Peter Getty: Costumed Layabout Scion

Peter Getty's breezy, self-pitying musings on being idle righ infuriated fellow San Franciscans and, indeed, people across the country. Who is this heir, and why does he find copious wealth so unpalatable? Here's a quick rundown.

Age: Next month Peter turns 42.

Source of wealth: Oil business started by his grandfather, J. Paul Getty, and sold to Texaco by his father, the composer Gordon Getty, who is worth around $2.5 billion.

Occupation: Outside of blogging for SFGate, has described himself as a playwright, advertising copywriter and actor. Was in a rock band; started one now-defunct record company and talked about starting another, though that effort apparently fizzled. Upon the debut of one opera he wrote, in 1985, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "If you or I had written this, it wouldn't have gone beyond the living room."

Also authored an anonymous music blog, available here.

Peter Getty: Costumed Layabout Scion

Wife Jacqui, defacto Coppola: Jacqui de La Fontaine was pregnant with Francis Ford Coppola's granddaughter when her boyfriend Gian-Carlo "Gio" Coppola was killed in a boating accident. Francis looked after the widow and daughter Gian-Carla ("Gia"), later walking Jacqui down the aisle during her 2000 wedding to Getty.

Jacqui has worked as a stylist at Harper's Bazaar, and as a costume stylist for music videos (Bob Dylan, Beastie Boys, Faith Hill) and movies. This background no doubt influenced her Bazaar photo shoot; in the attached picture she's on the left with Gia in the middle.

Best friends with British opposition leader: According to a 2005 Mail on Sunday story, Peter was close with David Cameron in Heatherdown, a British prep school. A former instructor said Peter Getty was "one of Cameron's best friends at school." The story added: "During the summer of 1977, Getty's family invited Cameron and four other boys at the school to fly to America on Concorde for a threeweek holiday including seven days at the Getty family mansion in Pacific Heights in San Francisco." How fun!

'Nexus of hipster Hollywood:' A 2004 Bazaar profile called Jacqui the "nexus of hipster Hollywood" and said the couple's nondescript home at the top of the Hollywood Hills, along with a Malibu home rented each summer, form a "crash pad" for their celebrity and artist friends to mix "in a freestyle, nonconventional form." The couple also throw a popular Halloween party.

Celebrity pals: The couple's friends include:

  • "Close pal" Demi Moore, who met Jacqui in a Kentucky antiques store in 1988.
  • Ashton Kutcher.
  • Jason Schwartzman, who probably knows the couple since he's Francis Ford Coppola's nephew, partied with the couple right after their marriage and attended his 40th birthday party five years later.
  • Actress Heather Graham also attended Peter's 40th birthday party.
  • The various Coppolas, obviously.

Peter Getty: Costumed Layabout Scion

His rock band: Virgin-Whore Complex, whose 1996 release "Stay Away from My Mother" was in the mold of English new-wave band XTC. Spin magazine did the release party. The band reportedly refused to perform live concerts. None of this shielded the group from criticism; the music zine Octulus wrote, "The male lead singer's nasal delivery begins to sound like a bad imitation of a sleepy Fred Schneider."

Ironic lyrics included:

Son, I know you're scared
But we think it's time you knew
How much poverty and crime it takes
To finance one of you

Playing dress-up: Getty's clothes have betrayed the same superficial alienation from his privilege as his controversial SFGate posting. He assumed the character Spats Ransom in his band; other makeovers have seen him costumed as Willie Wonka (courtesy a gift from Jacqui) and an 18th-Century sea captain (from the Bazaar photo at top). Around town in San Francisco, he takes pride in an aggressively casual appearance, judging from the society columns.

The Coppola music hook-up: Jacqui's Hollywood connections have not only helped attract a circle of celebrity friends but also aided Peter's business: His now-defunct record label Emporer Norton Records released the soundtracks for two popular movies directed by Coppola's daughter Sofia, Lost in Translation and the Virgin Suicides.


Peter Getty: Costumed Layabout Scion

May have literally slept with Gavin Newsom: The Getty family is a longtime benefactor of Gavin Newsom, the hard-drinking, womanizing, hair-gel loving mayor of San Francisco and potential Democratic nominee for governor. Newsom's father, Judge William Newsom, was financial consigliere to Peter's father Gordon. So it was probably inevitable that his interests would intersect with those of Peter.

Peter Getty: Costumed Layabout Scion

The Getty scion has been a partner in one or more of Newsom's business ventures, which include wine, restaurants and resorts. He rented his one-bedroom, $2.5 million apartment (left, via SocketSite) to the mayor after his divorce from Kimberly Guilfoyle. And things got even cozier at the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, where Peter shared a hotel room with Newsom, his brother Billy — and just two beds.


Exes: Met Jacqui when he was dating Lauren Hutton, 24 years his senior.

San Francisco home: This, bought (obviously) with help from mom.