James Goldsmith : biography
Sir James Michael "Jimmy" Goldsmith (26 February 1933 – 18 July 1997) was an Anglo-French billionaire financier and tycoon.Billionaire: The Life and Times of Sir James Goldsmith by Ivan Fallon Towards the end of his life, he became a magazine publisher and a politician. In 1994, he was elected to represent France as a Member of the European Parliament and he subsequently founded the short-lived eurosceptic Referendum Party in the United Kingdom. He was known for his many romantic relationships and for the various children he fathered with his wives and many girlfriends. Goldsmith was the inspiration for the character of the corporate raider Sir Larry Wildman in Oliver Stone's Wall Street. On his death, Tony Blair stated: "He was an extraordinary character and though I didn't always agree with his political views, obviously, he was an amazing and interesting, fascinating man." Margaret Thatcher stated: "Jimmy Goldsmith was one of the most powerful and dynamic personalities that this generation has seen. He was enormously generous, and fiercely loyal to the causes he espoused."
Goldsmith and the media
Goldsmith is known for his legal attack on the magazine Private Eye, which referred to him as "Sir Jams" and in Goldsmith's Referendum Party period as "Sir Jams Fishpaste". In 1976 he issued more than 60 libel writs against Private Eye and its distributors, nearly bankrupting the magazine and almost imprisoning its editor Richard Ingrams. This story is detailed in Ingrams' book Goldenballs! The publisher of the magazine was Anthony Blond, an old friend; Blond and Goldsmith themselves remained on good terms.
Goldsmith also pursued vendettas against other journalists who queried his methods, including Barbara Conway who wrote the Scrutineer column in the City pages of the Daily Telegraph. In November 1977, Goldsmith made a notorious appearance on The Money Programme on BBC television when he accused the programme of making up lies about him and stormed off the set.
In 1977 Goldsmith bought the French weekly L'Express and between 1979 and 1981 published the UK news magazine NOW! which failed to survive. Oliver Stone's 1987 film Wall Street featured a British billionaire financier, Sir Lawrence Wildman. This character was modeled on Goldsmith as stated by the film's director Oliver Stone in the DVD special feature documentary and the director's commentary as Sir Lawrence Wildman is introduced.
Goldsmith was married three times, and was claimed to have coined the phrase: "When a man marries his mistress, he creates a vacancy." However, the phrase was coined by Sacha Guitry. His first wife, whom he married when 20, was the Bolivian heiress Doña María Isabel Patiño y Borbón, 17-year-old daughter of tin magnate Antenor Patiño and the 3rd Duchess of Dúrcal. When Goldsmith proposed the marriage to Antenor Patiño, Patiño is alleged to have said, "We are not in the habit of marrying Jews", to which Goldsmith is reported to have replied, "Well, I am not in the habit of marrying [Red] Indians." This story, if true, is typical of Goldsmith's humour. With the heiress pregnant and the Patiños insisting the pair separate, the couple eloped in January 1954.
The marriage was brief. Rendered comatose by a cerebral hemorrhage in her seventh month of pregnancy, Maria Isabel Patiño y Goldsmith died in May 1954; her only child, Isabel, survived and was delivered by Caesarian section. She was brought up by Goldsmith's family, and was married a few years to French sportsman Arnaud de Rosnay. On her father's death, she inherited a large share of his estate. By Frances Hardy, Daily Mail Isabel has since become a successful art-collector. Lot 21, Christies
Goldsmith's second wife was Ginette Lery, with whom he had a son, Manes, and daughter, Alix. In 1978, he married for the third time; his new wife was his mistress Lady Annabel Birley; the couple had three children, Jemima (born in 1974), Zacharias (born in 1975) and Benjamin (born in 1980). Zac and Jemima have both become much reported upon figures in the British media; in 2003 Ben married heiress Kate Emma Rothschild (born 1982), daughter of the late Amschel Rothschild and his wife Anita Guinness of the Guinness Brewery family. Speculation about Goldsmith's romantic life was a popular topic in the British media: for example, in the press, there were a number of claims that James Goldsmith was the father of the family friend Lady Diana Spencer, due to his friendship with Diana's mother, and later with Diana.Were Diana and Jemima sisters?, By CHRISTOPHER WILSON, Daily Mail, 24 August 2004Was Sir James Goldsmith the father of Princess Diana?, by Richard Ingram, 16 August 2008, The Independent
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