Daddy's Duchess: The Unauthorized Biography of Doris Duke

Tom Valentine, Author, Patrick Mahn, With L. Stuart $17.95 (218p) ISBN 978-0-8184-0443-6
""Trust no one, never live by the will of another, not even the man you marry.'' That was the deathbed admonition of tobacco and electric power mogul (and doting father) James Duke to his only daughter Doris, according to this name-dropping biography. The authors, the heiress's former business manager Mahn and journalist and Duke family intimate Valentine, rely heavily on a combination of legend and press accounts, since they got no cooperation from their subject. The heiress, in their view, is a paradoxical mixture of good and evil, brilliance and stupidity, iron will and fragility, who values animals more than humans and, despite her wealth, finds pleasure in taking from others to add to her already vast holdings, which include priceless art treasures. Her marriages to socialite James Cromwell, diplomatadventurer Porfirio Rubirosa, and jazz pianist Joseph Castro all ended in divorce, often involving extensive litigation. Starting in 1950 and for the next 15 actionand sensationfilled years, she combined sexual debauchery and jazz sessions with a quest for Eastern spirituality, the authors claim. Now 75, she fights old age and boredom in relative anonymity, while the world wonders who will inherit her fortune. Photos not seen by PW. 25,000 first printing; major ad/promo. (October 2)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1987
Release date: 10/01/1987
Genre: Nonfiction
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