Too Rich: The Family Secrets of Doris Duke offers a fascinating and honest inside portrait of a woman whose life and death are shrouded in mystery. This highly entertaining biography, written by Jason Thomas and culled from the recollections and family records of Duke's godson, Pony Duke, represents the only candid record of Doris Duke's remarkable life and highly controversial death. From early childhood—too rich to play with other children for fear of disease, kidnapping, or mixing with those of less desirable lineage—Doris was virtually imprisoned in a cold, sterile mansion on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue (the house reeked of ammonia used to keep her environment germ-free) with a powerful father and a bitter, blue-blooded mother. As she broke free into adulthood, Doris inherited a massive fortune and learned to live life on her own terms. She entered into an arranged marriage and later divorced (her first); she learned the ways of sex and desire in the arms of a muscular Hawaiian Olympic champion; she followed her next love into World War II and returned alone. And amid her numerous and headline-making affairs, Doris Duke increased her vast wealth. Her investments in real estate, art, and business allowed her to leave behind far more money than she inherited, something few heiresses can boast. She learned from an early age that those who befriended her mind or romanced her body more than likely desired her wallet, and this realization left Doris Duke a lonely woman.
From interviews, private family documents, and the words of Doris herself, Too Rich provides facts and insights never before unearthed by the outside media. Her bizarre adoption of a thirty-five-year-old woman, Chandi Heffner, and, in later years, sensational events surrounding Duke's death and suspected murder in 1993—including the inside story of her butler, Bernard Lafferty—are meticulously documented in this uniquely intimate portrait of one of the most interesting and controversial celebrities of the twentieth century.
PONY DUKE is Doris Duke's cousin and godson and one of the surviving members of the Duke clan. He is a self-employed businessman and rancher living in Montana. JASON THOMAS is a novelist and former nationally syndicated columnist.
She was the richest child born in America; she had the president's private phone number; her scandalous marriages and affairs—with an ambassador, Olympian, musician, politician, general, international stud, and movie star—were legendary. But who, really, was Doris Duke? Who was the mysterious woman behind the billions, who took private pleasure in singing gospel music, loving nature, and seducing men? What insurmountable rules and expectations of wealth corralled her life into the world of the lonely elite—and led, at the age of eighty, to her alleged murder?
Too Rich was made into a successful CBS television mini-series entitled Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke starring Richard Chamberlain and Lauren Bacall.
About Jason Thomas
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Published October 5, 2011
by Harper Collins.
Biographies & Memoirs, History.