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From her birth in 1912, when she was christened the Million Dollar Baby, to the age of thirteen, when she inherited the bulk of her father s 100 million tobacco fortune, to 1988, when she posted 5 million in bail for former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos, Doris Duke has made headlines But those headlines do not even begin to tell one of the most compelling and fascinating stories of our time A maverick from an early age, the strikingly attractive and eccentric heiress thumbed her nose at society, all the while forging an incredible life as a renegade with an appetite for adventure, a weakness for pleasure, and a penchant for privacy Duke and her lifelong rival Barbara Hutton with whom she would have to compete for the love of several men, most notably international playboy Porfirio Rubirosa were dubbed the Gold Dust Twins Her father, James B Duke, namesake of Duke University and one of the richest men in the country, was a rough edged businessman whose greatest love was for his only daughter Denied affection from her mother, a glamorous socialite concerned mainly with public appearances, Doris Duke led a sheltered adolescence, seeking friendship with those ignored by high society Later, as her marriage to the politically ambitious son of a prominent grande dame of society crumbled, her concern with secrecy would develop nearly obsessive dimensions Duke maintained dictatorial control over her four extravagant homes across the country, and she gained a reputation for excess as well as seeming pettiness Her phenomenal wealth enabled her to withdraw from the world, even to distance herself from the university that bears her family name, and ignore its responsibilities Recently she adopted a thirty five year old former Hare Krishna who was a confidante also of Imelda Marcos Here is revealed for the first time Doris Duke s fascination with those who embraced the spotlight she always shunned, especially Imelda Marcos, who found an ardent and fin

10 thoughts on “The Richest Girl in the World: The Extravagant Life and Fast Times of Doris Duke

  1. Rebecca Rebecca says:

    This book was an interesting read but lacked passion or insight I saw an AE Biography about Mrs Duke and found her life portrayed as far fascinating than as was described in this book.

  2. Jay Storey Jay Storey says:

    Reading about the uber rich, it s hard to decide whether to feel sorry for them or be offended by them Many people dream of being wealthy But what happens when you become wealthy or especially, if you were born wealthy What do you dream of then Many seem to live desperately unhappy lives, and Doris Duke was no exception At least she had the wisdom to leave much of her fortune to charity, so in the end, the world benefited from her wealth.

  3. Sandra Cardona Sandra Cardona says:

    I heard the name Doris Duke when I listened to NPR and wanted to know who she was since her foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, contributes to many of the programs This is actually a sad tale Had Doris Duke not lost her father at such a young age, or been born in the second half of the twentieth century I think her life would have been very different and much happier Her father was to American tobacco what Aristotle Onassis was to global shipping and left his sole heir a fortune that continued to grow long after his death Doris Duke s father, James B Duke, died when she was twelve years old She did not enjoy a close relationship with her mother as she had been cared for by her nanny and governess for most of her childhood I was surprised that she did not attend college since she enjoyed music so much but in the 1920 s women were not encouraged to seek higher education She married at a young age to gain independence from her mother and also divorced very young It was difficult for her to find a romantic partner who valued her than her fortune and for this reason she was not able to trust many people She died without any close family and few friends Her fortune was still sizable at the time of her death and she chose to donate it to charity since she had no living children of her own This book is out of print and not available in an electronic format There are few books available on Doris Duke and are not written by anyone close to the subject This book relies on second and third hand accounts of events It s not the most well written book I had trouble staying interested and finishing because there weren t any interesting events She was able to gain access for travel and work with the OSS during WWII in remote areas, reporting on the war as a correspondent and that was an interesting part to read even if it was a very short part of the book Suffering the loss of a child she lived the rest of her life traveling to and from her various homes and setting up restoration projects and small art and cultural museums Not all of her projects and endeavors were successful but she was passionate about the arts and pursued music instruction throughout her life Her foundation supports medical research, the arts and the prevention of child and animal abuse Since she lived a mostly reclusive life there aren t many other resources on Doris Duke The latter part of the book is juxtaposed and harder to follow This is a pretty comprehensive account of her life even if not concise and offers good information if you want to know about Doris Duke.

  4. Elizabeth Sulzby Elizabeth Sulzby says:

    I read Rich Girl, Poor Girl first It extends through Doris Duke s death and how her wills were changed radically on her deathbed and how the foundations were managed under that contested will Richest Girl in the World is a much trivial book but I need to get the Rich Girl, Poor Girl book again since both books are filled with memorable details so much so that I want to know if there was plagiarism or just that the jewels, marble, camels, etc., were all well documented.Both books did seem to use colorfully documents from Duke s life Some parts of her life, that I know about from other sources, such as the Newport Seen, libraries, and oral tradition seem to have been avoided, such as her friendship with Oatsie Charles, who gave an entertaining and affectionate look at her life in Newport many years ago.Mansfield s book gives details of her fast times but is quite disjointed It is clear that Duke had many accomplishments but the books do not focus enough on that The second book gives details of her last days when it was alleged that she was abused, fed drugs to keep her confused, and perhaps killed via morphine, etc Her will was changed during that time and there were court cases after her death to try to revoke that will A couple of docudramas have focused on the roles of her butler, Bernard Rafferty, her adult adopted but disowned daughter, Chanti Heffner, a former Hare Krishna participant, whom Duke took to be a reincarnation of her daughter who died shortly after birth.Both books gave a good bit of detail of Doris father and how he grew a massive fortune from hard scrabble North Carolina farming, how he adored Doris but treated her unrealistically, and left his fortune to her in multiple trusts.

  5. Louise Louise says:

    This bio does what the title says it will It tells us about the extravagance and the fast times of Doris Duke On the plus side, there is a lot of material here and it reads better than a tabloid, but the many quotes from people with axes to grind hamper its credibility.According to this book, DD believed most people, esp potential husbands were after her fortune, and from this book, one would have to agree with her.DD had to have another side that is not presented at all She did manage to keep and grow her wealth at a time when her peers were losing theirs In this book, the lawyers and financial advisors work off stage For instance, the book would have you believe that DD s lawyers miraculously appeared minutes before her second marriage to secure a pre nup to save her fortune.DD not only increased her fortune, she won almost every legal battle, even when the facts were stacked against her To do this she had to have a stable dialog with professionals and devote time, that the author would have you believe she spent partying, to managing the estate.DD, one of Hawaii s most intriguing citizens, needs a serious and comprehensive treatment.

  6. Muffy Kroha Muffy Kroha says:

    I think I need to mix it up before I read another celebrity bio After a while the petulant antics of the alienated rich start to get a little tired It reminds me of watching that Doors movie, which was preceded by the Tina Turner movie I was like, yeah, yeah, yeah, you were young and innocent, you got successful, you then partied too hard and everybody grew a beard and started freaking out on each other Same thing with the cliche post college Euro trip I took where you just go from museum to museum looking at ruins and after about 3 cities you re just like Charlie Brown looking in his trick or treat bag Rocks It was Ok, but I think I have reached a temporary celebri saturation point.

  7. Rebecca King Rebecca King says:

    This lady has lived an unimaginable life, beginning with her birth into an extremely wealthy 1900 wealth 1M family with an obsessively protective father and cold, distant mother This book is testament that wealth in this case, extreme can t purchase any long term happiness.

  8. Sandy Batesel Sandy Batesel says:

    For some reason this author was hard for me to read And, the story of Doris Duke was, I thought, a very sad one She had everything in the world, materially, but nothing at all emotionally Tragic

  9. Pixietweet Clip Pixietweet Clip says:

    Loads of fun, loads of famous characters Luv it, dahling.

  10. Mary Mary says:

    I did not know much about Doris Duke before reading this book I do not feel that my knowledge was greatly increased or that I learned any facts Doris Duke s personality traits did feel true at the core, but perhaps sensationalized to make the book interesting This was written in a superficial way and I am undecided if it is a reflection of the author or the subject.