Hearst is an American newspaper heiress grown up into a New York
celebrity. She is the granddaughter of William
Randolph Hearst, who was one of the country’s most famous newspaper
moguls and New York
politician. The 1941 Orson Welles’ film, Citizen
Kane was based in part on the life of William Randolph
Campbell Hearst was born February 20, 1954 in San Francisco, California,
the third of five daughters of Randolph Hearst and Catherine Campbell.
Raised primarily in the affluent San Francisco suburb of Hillsborough,
Hearst attended Crystal Springs School
for Girls in Hillsborough. Later she attended the Santa Catalina School
for Girls in Monterey.
Rebellion marked her teens, a period that included fights with nuns
(she told one nun at her school to "go to hell"), experience with LSD,
and a sexual history that began at age 15.
attending Crystal Springs School for Girls, Hearst met Steven Weed, a
math teacher at the school who
eventually became her boyfriend and fiancé. Hearst
lived with Weed while attending Menlo
College and the two
moved to Berkeley when Weed received a
teaching fellowship at the University of California.
Hearst enrolled at Berkeley for her sophomore year and
majored in art history. Weed, in his book My
Search for Patty Hearst, described their relationship as,
“pleasantly routinized with our studies, movies on weekends, laundromat
and grocery runs . . .. We were just two people. We
were in love and planning to be married.”
was still a college student when a radical political group called the
Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) kidnapped her in February of 1974.
However, instead of a victim, Hearst became a member of
the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List after joining the SLA
and participating in their criminal activities. Hearst
was eventually arrested in 1975 and was convicted of bank robbery.
Her defense was centered on brainwashing and fears that
she would be killed if she did not participate, but a jury found her
guilty on both counts.
Since her release from prison,
Patty Hearst has led a somewhat normal life. In
David Patrick Columbia’s New York Social Diary she is described
as a lovely, sweet soft-spoken personality, devoted mother (two
sister, daughter and wife. Now, Mrs.
Hearst-Shaw lives in New York and Connecticut
with her former bodyguard husband, Bernard Shaw and their two daughters.
Bernard Shaw is now the head of security for the Hearst
Corporation. Patty Hearst-Shaw has developed into
somewhat of a celebrity, appearing in movies, television sitcoms, and
writing books, including Patty Hearst: Her Own Story.
Hearst has appeared in four John Waters movies, “Cry-Baby”
(1990), “Serial Mom” (1994), “Pecker” (1998) and “Cecil B. Demented”
(2000). She also does charitable work for
Alzheimer’s and AIDS groups and for Meals on Wheels. Her
own account of her experiences was made into a 1988 film, Patty
Hearst’s attempts to forget her experience with the SLA, in 1999 Hearst
was ordered to testify against former SLA
fugitive Sara Jane Olson. The prosecution planned
to base much of their case on testimony from Hearst. Interviewed
by CNN’s Larry King, Hearst said that she believed Olson, along with
other SLA leaders, “wanted to bring
down the country.” She also compared the SLA to the
bombers of the Oklahoma
City Federal Building and the violent 1960s
Charles Manson cult.
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