Hartford, Huntington 1911–2008

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Hartford, Huntington 1911–2008

(George Huntington Hartford, II)


See index for CA sketch: Born April 18, 1911, in New York, NY; died May 19, 2008, in Lyford Cay, Bahamas. Philanthropist, financier, and author. Hartford was born into a life of wealth and privilege, and he intended to use his substantial inheritance to make his mark on the world. At the end of it all, the fortune disappeared, and the heir to the A&P supermarket millions was, at best, a laughingstock, and at worst, a forgotten pauper. Hartford saw himself as a patron of the arts, founding the Gallery of Modern Art in New York City, the Huntington Hartford Foundation artists' colony in California, the Huntington Hartford Theater in Hollywood, Show magazine, and other artistic ventures; not one succeeded under his ownership. He founded the Hartford Model Agency, wrote and produced a Broadway adaptation of Jane Eyre, and financed a Hollywood film for one of ex-wives to star in; all failed. Hartford saw himself as a financier, founding the Paradise Island resort in the Bahamas, an oil-shale mining operation, and a graphology institute, and attempted to develop an automatic system for parking garages; his fortune continued to dwindle. Hartford also indulged his personal interests, spending lavishly on showgirls and actresses (including Marilyn Monroe, he claimed), yachting, and nightclubs. Finally, when all was lost, he retreated to the Bahamas, where he spent the rest of his life quietly with a daughter. Hartford had once fancied himself a writer but, aside from his failed stage play and a brief stint as a reporter for PM (a position that he actually purchased with an investment in the newspaper), he wrote little. Hartford's 1964 book Art or Anarchy? was a lacerating diatribe against the modern arts (including the work of Picasso, William Faulkner, and Tennessee Williams), which he maligned as vulgar, immoral, and without meaning or value.



Gubernick, Lisa Rebecca, Squandered Fortune: The Life and Times of Huntington Hartford, Putnam (New York, NY), 1991.


Chicago Tribune, May 20, 2008, sec. 2, p. 5.

Los Angeles Times, May 20, 2008, p. B8.

Times (London, England), May 22, 2008, p. 69.

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Hartford, Huntington 1911–2008

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