Showing posts from June, 2008

Scandalous Love - The Life of Violet Trefusis

"Across my life only one word will be written: "waste" - waste of love, waste of talent, waste of enterprise." Violet Trefusis She was the daughter of the mistress of the King of England but for a few short years, she caused a scandal the likes that England had never seen before, and almost caused the break-up of two marriages. Nowadays she is just a footnote in the larger lives of Vita Sackville-West and Mrs. Keppel. Her name was Violet Trefusis. She was born Violet Keppel on June 6th 1894. At the time of Violet's birth, Mrs. Keppel was four years away from meeting the Prince of Wales. Although his name was on her birth certificate, in all probability, George Keppel, was not her biological father. It is speculated that he was in actuality William Becket, MP for Whitby. From the time of her marriage, Mrs. Keppel had cultivated the company of wealthy powerful men. Her husband, the Honorable George Keppel, the third son of the 7th Earl of Albemarle, after resignin

The Scandalous Life of Elizabeth Chudleigh

'Bigamy, it seems, is a greater crime than simple fornication or fashionable adultery,' The Times of London in June 1788. Gossip has been around for centuries, but it wasn't until the 18th century with the rise of the printed media, like newspapers and magazines that gossip reached a mass audience. It seemed that everyone loved to read the titillating tidbits about the aristocracy. New magazines like Town and Country , printed a monthly article on certain aristocrats and their mistresses. The trial of Elizabeth Chudleigh, Duchess of Kingston for bigamy provided the lower classes with confirmation that the ruling class of England was made up of a group of degenerates, and revealed a secret that the aristocracy had known for years. The Duchess of Kingston was born plain Elizabeth Chudleigh on March 8, 1721. She was the only daughter of Thomas Chudleigh, who was the administrator of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea at the time of his death in 1726, at the relatively young age of

Pandora in Blue Jeans: The Life of Grace Metalious

"Indian summer is like a woman. Ripe, hotly passionate, but fickle, she comes and goes as she pleases so that one is never sure whether she will come at all, nor for how long she will stay." In the 1950's, Peyton Place was arguably one of the most famous books, if not the most famous. It was certainly scandalous. In its first month, it sold 100,000 copies at a time when most average novels sold 3,000. By the end of the decade, it had sold over 10 million copies, more than Gone With The Wind, remaining the best selling novel for close to 20 years after its initial publication. It was turned into a hit movie starring Lana Turner, spawned a sequel, a night-time soap opera that made stars of Mia Farrow and Ryan O'Neal and even a daytime soap. Mia Farrow later caused a scandal on the show by cavorting and then marrying Frank Sinatra, who was nearly 30 years her senior. The name Peyton Place became part of the cultural zeitgeist. In the 1950's, Eisenhower was Presiden

The Bad and the Beautiful: Lana Turner and the murder of Johnny Stompanato

“I raced down the stairs in a panic…I ran through the kitchen door. On the sink lay a gleaming butcher knife…I grabbed the knife, ran upstairs and had it beside the door.” Cheryl Crane in Detour (1988) “I shake my head defeated. What happened I can never forget, but why it happened, I’ll never really understand. I was weak, I’ll admit it, but I never meant anybody any harm – God is my witness to the truth of that." Lana Turner. Fifty years ago, Hollywood was rocked by a scandal involving Love Goddess Lana Turner. While scandal was nothing new in Hollywood, this was something the town had never seen before. Lana's lover Johnny Stompanato had been stabbed by her daughter Cheryl Crane. It seemed like every decade there was some new scandal, each one bigger than the one before. In the twenties, there was the unsolved murder of William Desmond Taylor and the rape trial of Fatty Arbuckle, in the thirties, the death of Jean Harlow's husband Paul Bern, the forties brought the ant