Hearst, Patty

Hearst, Patty (Patricia Campbell Hearst Shaw), 1954–, American heiress and kidnapping victim, b. San Francisco. The granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, she was kidnapped (Feb., 1974) by the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), a small, obscure armed radical group. Allegedly brainwashed while abused and confined to a closet, she recorded messages attacking her wealthy parents and capitalism in general. The SLA extorted $2 million in food for the poor from her family, and Hearst joined the SLA in robberies. Many SLA members were killed in a shootout and fire in May, 1974; Hearst and others were captured in Sept., 1975. She was convicted on bank robbery and firearms charges in 1976 and served three years (in prison and out on appeal) before her sentence was commuted in 1979; she was pardoned in 2001.

See her Every Secret Thing (1982); biography by J. Toobin (2016).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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