Updated: Mon, 23 Dec 2013 10:30:00 GMT | By MSN Money staff
History's biggest Scrooges: The world'€™s stingiest misers

J Paul Getty

J Paul Getty (© Getty)
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J Paul Getty

J Paul Getty made his fortune during the Great Depression and had controlling interests in over 200 businesses, including the Getty Oil Company. In 1966, Guinness World Records named him the world's richest private citizen and he was worth over $2 billion at the time of his death in 1976. But Getty was notoriously frugal and even had a payphone installed at his English mansion. He also famously refused to pay a $17 million ransom when his teenage grandson was kidnapped in Rome in the '70s. After the refusal, the boy's ear was cut off and posted to a local newspaper; Getty eventually agreed to pay a reduced amount of $2.2 million.

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