His newspaper, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, announced his death, which occurred a day after his birthday.
While Scaife supported Sen. Barry Goldwater, who lost to Democratic President Lyndon Johnson in the landslide 1964 election, and backed -- and later opposed -- President Richard Nixon, his political slant was most evident after the election of President Bill Clinton in 1992.
After the "Whitewater" investigation got underway, Scaife spent millions of dollars trying to prove the president and his wife, Hillary, had orchestrated the killing of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster and continued to maintain Foster had been killed after several investigations found his death from a gunshot to be a suicide. Hillary Clinton was referring to Scaife when she said she and her husband had been targeted by a "vast right-wing conspiracy," with Scaife responding that he did not know of one.
Scaife's personal life was rocky. He was expelled from Yale as a freshman after an incident of drunken violence and was married and divorced twice.
Other members of his family, including his mother and sister, were known for more conventional philanthropy. Sarah Mellon Scaife helped fund the research that led to the development of the first polio vaccine and Cordelia Scaife May donated to Planned Parenthood.