Murdoch was ‘a grandson of the Scottish manse’
The multi-billionaire’s grandfather, Patrick John Murdoch, was a Scots-born Presbyterian minister who emigrated to Australia in 1884 with his wife, Annie. Grandad Murdoch created TWO famous journalists: his son, Sir Keith, and his grandson Rupert. Perhaps that was where they inherited their disdain for authority: Rupert’s grandfather spent a night in a Melbourne jail for contempt of court by refusing to divulge the contents of a letter that had been sent to his church and which featured in a major libel case.
Today a true-blue, capitalist Thatcherite; at Oxford ‘Red Rupert’, the Commie
Rupert drank, smoked, gambled and espoused far-Left causes during his ‘rite of passage’ years at the gulag that was that most English of British universities. News of his father’s sudden death in Australia was broken to him by historian Asa Briggs, his much-admired tutor at Worcester College. Lord Briggs himself died in March 2016.
Rupert’s head size: at 3XL or 61cms he wears a h-u-g-e hat
I know, because when I visited Cavan, his property sixty miles from Canberra, he suggested an after-lunch walk in the paddocks. “You’ll need a hat,” he said. “Get one of mine from the house.”
I must have been a tight squeeze at birth because as well as boneless ears thar won’t hold headset earplugs my head that is deeper front to back than from side to side. Maybe Rupert should have been a forceps delivery, too. At any rate, he’s a Big ‘Ead!
Murdoch once sold copies of his New York Post to rail commuters at Grand Central
I was there that late summer Friday in New York, 1980; he had given me a lift to the station in his chauffeured limo. I was heading home to White Plains and he was headed further upstate for the weekend. As we approached Charlie Brown’s for a parting whisky soda at the the upstairs bar he spotted a news vendor laden with armloads of Posts and the rival NY Daily News and struggling to cope with demand from the home-going crowd.
Snatching up a pile of Posts – Posts only, he wasn’t about to sell the News – he began hectoring the crowd to buy. Only when the suckered crowd of City suits thinned, each one armed with a Post for the trip home, did he return his ‘unsolds’ and a handful of nickels and quarters to the suspicious vendor.
“Great business!” he beamed at us both.
Rupert didn’t like to fire his own editors – at least, not in Oz
In my day as editor of the Sydney Daily Telegraph and deputy editor of The Australian I never experienced the fact first-hand, thank God, but old hands told me he would leave instructions with his CEO, Ken Cowley, who would arrange a meeting with the unfortunate soon-to-be-dear departed. Only when Rupert’s jet left the runway at Kingsford Smith Airport was the coup de grace delivered back in Surry Hills
It could all happen very suddenly, too. The editor to whom I was intended to play deputy when I flew out New York was not the editor who occupied that role when I landed in Sydney 27 hours later. Such was life and career death in the Antipodes!