William Randolph Hearst is an important figure from the 20th century whose influence extended to publishing, politics, motion pictures, the art world and everyday American life.
Born in San Francisco, California, on April 29, 1863, as the only child of George and Phoebe Hearst, young William had the opportunity to see and experience the world as few do because of his father’s successful mining career. At the age of 10, Hearst and his mother toured Europe, gathering ideas and inspiration from the grandeur and scale of castles, art and history.
In 1887, Hearst became proprietor of the San Francisco Examiner. Shortly after, he purchased the New York Morning Journal, which would become the second in a long list of newspaper holdings that Hearst acquired throughout his life. He started one of the first print-media companies to enter radio broadcasting and was an early pioneer of television. Hearst was a major producer of movie newsreels and is widely credited with creating the comic strip syndication business. In 1902, his interest in politics led to his election to the United States House of Representatives as a congressman from New York.
In addition to his successful business endeavors, Hearst amassed a vast and impressive art collection that included classical paintings, tapestries, religious textiles, oriental rugs, antiquities, sculptures, silver, furniture and antique ceilings. Much of this collection found its home at the Hearst Castle and Hearst’s various other properties.
He was married to Millicent Willson and the couple had five sons. William Randolph Hearst died on August 14, 1951, and is interred in the Hearst family mausoleum at the Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Colma, California.