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Sir James Goldsmith was one of the most successful businessmen of the twentieth century. When he died in 1997, he left a fortune estimated to be in the region of $3 billion to his nine children and three surviving wives, who he lived with concurrently. But he was far more than that. In his later years he became a passionate environmentalist, politician and prophet, warning of many of the issues which threaten our troubled society today. Goldsmith first made worldwide headlines in 1953 when, as a twenty-year-old playboy and gambler, he eloped with the daughter of one of the richest men in the world, who then pursued him with a private army. Later he built successful businesses around the world, including Mothercare in Britain. But he made most of his money in the United States in the 1980s where he mounted some of the most spectacular takeover bids Wall Street has ever seen. Time magazine labelled him 'The Lucky Gambler'. Later still, despite knowing he had terminal cancer, he entered politics, becoming an MEP in France and founding the Referendum Party in Britain. Ivan Fallon spent many hours interviewing Goldsmith, whom he knew for over twenty years, for his original book, Billionaire, published in 1991. Comprehensively updated, Jimmy describes the final, dramatic six years of Goldsmith's life, leading up to his death in July 1997, as well as the aftermath, using access to the Goldsmith family and advisers, as well as Goldsmith's own archives.
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Ivan Fallon is a writer and journalist. He writes for The Independent, and was formerly editor of The Sunday Times.
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