William Randolph Hearst Net Worth 2022 – Salary, Income, Earnings

William Randolph Hearst Net Worth 

William Randolph Hearst had an estimated net worth of $30 billion at death. William Randolph Hearst is best known for publishing the largest chain of American newspapers in the late 19th century, and particularly for sensational “yellow journalism.” He earned most of his income from his media business. 

William Randolph Hearst amassed a massive media empire through his wealth and privilege. He was a pioneer of “yellow journalism,” and his supporters lauded him while his detractors vilified him. He considered running for President of the United States at one point. The Great Depression took its toll on Hearst’s company, and his influence dwindled over time, though his company survived.

To calculate the net worth of William Randolph Hearst, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: William Randolph Hearst
Net Worth: $30 Billion
Monthly Salary: $50 Million
Annual Income: $1 Billion
Source of Wealth: Politician, Film Producer, Publisher

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Early Life and Career

For nearly a half-century, William Randolph Hearst dominated journalism. On April 29, 1863, in San Francisco, California, to George Hearst and Phoebe Apperson Hearst, young William was educated in private schools and on European tours. He went to Harvard College and worked as an editor for the Harvard Lampoon before being expelled for misbehavior.

Hearst was inspired by the New York World newspaper and its crusading publisher, Joseph Pulitzer, while at Harvard. Hearst’s father, a multimillionaire from the California Gold Rush, had purchased the failing San Francisco Examiner newspaper to advance his political career. Hearst was given the opportunity to run the publication in 1887. Hearst put a lot of money into the paper, upgrading the equipment and hiring the best writers of the time, such as Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, and Jack London.

As editor, Hearst pioneered a sensational style of reporting that became known as “yellow journalism,” with sprawling banner headlines and hyperbolic stories, many of which were based on rumor and half-truths. A quarter of the page space was devoted to crime stories, but the paper also published investigative reports on government corruption and public institution negligence. Within a few years, circulation grew and the paper thrived.

Building a Media Empire

With the Examiner’s success, Hearst turned his attention to larger markets and his former idol, now rival, Pulitzer. In 1895, he purchased the New York Morning Journal (previously owned by Pulitzer) and a year later launched the Evening Journal. He attempted to win the circulation wars by employing the same style of journalism he had used at the Examiner. The competition was fierce, and Hearst reduced the price of the newspaper to one cent. Pulitzer responded by matching the price. Hearst retaliated by raiding the World’s staff and offering better pay and positions. By 1897, Hearst’s two New York papers had surpassed Pulitzer’s circulation of 1.5 million.

Politics came to dominate Hearst’s newspapers in the last decade of the nineteenth century, revealing his complex political views. While his newspaper supported the Democratic Party, he opposed the party’s presidential candidate in 1896, William Jennings Bryan. Hearst advocated for war with Spain to liberate Cuba in 1898, which the Democrats opposed. Hearst’s extravagant lifestyle shielded him from the troubled masses he seemed to champion in his newspapers.

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Political Career and Children

Hearst followed in his father’s footsteps and entered politics in 1900. After establishing newspapers in several other cities, including Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles, he launched his campaign for the presidency of the United States, spending $2 million in the process. The journey wasn’t long. In 1902 and 1904, Hearst was elected to the House of Representatives.

Maintaining his media empire while running for mayor of New York City and governor of New York, however, left him with little time to serve in Congress. Angry coworkers and voters retaliated, and he lost both New York races, effectively ending his political career.

Hearst married showgirl Millicent Willson, 21, on April 27, 1903, in New York City. The marriage is thought to have been arranged as much for political reasons as for Hearst’s attraction to glamour. Millicent’s mother allegedly ran a Tammany Hall-connected brothel in the city, and Hearst undoubtedly saw the benefit of being well-connected to New York’s Democratic power structure. Millicent bore Hearst five sons, all of whom went into the media business with their father.

Later Career

Hearst returned to his publishing business full-time after leaving politics. Hearst’s roving eye was drawn to Ziegfeld Follies showgirl Marion Davies in 1917, and by 1919, he was openly living with her in California. Hearst’s mother, Phoebe, died the same year, leaving him the family fortune, which included a 168,000-acre ranch in San Simeon, California. Hearst spent millions of dollars over the next several decades expanding the property, constructing a Baroque-style castle, filling it with European artwork, and surrounding it with exotic animals and plants.

By the 1920s, one out of every four Americans read a Hearst publication. Hearst’s media empire had expanded to include 20 daily newspapers and 11 Sunday newspapers in 13 cities. He was the owner of the King Features syndicate, the International News Service, and six magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, and Harper’s Bazaar. He also dabbled in filmmaking with a newsreel and a film company. He and his empire had reached their pinnacle.

The stock market crash and subsequent economic depression were devastating to the Hearst Corporation, particularly the newspapers, which were not entirely self-sustaining. Hearst was forced to close his film company and several of his publications. By 1937, the corporation had been ordered to reorganize, and Hearst was forced to sell many of his antiques and art collections to pay creditors.

His editorials became more strident and vitriolic during this period, and he appeared out of touch. He turned against President Franklin D. Roosevelt, despite the fact that the majority of his readers were working-class people who supported FDR. Hearst’s declining reputation was exacerbated in 1934 when he visited Berlin and interviewed Adolf Hitler, thereby legitimizing Hitler’s leadership in Germany.

Citizen Kane, a thinly veiled biography of Hearst’s rise and fall, was released in 1941 by young film director Orson Welles. The film, which was nominated for nine Academy Awards, was praised for its innovative cinematography, music, and narrative structure, and was later voted one of the world’s greatest films. Hearst was furious. He pooled his resources to prevent the film’s release and even offered to pay for the destruction of all prints. Welles refused, and the film lived and thrived as a result.

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Final Years and Death

Hearst spent the last ten years of his life with diminishing influence over his media empire and the public. He died on August 14, 1951, at the age of 88, in Beverly Hills, California.

Further Reading

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