In a sensual voice that sounds as if Teddy Lynch Getty Gaston just stepped off the stage of the night club, The New Yorker, where she was singing when she met J.Paul Getty, Sr., she reminisces. "Honey, he was drug addict," she says recalling the recent death of Jean Paul Getty III who was J.Paul Getty, Sr.'s, grandson. "He killed himself with drugs. We all tried everything. You know his father, Paul Getty II, was knighted by the Queen of England. He had been a good man. I think it is a mistake to give drug addicts money. Finally the boy's grandfather gave the criminals two million and they released the boy," she pauses and lowers her voice. "Everybody has tried to make all the Gettys look cheap, but the boy's grandfather did what he could when he felt it was the right time. Afterall J.Paul Getty, Sr., gave his money to his son, John Paul Getty II who was on dope and whose wife Talitha was the first to die from drugs. Though J.Paul Getty, Sr., gave two million to the criminals, he wanted his son to pay him back. He did not like the idea that any of his children were on dope and did not want to fund their addictions. J.Paul Getty, Sr., only had one drink before dinner. He was not a drinker or an addict though his children were." Clearly J.Paul Getty, Sr., was not an enabler.
At age 97, Teddy who was the fifth and final wife of J.Paul Getty,Sr., is writing her autobiography, Alone Together. Four years ago her neck was broken, but not her spirit. She lost the use of one of her fingers, walks with a walker, but still rides a stationary bike a mile a day. When she speaks of Jean-Paul Getty, Sr., she refers to him merely as Paul. Why is Teddy writing the book now?
"I want people to know you have to keep going. You have to persist. My story may help other women. Paul and I had a boy named Timothy in 1946. He died in 1958 at the age of 12. His tumor kept growing and growing. What money I've gotten--and I have little--I've given to the Timothy Ware Getty Foundation in honor of or my son with Paul. Its motto is 'It matters not the color or creed, but is the child in need?' Timothy died because the hospital gave him something he should not have been given."
When asked if she sued, Teddy replies, "Paul said, 'What good would it do? Don't be mad. It'll hurt us both.' We decided to make the foundation which is also for saving horses, tigers, lions, elephants," Teddy recalls in her raspy voice.
Had she seen Paul after their divorce? She fondly remembers, "My daughter, Gigi (Gaston), and I went to see him in 1975 at his home on Sutton Place. What man who has a lot of money doesn't have women around him? I don't think he cared too much about any of them. He said to Gigi, 'I think it's a good idea if your mother and I got married again.' I told him we were friends and it's best this way. Gigi looked sad."
Teddy pauses and says, "Paul was a wonderful man. Brilliant. Sweetie, don't you think men you've loved have to keep working or they become fat, old, tired and ache. My Paul wouldn't rest. One night he came home when we were living in Santa Monica and said, 'The circus is in town and we must go. I want to see the elephants.' And just like that we went to the circus to see the elephants."
About plastic surgery, Teddy adds, "It's wonderful. I'm too old for it and use a scarf." She laughs her cabaret laugh and you can envision her on the stage of The New Yorker when in 1935 Jean Paul Getty, Sr.,came in with a bunch of friends. "Everyone had money in that club, but you never knew how much.
Night and Day was the song being played and he asked me to dance. He looked like Leslie Howard, Jean-Pierre Aumont and Leopold Stokowski. He was a handsome man, I was 18 and he was 40. During our dance I asked him, 'What do you do?'
'I'm in Oil,' he said.
'I haven't seen that show,' I said.
'It isn't a show. It's the kind that you put in your car.' We met in 1935 and married in Rome in 1939. When Paul and I met, he had to be close to Arabia. Paul studied Arabic and Russian and because he spoke Arabic, he was able to clinch the deal for the oil from Saudi Arabia with King ibn Saud." She laughs her throaty laugh.
"I thought this was splendid. If you go to France, you better speak French or you're not going to get anything to eat."
Once a music student at Harcum College outside of Bryn Mawr, this former East Coast cabaret singer who sang in the film The Lost Weekend likes living on the West Coast..
"Today my spirit is here." Teddy pauses to reflect. "You asked why I like California. It's so free. So natural. I look out at the sea and see the end of the water and suddenly at the end of the water it becomes sky. I like to see that."
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