Trust No One: The Glamorous Life and Bizarre Death of Doris Duke

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9781892323170: Trust No One: The Glamorous Life and Bizarre Death of Doris Duke

The first book written with a member of her personal staff, Trust No One reveals the fascinating and frightening story of golden-girl socialite and heiress Doris Duke.

With a fortune estimated at over 3 billion dollars and fabulous houses in Hawaii, Newport, Beverley Hills, and New York City, Doris Duke was one of the richest women in America, if not the world. Heiress to the American Tobacco Company fortune made by her father, James Duke, she took to heart her father's admonition "Trust no one!". Although she was a fixture on the international social scene and had countless lovers, ranging from celebrity Errol Flynn to Hawaiian beach boys, she remained desperately lonely. After two failed marriages and a notorious scandal, Duke became a semi-recluse whose behavior grew increasingly strange. But nothing in her life could compare with the headlines about her death, which included allegations of murder.

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From Kirkus Reviews :

Another go at the story of billionaire heiress Doris Duke that raises more questions than it answers about her life, her death, and her last will and testament. Schwarz (Rose Kennedy: A Life of Faith, Family, and Tragedy, 1995) tries to take a more evenhanded approach to Duke's life story than last year's trashing by her cousin Pony Duke in Too Rich: The Family Secrets of Doris Duke. Coauthor Rybak worked for about two years as Duke's personal chef and was also partly responsible for the hiring of the infamous butler, the late Bernard Lafferty, who supervised--and perhaps helped to hasten- -Duke's death in 1993 at age 80. According to the authors, Duke's father, Buck, was the primary influence in her life, the man who taught Doris to ``trust no one'' and passed on his own obsessions: sex, money, and agriculture. As to sex, Doris's lovers were numerous and varied, from her first husband, the well-bred but financially strapped Jimmy Cromwell, to the jazz pianist Joey Castro. As for money and agriculture, Doris nurtured the Duke fortune from millions to billions and along the way became a botanical expert, specializing in orchids. She was also an accomplished jazz pianist with some recordings to her credit. Although Duke gets recognition for her accomplishments, including her expertise in Eastern art, this biography indulges heavily in speculation about family crimes, including several ``murders.'' Credibility shrinks from sloppy inconsistencies and offensive characterizations, such as the description of Irish immigrants as ``drinking, dancing and brawling.'' The book ends with long, unenlightening excerpts from civil and criminal investigations relating to Duke's death and her will, and peculiar paeans to an attorney representing some Duke employees. An attempt at a fair hearing for the headline heiress that is negated by trivia and hearsay. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Booklist :

Depending on your interpretation of glamorous, this book could be more appropriately titled The Bizarre Life and Bizarre Death of Doris Duke. Born in 1912 to an unhappy union between a tobacco baron and his coldhearted, mean-spirited wife, Duke lost her father in early childhood, leaving her an unimaginable fortune estimated at her recent death as being more than $3 billion. After her father's death, which her mother was apparently instrumental in causing, Duke gradually won her independence from her mother and embarked on a life of failed marriages, sleazy affairs, drug and alcohol dependency, sensationally bizarre acts (like adopting a 35-year-old woman), trying out new religions, and jet-setting between her three exclusive properties. Duke died in her late 70s, and her death, shrouded in mystery, has been the subject of much speculation and innuendo. This book, while rendering a concise, if extremely dark, portrayal of the lives of the very wealthy, leaves the reader with the feeling of witnessing a bad car accident, horrified and repulsed yet somehow transfixed. Kathleen Hughes

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Ted Schwarz; Contributor-Tom Rybak
Edité par Vivisphere Publishing (1997)
ISBN 10 : 1892323176 ISBN 13 : 9781892323170
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