William Newsom

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William Alfred Newsom III (born February 15, 1934) is a retired state appeals court judge, administrator of the Getty family trust, and the father of former San Francisco Mayor and current Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsom.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Newsom was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Christine (Brennan) and William A. Newsom II. A lifelong San Franciscan, Newsom has longstanding political and financial ties. His father was a close friend of Pat Brown, who rose from San Francisco district attorney to governor of California.[2] He remains friends with Pat Brown’s son, California Attorney General, former Oakland Mayor and current California Governor Jerry Brown. Newsom's late sister Barbara was once married to Ron Pelosi, brother-in-law of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He is also a close friend of Gordon Getty, son of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, whom he met in the late 1940s while attending St. Ignatius Catholic prep school in San Francisco.[1]

Judicial career[edit]

Newsom went to University of San Francisco, followed by Stanford Law School and was admitted to the California Bar in 1962.[2] He worked as legal adviser to the Italian division of Getty Oil and then as a tax attorney for the Getty family.[2] In 1967, he married Tessa Menzies, and had two children before divorcing after five years.[2]

In 1968, he ran unsuccessfully against State Senator Milton Marks, a popular Republican.[2]

In 1975, Jerry Brown appointed Newsom to the Superior Court bench in Auburn, CA Placer County and later to the state Court of Appeals in San Francisco, where he served until 1995.[2]

Investment management[edit]

Newsom currently serves as a financial advisor for the Getty family businesses. He directly manages the Gordon P. Getty Family Trust, which is estimated at more than $2 billion.[1] The trust earns about 2 percent a year resulting in approximately $40 million in annual income.[2] He screens potential investments and makes recommendations on real estate, stocks, bonds, and other ventures. "I make my living working for Gordon Getty," Newsom said in 2003.[1]

A lifelong friend of state Senate leader John Burton and a leading figure in local Democratic circles, Newsom acknowledged to the San Francisco Examiner that his son’s appointment by Willie Brown to the Board of Supervisors in 1997 "was based on Burton's friendship with me."[citation needed] Newsom currently lives in Dutch Flat, CA.


  1. ^ a b c d Byrne, Peter (2 April 2003). "Bringing Up Baby Gavin - Page 1". SF Weekly. p. 1. Archived from the original on 30 July 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Byrne, Peter (2 April 2003). "Bringing Up Baby Gavin - Page 2". SF Weekly. p. 2. Archived from the original on 30 July 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2010.