Leona Helmsley referred to herself as the queen of the palace, but her terrible personality earned her a more apt nickname -- the queen of mean. She and her husband were rich beyond most peoples’ imaginations. They stayed that way in part thanks to savvy real estate investing, and to tactics that were illegal at worst and immoral at best. But when Leona finally stiffed the wrong contractor, her luck began to crumble.
Then Kristin tells us about heiress Sunny von Bulow, who had the bad fortune of marrying the wrong man. When she married Claus von Bulow, Sunny was smitten. But the pair were a bad match. Sunny came to their marriage with a tremendous fortune. Sunny’s money was a sore spot for Claus, and Claus’s infidelity was a sore spot for Sunny. By the late 70s, the pair seemed headed for divorce. Then Sunny slipped into a sudden coma. She recovered, only to slip into another one for good.
And now for a note about our process. For each episode, Kristin reads a bunch of articles, then spits them back out in her very limited vocabulary. Brandi copies and pastes from the best sources on the web. And sometimes Wikipedia. (No shade, Wikipedia. We love you.) We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the real experts who covered these cases.
In this episode, Kristin pulled from:
“The Claus Von Bulow Case” by Mark Gribben for the Crime Library
“Sunny von Bulow” entry on Wikipedia
In this episode, DP pulled from:
NY Times article by Edin Nemi “Leona Helmsley, Hotel Queen, Dies at 87”
Time Magazine “Top 10 Tax Dodgers”
The New Yorker article by Michael Schulman “Her Majesty”
The Leona Helmsley Movie “The Queen of Mean”
“Leona Helmsley” on Wikipedia