Samuel W. Westing (c. 1905 - 1990) went from being the son of poor immigrants to a successful businessman and gamesman. He was considered a chess master and was known for his excellent disguises.
Not much is revealed about Westing's early life. He was born around 1905 and emigrated with his parents to America at a young age, most likely between 1910 and 1915. He was orphaned when he was twelve, probably due to his parents' death, and educated himself. Eventually, he took his meager savings and bought a paper mill, which grew into the mass Westing Paper Products Corporation.
Westing's newspaper obituary portrayed him as "the only child of immigrant parents", yet he had a niece, Gracie Wexler. It is unclear whether Gracie was his biological niece or the obituary was wrong (Westing phoned it in himself, so it is possible this was a ploy on his part).
As Westing Paper Products grew to a large business, Westing founded the city of Westingtown in Wisconsin to houses his many thousands of workers and their families. He eventually had a mansion built on the shore of Lake Michigan, near the eventual site of Sunset Towers. His estate was at one point estimated to be over two hundred million dollars (c. 1970). When asked the secret of his success, Westing reportedly replied: "Clean living, hard work, and fair play."
Westing was a master at chess, which helped him plan the Game (see below); in teaching Josie-Jo Ford, he never lost. He also played billiards. However, he never smoked, drank, or gambled.
Westing respected the country that brought him his fortune and held elaborately staged Fourth of July celebrations every year. As well as writing and directing his pageants, he also always played a part in them, surprising everyone with his cunning disguises. Following the pageant were games, feasts, and a large fireworks display.
Some point before changing his name from Windkloppel to Westing for public appeal, he married Berthe Erica Crow (presumably then-called Berthe Erica Crow Westing). Their one child, Violet Westing, led a fairly normal life with them until her suicide. Crow wished for Violet to marry a senator who was later known to be corrupt, rather than her sweetheart George Theodorakis. She decided to kill herself by jumping off the cliffs behind the family home rather than be forced into an unwanted marriage. Westing soon after divorced Crow and once again led his life solitarily. He hired private investigator Otis Amber to look after Crow and make sure she never used the Westing name.
The Westing Game
5 years after divorcing Crow, Westing and his good friend Doctor Sidney Sikes got in a car crash while heading to court to settle a lawsuit between him and James Hoo over the patent rights to the disposable paper diaper. Both were hospitalized; Sikes eventually resumed his post of county coroner, but Westing left the public eye.
Rumored to have continued controlling his company from a private island in the South Seas, Westing formulated his Game, creating the will and the clues, and calling on Otis Amber to find his planned heirs. Sunset Towers was planned and built, and the Game began.
Alexander McSouthers played his part in the game, finding out who his heirs really were and manipulating them whenever it was required. The game required him to create a new identity and retire two more, but he lived on as Julian R. Eastman until his death.
Later Years and Death
Westing spent most of his later years managing his company as Julian R. Eastman, being a mentor to Turtle Wexler, and watching his heirs from afar until his death at 85. Turtle inherited his estate and became chairman of the board after his death.