Conflict Period:
World War II 1
Army Air Forces 1
Captain 1
02 Dec 1915 2
18 Dec 2000 2

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Personal Details

Full Name:
Randolph A Hearst 2
02 Dec 1915 2
18 Dec 2000 2
Last Residence: New York, NY 2

World War II 1

Army Air Forces 1
Captain 1
Service Start Date:
1942 1
Service End Date:
1945 1
Social Security:
Card Issued: Unknown Code (PE) 2
Social Security Number: ***-**-4016 2

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RANDOLPH APPERSON HEARST 1915-2000 / Stroke Kills Father of Patty Hearst

Randolph Apperson Hearst, the billionaire newspaper heir who became known worldwide when his daughter Patricia was kidnapped by a revolutionary group in 1974, died in a New York hospital yesterday after a stroke. He was 85.

The last surviving son of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, Hearst began work as a cub reporter covering cops, courts and City Hall on the Hearst- owned Call-Bulletinin San Francisco. He eventually served from 1973 to 1996 as chairman of Hearst Corp.

But Hearst became known around the world when the Symbionese Liberation Armykidnapped his 19-year-old daughter from her Berkeley apartment and began issuing virulent communiques attacking her family.

Throughout that ordeal, Hearst -- then editor and president of the San Francisco Examiner -- left his Hillsborough mansion regularly to face the battery of television cameras outside his front door, calmly discussing the latest communique the family had received from the SLA.

When the SLA demanded that the Hearsts give millions of dollars in free food to California's poor, Hearst pledged $2 million to the People in Need giveaway program. The first distribution was marred by confusion and violence in San Francisco, but eventually more than 90,000 bags and cartons of food were distributed.

"Randy was the center of calm in a very turbulent period," said his nephew, William Randolph Hearst III, who visited his uncle often during the months after the kidnapping.

Although Hearst presented a resolute face to the public, friends and acquaintances said the kidnapping had placed a terrible strain on him.

"He never came into the paper again on a day-to-day basis," said Tom Eastham, former executive editor of the Examiner who was redesigning the paper with Hearst when the kidnapping occurred.

"The SLA made personal attacks on him -- obviously it was harrowing for him as a parent," Eastham said.

After her 57-day captivity in a closet, Patricia Hearst emerged to take the name "Tania" and denounce her family.

She took part in a San Francisco bank robbery, was caught by authorities in 1975, and was tried and convicted, serving 21 months in prison.

Six SLA members died in a May 1974 shootout with Los Angeles police when tear gas canisters fired by officers set the SLA hideout on fire.

After her arrest, Patricia Hearst renounced her captors and in 1979 married an ex-San Francisco police officer, Bernard Shaw, her former bodyguard. She has two children and lives in a wealthy Connecticut suburb.

After her arrest and trial, media focus on the family slowly faded, and her father returned to the relatively private life he had led before.

Recently, Forbes Magazine set Randolph Hearst's wealth at $1.8 billion and listed him as No. 150 of the 400 wealthiest people in the country. But acquaintances said that for all his riches and his role for many years as the family patriarch, Hearst often seemed down to earth.

"He was a very bright, thoughtful, caring guy," said William Coblentz, Hearst's attorney and friend for many years. "He was self-effacing, devoid of prejudice, and he cared for people. He had a desire to listen -- which a lot of people in his position do not have."

But Coblentz also said he found him "to be a man who sold himself short. I think he felt he didn't live up to the expectations of his father -- whatever they were. I think he felt he wasn't as smart as he should be -- which was absolutely untrue."

Hearst's mother, Millicent, gave birth to him and his twin brother, David, on Dec. 2, 1915, in New York City. David Hearst died in 1986.

Inevitably, the towering shadow of his father stretched over Randolph Hearst's life.

When William Randolph Hearst -- the inspiration for the powerful Orson Welles movie "Citizen Kane" -- died in 1951, he did not leave any of his five sons in charge of the media empire he had shaped out of the mining and real estate fortune left to him by his mother, Phoebe Apperson Hearst.


Instead, the 88-year-old Hearst left his vast holdings under the stewardship of professional managers: Hearst family members were given five of the 13 seats on the board of trustees running Hearst Corp. The trusts creating this arrangement are to remain in effect until the death of the last grandchild alive when Hearst died. That is expected about 2035.

"When you look at the trusts Randy's father established, the running of the company was left to outsiders because his father didn't have confidence in his sons," Coblentz said.

He described Randolph Hearst as "being content to let people not associated with the family run the company because they did so well," vastly increasing and diversifying the corporation's holdings.

Today, Hearst Corp. owns or manages 27 TV stations, 16 magazines, 12 daily newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, and several cable enterprises.

It also has huge real estate holdings, including timber and agricultural operations in California and commercial properties in New York City and San Francisco. Forbes estimated the corporation's 1999 revenues at $4.4 billion.

Throughout his career, Randolph Hearst held many positions within the corporation. At the time of his death, he was president of the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

"Randy Hearst shared his father's strong vision and his abiding belief in the media business," said Frank A. Bennack Jr., president and chief executive officer of Hearst Corp.

In the late 1930s, Hearst became an assistant to the publisher on one of the family's newspapers, the Atlanta Georgian. In 1938 he married Catherine Campbell of Atlanta.

After the family sold the Atlanta paper, Hearst moved to the Call-Bulletin in San Francisco in 1940, taking a job similar to the one he held in Atlanta. In the mid-'30s, he had worked as a young reporter at the Call-Bulletin.

In 1942, Hearst, an accomplished pilot, interrupted his newspaper career to take a commission as a second lieutenant in the Army's Air Transport Command. He rose to the rank of captain.

William Randolph Hearst III said some of his earliest memories of his uncle included the impression of him as a physically daring man who had been a flight instructor during World War II.

"I remember my father (the late William Randolph Hearst Jr.) told me, 'Your uncle could have been a professional pilot.' " William Randolph Hearst III said he had been told that sometime during World War II, his uncle had been piloting a plane in the United States, and it ran into trouble.

"He was able to put it down somewhere in a cornfield, and everyone in the plane walked away," his nephew said.

After his discharge from the Army, Hearst worked as an associate publisher at theOakland Post-Enquirer and in 1947 returned to the Call-Bulletin as executive editor. Three years later, he became publisher of the paper at age 34.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, he held several jobs in Hearst Publishing Co., and in 1965, he became both chairman of the executive committee of Hearst Corp. and one of its directors. In the early 1970s. he headed the Examiner and lived in Hillsborough.

Raul Ramirez, now news director of KQED in San Francisco, remembers how Hearst hired him away from the Washington Post to be a reporter on the Examiner.

At the time, Hearst's daughter was still being held by the SLA, which sent him tape recordings harshly attacking his family and his newspaper.

"I remember he pointed to his window and said, 'There is a city out there that I didn't know existed, and we need people like you to help me see it better,' " said Ramirez, who joined KQED in 1991. "I saw him as a very concerned and troubled father who had heard those taped observations that were foreign to him, but in some way they resonated with him."

In his private life, Hearst involved himself in many civic groups, sitting on the boards of several charities.

Although educated at some of the country's best private schools -- he graduated from the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey and attended Harvard University -- Hearst maintained an intense interest in publiceducation. He created about 40 programs designed to improve education, including attempts to increase computer training and early childhood curriculum.

"Randy gave a lot of money to school systems in California," said William Randolph Hearst III, who was the Examiner's publisher from 1984 to 1994 and today is a venture capitalist. "I think Randy was interested in finding ways of introducing the benefits of wealthy school districts to kids" without such benefits. "He got interested in the use of computers in the schools."

When he was relaxing, one of Hearst's favorite spots was Wyntoon, the Hearst family estate on thousands of acres of forested land near Mount Shasta. Often Jack Signorello, a longtime Hearst employee who acted as Hearst's driver and companion on many trips, would go to Wyntoon with him.

"He liked to get out by himself and think things over, I guess," said Signorello, who hunted deer on the Hearst land at San Simeon, caught sailfish in Mexico and went duck hunting in Marysville with Hearst. "Every time he caught a fish, he'd holler out, 'I got one, Jack!' "

Earlier this year, Hearst bought the Vanderbilt mansion in Manalapan, Fla., for $29.87 million from Mel Simon, owner of the Indiana Pacers professional basketball team.

Hearst and his first wife, Catherine, were divorced in 1982. She died last year. He married Maria Scruggs later that year, and the marriage ended in divorce in 1986. He married his third wife, Veronica de Uribe, in 1987.

Up to the last, Hearst remained interested in the business workings and content of his family's newspaper holdings.

"Randy called up regularly to complain about the size of the stock type in the business section or to talk about politics," said Phil Bronstein, former Examiner executive editor.

"He always struck me as being a kind person, and he had a keen interest in what was in the paper," said Bronstein, who became executive editor of The Chronicle after Hearst Corp. bought it. "Randy clearly paid attention to what was going on in the world."

Along with his wife, Veronica, and daughter Patricia Campbell Hearst Shaw, he is survived by his four other daughters: Catherine Hearst, Virginia Anne Hearst Randt, Anne Randolph Hearst and Victoria Veronica Hearst.

Family members said a funeral will be held tomorrow in New York City. Hearst's body will be brought to California on Thursday for burial in the family plot at Colma.

Randolph Hearst

Although his accomplishments as a businessman held their own, Randolph A. Hearst's life would forever be eclipsed publicly by the looming shadow of his media mogul father, William Randolph Hearst, and his daughter, Patty Hearst's abduction by the Symbionese Liberation Army. He and his twin brother, David, were born on December 2, 1915, in New York City, to Hearst and his wife, 

Millicent. He followed the protocol of a dutiful heir, navigating the family business to success thought the 20th century.

Early Life and Career

Randolph Apperson Hearst and his twin brother, David, were born on December 2, 1915, in New York City, to newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst and his wife, Millicent, a former chorus girl, making five sons in the family. Apperson was the maiden name of his paternal grandmother, Phoebe Apperson Hearst, with whom he and his brothers spent summer months, at her California estate at Wyntoon, until her death in 1919.

Randolph first attended prep school, the Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, before moving on to Harvard University.

He entered the family business not long after graduation, working first at the Atlanta Georgian. Though the talent for journalism in the family lay with his second brother, William Randolph Jr. (who later won a Pulitzer Prize for journalism), Randolph did meet his wife there, Catherine Wood Campbell; they married in 1938 and together would have five daughters.

Hearst took a break from the family business to serve in World War I from 1942 to 1945, achieving the rank of captain in the U.S. Army Air Force, Air Transport Command. He went on to work at the San Francisco Call-Bulletin and the Oakland Post-Enquirer before becoming publisher. As the business his father built began faltering at mid-century, Hearst was involved in decisions to cut the failing arms and refocus efforts on television and magazines, helping guide the company to a thriving media empire, and, what was even more rare, a privately held one. In 1973, he was appointed chairman of the Hearst board.

Defining Moments

Primarily a quiet and unassuming man, Randolph A. Hearst was more comfortable tending to the business concerns of the company rather that the more flashy public stance his father took.

But on February 4, 1974, he was unwittingly thrust into the spotlight when his middle daughter, Patricia, 19, was abducted by the Symbionese Liberation Army. The series of violent and bizarre events that unfurled over the ensuing year were stressful and confusing. Hearst was constantly at the center of the melee, as the domestic terrorists issued ultimatums and dangled Patty's voice and fears for her safety as power plays. Holding him responsible as the figurehead of corporate America and an "enemy of the people," the SLA ultimately demanded Hearst feed the poor of California in trade for the heiress—an unwieldy and rather broad demand that he nevertheless tried to meet.

There was a particular irony to the demand, as his mother, Millicent Hearst, had established the Free Milk Fund for Babies in 1921, which provided free milk to New York City's poor for many decades, but it is unlikely the SLA was aware of this.

And though Hearst funded a $2 million enterprise called People in Need to hand out free food, the terrorists did not return his daughter.

Instead, Patty Hearst renounced her family, took the name Tania and held up a bank in San Francisco with her abductors the following year. Caught and convicted, Hearst hired high-profile lawyer F. Lee Bailey to argue in court that Patty had been brainwashed, 

but she was sentenced and served 21 months in jail—commuted from seven years by PresidentJimmy Carter.

Death and Legacy

The ordeal had taken its toll on the Hearst marriage, and the couple ultimately divorced. He remarried twice more before dying of a stroke on December 18, 2000, in New York City. He had just retired as Hearst chairman in 1996, and the year before had bought a sprawling mansion in Florida for his third wife, Veronica. For the first time in his life, Hearst had begun to enjoy a glittering social life under her auspices.

Hearst served on the boards of many charitable and cultural institutions and funded many educational scholarship programs, but regardless of any good he did, he will always be remembered in the shadow of his larger-than-life father and the abduction of his daughter.

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