles' arrogance was founded on a track record of success and a lifetime of encouragement.
"Everybody told me from the moment I could hear that I was absolutely marvelous," Welles once told an interviewer.
Hearst was a 76-year-old newspaper magnate whose daring and single-mindedness had made him a publishing legend. The son of a wealthy mine owner, he too had been raised to believe he could have everything. He built his empire selling newspapers filled with entertaining stories that were often scandalous and, occasionally, pure fiction.
"We had a crime story that was going to be featured in a 96-point headline on page one," remembers Vern Whaley, an editor for Hearst's Herald-Examiner. "When I found the address that was in the story, that address was a vacant lot. So I hollered over at the rewrite desk, I said, 'You got the wrong address in this story. This is a vacant lot.' The copy chief that night was a guy named Vic Barnes. And he says, 'Sit down, Vern.' He says, 'The whole story's a fake.'"
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., remembers his father asking Hearst why he preferred concentrating on newspapers, with their limited, regional appeal, rather than spending more energy on motion pictures and their worldwide audience. Fairbanks recalls Hearst's reply: "I thought of it, but I decided against it. Because you can crush a man with journalism, and you can't with motion pictures."
Hearst began his empire with one small newspaper in San Francisco, then expanded to New York where, with flair and daring, he created the top selling of the city's fourteen newspapers. But he always wanted more, and eventually he controlled the first nationwide chain--with papers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, and Atlanta. Soon, an estimated one in five Americans was reading a Hearst paper every week.
Terrorist's daughter who grew up to be the face of a lingerie brand
By Liz Thomas
The picture of her wielding a machine gun was one of the most infamous of the seventies, but now it is Patty Hearst's model daughter Lydia who is striking a memorable pose.
Newspaper heiress Patty became notorious after joining the American guerilla group that kidnapped her.
More than three decades later, her 23 year-old daughter has been named the face and body of lingerie designers Myla and appears in a series of provocative poses wearing satin and silk underwear
She started modeling four years ago and has since worked with leading photographers including Mario Testino and Mark Abrams.
In the past year her career has taken off most recently at the "Fashion Oscars", she was named "Supermodel of the Year
Her ascent to stardom is a far cry from her mother's. In 1974, Patty Hearst then aged 19, was kidnapped by left-wing US guerrilla group the Symbionese Liberation Army from her family home in California.
Her captors initially demanded for the release of jailed members of their radical group, and later for the Hearst family to distribute £30 of food to every poor person in California.
Neither was carried out and Hearst later claimed that she was kept in a cupboard for months.
She shocked her family when she eventually joined the group and adopted the name Tania.
The image of her holding the gun caused controversy in the seventies. She was later arrested with other members of the SLA after a bank robbery.
Despite claiming that she was brainwashed, Hearst was sentenced to seven years in jail. President Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence after two years and later Bill Clinton eventually bestowed a presidential pardon.
Hearst later married her former bodyguard Bernard Shaw in 1979. The couple are still married and have two grown up daughters.
Initially she tried her hand as an actress but most recently has made her name as a dog-breeder
The Hearst family name is one of the best known in the US. Her grandfather – press baron William Randolph - built up one of the largest magazine and newspaper businesses in the world.
He was caricatured by Orson Welles in classic film Citizen Kane. Her father Randolph was valued at $1.8 billion shortly before his death in 2001 at the age of 85.
Luxury lingerie brand Myla was founded in 1999 and is now worth in excess of £25 million.