Dupont Biography, Life, Interesting Facts
Dupont was an American ornithologist, philatelist, conchologist, a sports enthusiast and philanthropist. Born on November 22, 1938, he was the heir to the Du Pont family fortune. In 1996, he murdered Olympic gold medal-winning Dupont and was convicted of third-degree murder on February 25, 1997. Dupont was at the time living and working at the du Pont’s estate. Even though he was diagnosed with being mentally ill, Dupont was declared not insane and was sentenced to prison for 13 to 30 years. Before this incidence, de Pont founded and directed the Delaware Museum of Natural History in 1972.
Dupont contributed to several institutions including the Villanova University. With his interest in wrestling, Dupont established a wrestling facility at his Foxcatcher in the 1980s. Dupont was a proponent of amateur sports in the United States and sponsor of the USA Wrestling. Du Pont died at age 72 in prison on December 9, 2010.
Dupont was the fourth and youngest child of William de Pont, Jr and Jean Liseter Austin and born on November 22, 1938, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His siblings were Jean, Evelyn, and Henry E. I. du Pont. Dupont was raised at the Liseter Hall, a mansion built by his maternal grandfather in 1992 in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania on more than 200 acres of land. The mansion was a gift from his grandfather to his parents during their wedding. At the age of two, his parents divorced, and Jean married his second husband, with whom she had a son William du Pont III. Dupont received his education at Haverford School in 1957.
After his graduation, Dupont enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania where he was a member of the Zeta Psi fraternity. Dupont, however, dropped out in his first year and later enrolled at the University of Miami, Florida. While there, Dupont studied under scientist Oscar T. Owre and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology in 1965. Dupont then enrolled at the Villanova University for his doctorate in natural science, graduating in 1973.
Dupont took part in scientific expeditions in the Philippines and South Pacific during his graduate research. These expeditions afforded him the opportunity to study and identify some bird species. Dupont is also credited with the discovery of some bird species. In 1957, Dupont established the Delaware Museum of Natural History and served on its board. After the official opening in 1972, Dupont served as the director for several years.
Dupont showed great interest in several sporting activities, especially in wrestling. Dupont converted the Liseter Hall Farm of his mother into a high-quality wrestling facility for amateur wrestlers after her death in 1988. Dupont renamed it the Foxcatcher Farm and formed a private group, "Team Foxcatcher," named after his father’s racing stable. Aside from that, Dupont developed an Olympic swimming and wrestling training center. Dupont also sponsored several events including wrestling, swimming and modern pentathlon and other track events at the facility.
Dupont allowed some wrestlers including Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz, his wife and his older brother Dave Schultz and his wife to live in houses in the facility. Aside from sports, he was also a philatelist. Dupont bided anonymously in a 1980 auction, paying $935,000 for the stamp, the British Guiana 1859 1c black on magenta. The stamp was later action for $9.5 million at Sotheby’s after his death.
Murder Of Dave Schultz
Dupont fatally shot Dave Schultz in the driveway of his home on the du Pont estate on January 26, 1996. Schultz’s wife, Nancy and Patrick Goodale, du Pont’s head of security, witnessed the shooting. Schultz was at the time the coach of the wrestling team at Foxcatcher. The motive for the shooting has not been established since. However, Dupont close friends not a change in his behavior some months before the shooting.
Dupont looked himself for two days in his declared incompetent to stand trial, after experts testified he was psychotic and could not defend himself. He was then put into mental care, and for three months, the court-monitored his condition. During the trial, pleaded "not guilty by reason of insanity." Dupont was, however, found guilty but mentally ill of third-degree murder on February 25, 1997. Dupont was sentenced to 13 to 30 years at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution-Mercer.
Dupont was married to a29-year-old occupational therapist, Gale Wenk on September 3, 1983. The couple first met when Dupont injured his hand during an auto accident. In less than a year of marriage, Dupont filed for a divorce. Wenk on the order hand sued du Pont for $5 million, with claims that Dupont had pointed a gun at her and tried pushing her into a fireplace. Their divorce was finalized in 1987, and Dupont excludes her for in from inheriting any of his estate in his will.
Dupont died on December 9, 2010, at age 72 at the Somerset Community Hospital from the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In accordance to his will, he was interred at his red Foxcatcher wrestling singlet’s Du Pont de Nemours Cemetery in Wilmington, Delaware.
More People From Pennsylvania
Jack "Legs" Diamond
Solomon R. Guggenheim