Dead, John Eleuthère du Pont died on December 9, 2010 at the age of 72, he was an American philanthropist and heir to the Du Pont family fortune who in 1996 murdered Olympic gold medal winning wrestler Dave Schultz.
He was a published ornithologist, philatelist, philanthropist, conchologist, sports enthusiast, and self-styled wrestling coach.
Born on November 22, 1938, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the youngest of four children of William du Pont, Jr. and Jean Liseter Austin (1897–1988).
He grew up at Liseter Hall, a mansion built in 1922 in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, by his maternal grandfather on more than 200 acres of land given to his parents at their wedding by his maternal grandfather.
Both his parents’ families had emigrated from Europe to the United States at the beginning of the 19th century and became highly successful.
During the 1920s and 1930s, the couple acquired more land and developed Liseter Hall Farm for Thoroughbred breeding, showing and racing.
His mother retained Liseter Hall Farm after the couple divorced in 1941.
She added a dairy herd of Guernseys and bred Welsh ponies at the farm.
John was two when his parents divorced. He had two older sisters, Jean and Evelyn, an older brother Henry E. I. du Pont, and a younger half brother, William du Pont III, born of their father’s second marriage.
At the age of 45, on September 3, 1983, du Pont married 29-year-old Gale Wenk, an occupational therapist.
They met after he injured his hand in an auto accident.
They lived together for less than six months.
Du Pont filed for divorce when they had been married for ten months.
Wenk sued du Pont for $5 million, claiming he had pointed a gun at her and tried to push her into a fireplace.
After his mother’s death, du Pont developed the 440-acre (1.8 km2) Liseter Hall Farm in Newtown Square as a high-quality wrestling facility for amateur wrestlers.
He called the private group “Team Foxcatcher”, after his father’s noted racing stable.
Du Pont established an Olympic swimming and wrestling training center and sponsored competitive events at the estate. He also allowed some people, such as Olympic champion wrestlers Mark Schultz and later his older brother David Schultz and his wife, to live in houses on the grounds for years.
Schultz also coached the Foxcatcher team.
On January 26, 1996, du Pont shot and killed wrestler Dave Schultz, a 1984 Olympic gold medalist who was training for a comeback at the 1996 Atlanta games.
After a tense two-day standoff at Foxcatcher Farm, du Pont was lured outside and captured after police turned off a boiler.
Du Pont was found to be mentally ill but guilty of third-degree murder in early 1997, and was sentenced to 13 to 30 years in prison.
Despite a series of appeals by his high-powered legal team, he remained behind bars until he died of acute aspiration pneumonia on December 9, 2010, at Laurel Highlands State Prison.
“As a member of a prominent American family with wealth,” he wrote, “all my life I have tried to demonstrate — probably because I had to — that I could achieve and win on my own as though my last name weren’t du Pont.”