James Howard Marshall

James Howard Marshall

American businessman, oil tycoon
Date of Birth: 24.01.1905
Country: USA

  1. Biography of James Howard Marshall
  2. Education and Early Career
  3. Business Ventures
  4. Controversial Marriage and Legal Battle

Biography of James Howard Marshall

James Howard Marshall was an American businessman and oil magnate. His life spanned over nine decades and nearly the entire history of the oil industry, from the early years of uncontrolled production to the decades of energy shortages and the Arab Oil Embargo.

James Howard Marshall

Education and Early Career

After graduating from Newtown High School in Pennsylvania, Marshall attended Haverford College where he studied humanities. He excelled both in sports and student life, serving as the editor of the college newspaper and captain of the football team. He also played tennis. Marshall graduated from Haverford College in 1926. He then went on to study at Yale Law School, where he also worked as an editor for the Yale Law Journal. He completed his studies in 1931 and remained as an assistant to the dean of the law school until 1933. During this time, he authored the work "A Factual Study of Bankruptcy Administration and Some Suggestions". Marshall also gained recognition for his work "Legal Planning of Petroleum Production", co-written with Norman Meyers.

James Howard Marshall

Business Ventures

After leaving Yale, Marshall became an assistant attorney at the Department of the Interior under Harold L. Ickes. It was during this time that he authored the "Connally Hot Oil Act of 1935", which aimed to stabilize oil prices. In 1935, Marshall left public service and joined the special council of Standard Oil in California (now Chevron Corporation) under President Ken Kingsbury. This marked the beginning of Marshall's journey to becoming an oil magnate. Over the next couple of years, he became a partner at Pillsbury Madison Sutro (now Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman).

James Howard Marshall

During World War II in 1942, Marshall was called back to Washington, D.C. to work on the country's energy policies in the midst of the war. In 1944, he became the president of Ashland Oil and Refining Co. (now Marathon Oil). Throughout his career, he also held positions such as executive vice president of Signal Oil & Gas, president of Union Texas Petroleum, and executive vice president of Allied Signal. In 1984, Marshall founded Marshall Petroleum, solidifying his status as an extremely wealthy individual.

Controversial Marriage and Legal Battle

In 1994, at the age of 89, Marshall made headlines when he married Anna Nicole Smith, who was almost 60 years younger than him. Smith, a voluptuous blonde known for her resemblance to Marilyn Monroe, captured Marshall's attention and they quickly got married. However, their happiness was short-lived as Marshall passed away on August 4, 1995, just over a year into their marriage. He died in Houston, Texas, and the cause of death was stated as natural.

The legal battle over Marshall's estate ensued between his remaining heirs. Marshall's adopted son, E. Pierce Marshall, refused to acknowledge Smith as a rightful heir and accused her of being an opportunist after the millions rightfully belonging to him. Smith, on the other hand, accused Marshall's son of trying to deprive her of her rightful inheritance. The legal proceedings surrounding Marshall's estate lasted for over 10 years without reaching a resolution. This case was ranked as the number one civil case in terms of money involved in the year 2000. Smith herself passed away in 2007 from a fatal combination of methadone and antidepressants.