William Randolph Hearst


Born: 29 April 1863
Died: 14 August 1951
Birthplace: San Francisco, California
Best known as: Founder of the Hearst newspaper chain
The son of a U.S. senator, William Randolph Hearst was a rich kid in his early 20s when he inherited control of the San Francisco Examiner newspaper from his father, mining tycoon George Hearst, in 1887. Hearst went on to build a publishing empire that included newspapers, magazines, news services, radio stations and film studios. He was an unabashed practitioner of "yellow journalism," and his enthusiasm for sensationalism and his autocratic rule were legendary; he is often accused of nudging the U.S. into the Spanish-American war of 1898, just to sell more newspapers. Beginning in the 1920s, Hearst had a mansion built in central California, called San Simeon but also known as Hearst Castle. He was famously involved in an affair with actress Marion Davies, as well as a public feud with Orson Welles over the film Citizen Kane (1941), which was a thinly-veiled criticism of Hearst.
Extra credit: Hearst was the grandfather of notorious kidnap victim Patty Hearst (he died before she was born)... One famous anecdote has artist/correspondent Frederic Remington writing to Hearst from a peaceful Cuba in 1898, asking to come home. Hearst wrote back: "Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war."

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