Sir James Goldsmith

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Sir James Goldsmith, "a flamboyant British-French financier who maintained three families, homes in four countries and used his billions to fight the European Union, died Friday [1997] in Spain, a spokesman said...

"Sir James made his fortune as a highly successful corporate raider before turning to politics. He formed his own Referendum Party in Britain with the single mission of combatting further European integration while maintaining a seat from France in the European Parliament in Strasbourg...

"Born into a prosperous banking family, Sir James went on to amass a personal fortune estimated at up to $2.5 billion. Having frequented luxurious hotels in his youth, he briefly flirted with the idea of working in one, but soon turned to finance, excelling in the art of taking over troubled companies...

"He had homes in London, Paris, Bordeaux, France, Spain and an 18,000-acre estate on the Pacific coast of Mexico...

"In the United States, he was best known for his 1986 raid on the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, which became an issue in Congressional hearings on takeovers...

"But his attempts to occupy a position in the world of newspaper publishing never panned out. Although he built up a big stake in Britain's Express Newspapers in the 1970's, he could not take control...

"He was knighted by Britain in 1976 and made a knight of the Legion of Honor by France in 1978." [1]

"For Goldsmith was the very archetype of that much-abused figure, the ruthless, rootless cosmopolitan financier. He was also vastly energetic, deeply manic-depressive and liable to fits of rage - often directed at journalists - and paranoia, culminating in a spell of extreme anti-Communism in the 1980s...

"He inherited many of his traits from his father Frank Goldsmith, the descendant of a distinguished Jewish banking family from Frankfurt once as famous as the Rothschilds (an element of competition with them formed a significant, if unexpressed part of the son's make-up). Frank's grandfather Adolph had moved first to France and then to Britain during the anti-Semitic period of the Dreyfus case...

"An even worse confusion arose because of his friendship with John Aspinall and the other cronies of Lord Lucan...

"By this time he was being urged by Laure de Boulay de la Meurthe (by then virtually the only woman in his life since Annabel had refused to move to the United States) to relax, and by his brother Teddy, a well- known if eccentric ecologist, to invest his energies and his money in saving the environment. Characteristically this involved buying 18,000 acres of unspoilt Mexican forest and building a simple, but luxurious house of one tiny patch of it, a retreat where he spent an increasing amount of time. But this did not hamper his political career." [2]

His brother is Teddy Goldsmith, and his daughter is Isabel Goldsmith-Patino. His sons are Ben Goldsmith and Zac Goldsmith. Another daughter is Jemima Khan.

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References

  1. Sir James Goldsmith, Financier, Dies at 64, New York Times, accessed April 26, 2009.
  2. Obituary: Sir James Goldsmith, independent.co.uk, accessed June 12, 2010.