Gisela Getty Biography


Birthday: April 3, 1949 (Aries)

Born In: Kassel, Germany

Gisela Getty, of the German twins’ fame, is a photographer, journalist, director, designer, and writer. She grew famous alongside her sister Jutta Schmidt during the 1970s hipster era. The twins were seen lunching, dancing, and hanging out with iconic artists and celebrities of the era. They were reputed for being photographers and journalists who captured everything around them. They perfectly represented the atmosphere of rejection in West Berlin during the time as they hobnobbed with everybody, from famous directors to street robbers. After establishing a name for themselves in Berlin as reputed filmmakers, the duo went to Italy to explore themselves further and set up a community for bohemians. Gisela’s career involved several journalist reports, photographs of international repute, award-winning films, books, and documentaries about the flower-power era. She has taken a backseat in the public eye now and currently works as a photographer in Munich.

Quick Facts

German Celebrities Born In April

Also Known As: Gisela Schmidt

Age: 75 Years, 75 Year Old Females


Spouse/Ex-: Gerhard Büttenbender (1971–1972), John Paul Getty III (m. 1974–1993), Rolf Zacher (1972–1973)

father: Julius Schmidt

mother: Ruth Schmidt

siblings: Jutta Winkelmann

children: Anna Getty, Balthazar Getty

Born Country: Germany

German Women Women Photographers

Notable Alumni: Kassel Arts Academy

More Facts

education: Kassel Arts Academy

The atmosphere during the 1970s era was ripe for artists and other creative spirits to thrive. It was during this time that Gisela and her sister Jutta made a name for themselves as photographers and representatives of the 1968 movement. Gisela attended Waldorf School, Kassel and later moved to Kassel Art Academy to study photography, graphic design, and film in 1968. In the same year, she along with Jutta, Adolf Winkelmann, and Gerhard Buttenbender founded the Kasseler Filmkollektiv. This film collective involving experimental films was successful. Their film on the assembly line worker Heinrich Viel even won the Grand Pix at the Westdeutscher Kurzfilmtage in 1969 at Oberhausen.
In 1972, she moved to Berlin after being fascinated by Rainer Langhans, the writer and filmmaker. During her time in Berlin, she met her second husband, the actor Rolf Zacher, and followed him to Rome in 1973. Her stay in Italy provided her the most conducive playground for her feelings. LSD and other drug were common, and Gisela was deeply influenced by her experience under drugs. She wanted to lead her life like a living theatre and constantly experience a sense of energy. It was during her time in Rome that she met the famous John Paul Getty III, the son of the richest man in the world. After dating him for a brief while, things took a drastic turn when John Paul Getty III was kidnapped by gansters, an event that reverberated across the influential Getty family. Upon his return, Gisela married him and moved with him to Los Angeles and San Francisco. She continued to lead her adventurous, wild life that was typical of the era.
Her creative output over the last three decades has been nothing less than impressive. She co-wrote the book ‘The Twins or The Attempts to Kiss Money and Spirit’ in 2008 along with Jutta and chronicled the life of the 1968 generation. Despite meeting negative criticism, the book is said to portray the narcissism of the era perfectly. She later co-wrote ‘Under the Cherry Tree’ in 2013 and ‘Kidnapping Paul: The Story of a Kidnapping’ in 2018. While all her books have been panned by critics, they remain of commercial interest to many seeking to understand the 1968 arts movement. She also co-directed the documentary ‘Tim Leary: The Art of Dying’. She has spent most of her life after the 1970s in ‘the harem’, a community founded by her sister.
She has also been the guest on several talk shows and documentaries, including the NDR Talk Show in 2008 and Markus Lanz in 2017. Apart from this, Gisela is a popular subject of many books, photo exhibitions, interviews, documentaries, and articles. Currently, she works as a photographer and lives in Schwabing.
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Family & Personal Life
Gisela Getty was born Gisela Schmidt on April 3, 1949, in Kassel, Germany to Julius and Ruth Schmidt. She has a twin sister, Jutta Schmidt, who died of cancer recently. Gisela states that her most intense relationship was with her sister and deeply mourned the loss. As far as Gisela’s relationships go, she was first married to the fellow filmmaker Gerhard Büttenbender from 1971 to 1972. However, the couple divorced each other as Gisela was enamored of the actor Rolf Zacher and eventually married him in 1972. The couple had a daughter, Anna Getty, together in October 1972. Anna also followed her parents’ path and became a filmmaker. The couple separated with a divorce in 1973.
Gisela’s final marriage became her most famous relationship as she married John Paul Getty III, a billionaire’s son who was kidnapped for a huge ransom. She was dating him before he was kidnapped and married him within five months of his return in September 1974. The couple has one son, the actor Balthazar Getty, from their marriage. Despite starting off smoothly, Gisela realized that the kidnapping had a severe impact on her husband and decided to separate in 1981 by moving to Munich. Their divorce proceedings were finalized in 1993. The entire Getty family, including Gisela and her children, have agreed to not discuss John’s kidnapping or respond to media questions about these.

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