Glenn McCarthy

Glenn Herbert McCarthy (December 25, 1907 - December 26, 1988) was a wildcatter and a flamboyant oil tycoon. Within the oil industry and the media he was sometimes referred to as "Diamond Glenn" and "The King of the Wildcatters".Staff Writer. " [ Biography: Glenn McCarthy] ." "Spartacus Educational." Retrieved on 2006-11-26.] McCarthy was noted as an oil prospector and entrepreneur who owned many businesses in diverse fields. McCarthy founded the Shamrock Hotel in Houston, which gained him brief national fame and inspired the fictional character Jett Rink in Edna Ferber's 1952 novel "Giant"" [ Distinguished HISD Alumni] ," "Houston Independent School District"] along with its 1956 "film adaptation" which starred James Dean in the role.

Early life

McCarthy was born in Beaumont, Texas almost seven years after the discovery of oil at Spindletop. His father Will worked in the oil fields and from the age of eight Glenn served the roughnecks as a waterboy for 50 cents a day.Evan Kelly. " [ McCarthy, Glenn Herbert] ." "Handbook of Texas Online." Retrieved on 2006-11-26.] The family moved to Houston where his father hoped to take advantage of an oil drilling boom near the city. When success eluded him, Will moved the family to Port Arthur for a time before returning to the east side of Houston. When he was 17 Glenn enlisted in the U.S. Navy but soon returned to San Jacinto High School.Staff Writer. " [ Great Houstonians - Glenn H. McCarthy] ." "Houston History." Retrieved on 2006-11-26.] He attended Tulane University on a football scholarship but injured his leg. He later attended Texas A&M and Rice University before dropping out of college and venturing into business. When he was 23 McCarthy married 16-year-old Faustine Lee, whose father William Lee was a partner in Yount-Lee Oil Company. McCarthy later claimed he had less than $1.50 to his name when he got married.Robert L. Gaston." [ Glenn McCarthy, "King of the Wildcatters"] ." "DrillingInfo Community." Retrieved on 2006-11-26.] They had four children.


He talked his father and brother into working with him drilling for oil in Hardin County, Texas. The first attempt failed but two years later he made another attempt farther south near Anahuac and succeeded. Between 1931 and 1942 he struck oil 38 times.In 1941 McCarthy bought land where the future Astrodome would be built along with convert|4800|acre|km2 of what is now Sharpstown. During the 1940s he established 11 new oilfields and expanded several others.

Lavish lifestyle

In 1949 McCarthy built the Shamrock Hotel in Houston, spending $21,000,000 for its construction, a huge sum at the time (this project was intended to be part of a planned but never completed hotel, indoor shopping and entertainment complex called McCarthy Center). He then held what has been cited as "Houston’s biggest party" for the hotel's grand opening.Staff Writer." [ The Tallest Texans - Glenn McCarthy] ." "Houston Chronicle." Retrieved on 2006-11-26.] This raucous event involved dozens of Hollywood celebrities, many of whom were flown in to Houston Municipal Airport on a Boeing 307 Stratoliner airplane which he had recently acquired from Howard Hughes.Staff Writer." [ Houston’s Aviation History Timeline] ."The Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society." Retrieved on 2006-11-26.]

McCarthy spent lavishly, had borrowed heavily to leverage his often speculative business activities and the next three years brought financial trouble. Despite its national reputation and local popularity the hotel's business was much weaker than anticipated and the SEC investigated his attempt to market 10,000,000 shares of his new company, Glenn McCarthy, Inc. He defaulted on payments of some of his debts and promissory notes to other firms.Staff Writer. " [,9171,857347,00.html Trouble for McCarthy] ."TIME Magazine." Written August 11, 1952. Retrieved on 2006-11-26.] In 1952 a life insurance company acquired title to the Shamrock Hotel, which was then sold to the Hilton Hotels Corporation.Diana J. Kleiner. " [ Hilton Hotels Corporation] ." "Handbook of Texas Online." Retrieved on 2006-11-30.]

Later life

McCarthy refinanced his debts. He later launched a brand of bourbon whiskey called Wildcatter. His business holdings included KXYZ radio station in Houston, two banks, a bar, the McCarthy Chemical Company, a magazine, 14 "throwaway" newspapers and a movie production company known as Glenn McCarthy Productions (some of these business were successful, others were not). He served as chairman of the former Eastern Air Lines and president of the United States Petroleum Association. McCarthy avoided publicity during his later career and lived in the La Porte area near Houston. He died on December 26, 1988, 18 months after the demolition of the Shamrock Hilton.


External links

* [ "Glenn "King of the Wildcatters" McCarthy" from the Find-a-Grave website]
* [ George Bush Presidential Library and Museum "100 Tall Texans – Glenn McCarthy"]
* [ Glenn H. McCarthy - Great Citizens - 172 Years of Historic Houston]

NAME=McCarthy, Glenn Herbert
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=McCarthy, Glenn; Diamond Glenn
SHORT DESCRIPTION=20th century Texan oil tycoon
DATE OF BIRTH=December 25, 1907
PLACE OF BIRTH=Beaumont, Texas
DATE OF DEATH=December 26, 1988
PLACE OF DEATH=La Porte, Texas

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