When Armie Hammer’s Hollywood career imploded following a series of sexual assault allegations made by multiple women, it came as a shock to the film industry that saw him a budding mega star. But for anyone with a little inside knowledge of the Hammer family, it was another chapter in a long, grim, multi-generational history of men whose proximity to wealth and power ultimately led to their ruin. It’s a history with a lot of overlap in faith circles, since the Hammer empire has myriad financial connections to several Christian institutions.
That history will serve as the basis for an upcoming true crime special on Discovery+ called The House of Hammer, which will chart the strange, sordid, scandalous and ultimately very sad saga of the Hammer family, utilizing “a trove of archive and interviews from survivors and family members.”
For the uninitiated, the Hammer family’s travails go way back, as detailed in a lengthy, fascinating Vanity Fair piece. In 1919, Dr. Julius Hammer (Armie’s great-great grandfather) was convicted of manslaughter after preforming an illegal abortion for a Russian diplomat. That Hammer’s sons made a fortune on oil by getting friendly with Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin. In the ’90s, the family’s illegal dealings were exposed, a laundry list of bad behavior that included “laundering money; using artwork to fund Soviet espionage; bribing his way into the oil business; and knocking off Fabergé eggs.” And we haven’t even gotten into the illegal financial dealings with Nixon or the revolving door of mistresses.
But while Armie’s father Michael Hammer developed a reputation for hard partying, he started redirecting some of his wealth to Christian causes after marrying Dru Mobley, a devout believer who seemed to temporarily reign in some of his excesses. Michael Hammer donated millions to organizations like Jews for Jesus and served on boards for Oral Roberts University and Pepperdine University. He also founded Grace Christian Academy and a radio station called Christian Communications Association, both in the Cayman Islands.
But Michael’s first marriage didn’t last and he allegedly resumed a far more lurid lifestyle that involved “a string of women, illicit substances and tattoos” and something Vanity Fair’s sources referred to as a “sex throne.” He has since married Misty Millward, a “healer” he met at a Four Seasons spa.
Armie Hammer’s lawyer, Andrew Brettler, denied the “outrageous allegations” made against his client. In May of last year, Hammer checked into an inpatient treatment facility in Florida to grapple with his “drug, alcohol and sex issues.”