"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 financially generous friend in the heiress. We witness Duke's ocean voyages with Jacqueline Kennedy and Aristotle Onassis, dinners at the estate of Malcolm Forbes (whom she met when one of his hot-air balloons landed on her property), a terrifying car ride with Dennis Hopper, an affair with a British Member of Parliament, and friendships with Clare Boothe Luce, Truman Capote, Martha Graham, Andy Warhol, and Paul Reubens (aka Pee-wee Herman), among others." "The Richest Girl in the World is a fascinating biography of a privileged, secret life."--Jacket.