Inside the Getty Family's Troubled Past

PHOTO: Andrew Getty is pictured in an undated photo with friends in Los Angeles.PlayObtained by ABC News
WATCH Getty Heir Found Dead in California Home

The death of a member of one of the richest families in America has added another dark page to a string of tragedies connected to the clan.

Andrew Getty, the 47-year-old grandson of industrialist J. Paul Getty, was found dead in his Los Angeles home on Tuesday afternoon and a coroner’s investigation is underway since the cause of death was not immediately determined.

In spite of his family name, far less is known about Andrew Getty than some of his more famous relatives, including his cousin who was kidnapped and held for ransom as a teen, his second cousin who is an actor and made headlines for having a very public affair, and most notably, his grandfather who was once considered the richest man in the world.

Here is a look inside the famous family.

J. Paul Getty

PHOTO: This 1975 file photo shows oil billionaire, Jean Paul Getty, Americas richest expatriate, at his home at Guildford, Surrey, England. David Caulkin/AP Photo
This 1975 file photo shows oil billionaire, Jean Paul Getty, America's richest expatriate, at his home at Guildford, Surrey, England.

The family fortune was built by J. Paul Getty in the oil fields of Oklahoma, but the extent of his wealth was never fully clear.

"I would hope to realize several billions ... but remember, a billion dollars isn't worth what it used to be," he told Fortune in 1957.

He was infamously cheap for a man of his wealth and admitted in his autobiography that he got a pay phone installed in his mansion in England.

J. Paul Getty's personal life could best be described as tumultuous and included five marriages and five divorces.

PHOTO: J. Paul Getty Museum. Moment Editorial/Getty Images
J. Paul Getty Museum.

Biographer Robert Lenzner, author of "The Great Getty: The Life and Loves of J. Paul Getty --- Richest Man in the World," told ABC News that "Getty was illiterate with respect to being a father or a husband."

His wealth and social life led to public intrigue, but he chose to interact with the public on his own terms when it came to art. He opened an eponymous art museum in 1974 and has made regular gifts to the institution that helped it, at one point in the 1980s, become the richest museum in the world. He died in 1976 at the age of 83.

J. Paul Getty III

PHOTO: John Paul Getty III, grandson of oil billionaire J. Paul Getty, at a party hosted by Andy Warhol, June 1976. Getty Images
John Paul Getty III, grandson of oil billionaire J. Paul Getty, at a party hosted by Andy Warhol, June 1976.

The most well-known grandson up until today was J. Paul Getty III because he was kidnapped in Rome in 1973 when he was just 16 years old.

J. Paul Getty III, known within the family as "Paul," was reportedly expelled from seven schools as he grew into a rebellious teen dubbed "the Golden Hippie" by the press before going off to live in Italy, where he was when he was kidnapped.

The kidnapping became even more dramatic because J. Paul Getty initially refused to pay the $3 million ransom that the kidnappers demanded.

"I have 14 grandchildren and if I pay one penny ransom, I'll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren," the patriarch reportedly said at the time.

J. Paul Getty III was tied to a stake for five months and had his ear cut off and sent to a newspaper after the kidnappers grew frustrated with the slow pace at which Getty's relatives were handling the payment negotiations.

After the senior Getty grudgingly paid part of the ransom, Paul was released. He soon married a woman eight years his senior and five months pregnant with his son, Balthazar. Then a downward spiral into drug and alcohol dependency led to a catastrophic stroke in 1981 that left him nearly blind, unable to speak and confined to a wheelchair. He died in 2011 at the age of 54.

Balthazar Getty

PHOTO: Balthazar Getty attends the 13th Annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball at a private Mandeville Canyon Estate on June 7, 2014 in Los Angeles. FilmMagic
Balthazar Getty attends the 13th Annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball at a private Mandeville Canyon Estate on June 7, 2014 in Los Angeles.

Though they are just seven years apart in age, Andrew Getty and actor Balthazar Getty are a generation apart on the family tree.

Balthazar's father John Paul Getty III, who gained his own share of headlines following the 1973 kidnapping, was Andrew's much-older cousin.

While their family's interest in visual arts is well-known, Balthazar made his name in the world of film and television.

He appeared in films like Lord of the Flies and Mr. Holland's Opus, he has been known best in recent years as one of the stars of ABC's drama "Brothers & Sisters," which is centered around a fictitious California-based family.

Towards the end of the show's five seasons, Balthazar had a public affair with the British actress Sienna Miller though he later was taken back by his wife.

"Here's the bottom line: It was a very challenging time for everybody involved, but I loved and missed my family too much not to make it work," he told Harper's Bazaar in 2010 about his reunification with his wife Rosetta.

Gordon Getty

PHOTO: In this June 10, 1976 file photo, Gordon Getty with his son Andrew leaves the Wilshire United Methodist church after memorial services for J. Paul Getty, in Los Angeles. AP Photo
In this June 10, 1976 file photo, Gordon Getty with his son Andrew leaves the Wilshire United Methodist church after memorial services for J. Paul Getty, in Los Angeles.

Andrew Getty's father Gordon continued to work in the family oil business and sold Getty oil to Texaco in the 1980s for $10 billion, reportedly netting at least $2 billion for himself.

His personal life made headlines when it was revealed that Gordon Getty's wife Ann and four sons- including Andrew - did not know anything about three other daughters that he had fathered out of wedlock.

Andrew Getty

PHOTO: Andrew Getty, seen in this undated Facebook profile image, was found dead in his Los Angeles home on Tuesday March 31.
Andrew Getty/Facebook
Andrew Getty, seen in this undated Facebook profile image, was found dead in his Los Angeles home on Tuesday March 31.

Andrew Getty’s parents, Gordon and Ann, were the ones to officially confirm their son’s death on Tuesday through a family spokesman, offering no details and simply stating that the LAPD was investigating.

A spokeswoman for the department told ABC News today that the coroner’s office is the one currently investigating the case because the cause of death has still not been determined though Det. Meghan Aguilar said that Getty "was suffering from several health issues and at this time, it appears as though he died of natural causes."

The LA County Coroner confirmed the ABC News that Getty died of natural causes or an accidental death and that the results from his toxicology report are still pending. The medical examiner will examine his body on Thursday or Friday.

The LAPD said that officers responded to a call reporting that there was an unconscious male in the home but did not release any further information about the caller, only saying that they have not been taken into custody.

Andrew Fies contributed to this report.