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Reflected Glory

By Sally Bedell Smith
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Book Details
  • Author: Sally Bedell Smith
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Published: 1996-11-07
  • Edition: 1st
English debutante Pamela Digby first came into the public eye when she married Churchill's dissolute son Randolph. While he was overseas in World War II, she had an affair with Averell Harriman, the first in a line of wealthy and prominent men - including Jock Whitney, Prince Aly Khan, Gianni Agnelli, Elie de Rothschild, and Stavros Niarchos - who supported her over the next two decades. She found legitimacy as the wife of Broadway producer Leland Hayward and became wealthy when she married Harriman on the eve of his eightieth birthday. At age sixty she reinvented herself as a kingmaker in the Democratic Party, and more than a decade later was rewarded with an appointment as U.S. Ambassador to France. Smith details how Pamela Harriman, even after she had become independent and respectable to a degree that would have been unimaginable in her party-girl years, burned through the Harriman fortune, prompting her late husband's disgruntled heirs to file a series of lawsuits accusing her of being a "faithless fiduciary". Always a brass-knuckle fighter, she made headlines with a barrage of ironic countersuits - against the family whose name elevated her to Democratic doyenne, the Wall Street brokerage that provided her wealth, and the advisers who had guided her every move. At each stage of Pamela's life, newspapers and magazines recounted her public exploits and amplified her legend. The private moments were equally indelible: playing bezique late at night with Winston Churchill, enlisting Dwight Eisenhower to help in the kitchen at her officers' club during World War II, presiding over lavish dinners at the Riviera estate of Gianni Agnelli, fixing chicken hash at midnight for Leland Haywardand his Broadway stars, talking one-on-one with Bill Clinton in the Oval Office.

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