William Randolph Hearst was born on April 29th 1863 and became a billionaire by becoming a leading newspaper publisher. He was born in San Francisco in California, and was the son of millionaire mining engineer, George Hearst. He went to Harvard and was a member of several notable groups before he got expelled for presenting his professors with chamber pots that had their names painted on them. He then entered the publishing business in 1887 when he took charge of the San Francisco Examiner from his father which he had acquired in 1880. He then got the most up-to-date equipment available at the time and hired the most gifted writers around during this period such as Jack London and Mark Twain which increased the newspaper’s success. When he moved to New York City in 1896 he took over The New York Journal which was failing at the time, using money from his mother Phoebe Apperson. He hired the writers Julian Hawthorne and Stephen Crane and stole Richard F. Outcault from Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World. The New
York Journal became extremely successfully due to the fact that its cost was lowered to only one cent and it used sensationalist yellow journalism. Hearst then gradually acquired newspapers in other cities such as Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago. He kept expanding until he had 28 newspapers in various major American cities such as the Boston American, the Los Angeles Examiner, the Chicago Examiner, the Atlanta Georgian, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Detroit Times, the Washington Herald and the Washington Times. He also expanded into magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, the New York Daily Mirror, Harper’s Bazaar and Town and Country, as well as expanding into book publishing which led to him making the biggest newspaper and magazine business on the globe.
He was elected as a democrat in the United States House of Representatives but failed to become mayor of New York City and governor and lieutenant of New York although he ran for the positions. However his newspapers and magazines still allowed him significant political influence. He became leader of Democratic Party in 1896 and stayed as the leader until 1935.
His empire reached its peak in 1928, before the Great Depression. The Great Depression hit his empire hard, World War Two helped to repair some of the damage but the empire never reached the same level again. Hearst died at the age of 88 on August 14th, 1951 from a heart attack.