Sunday, January 12, 2014

Attempted Murder in Newport! Reversal of Fortune

A scandal in 1980s Newport is turned into the 1990 kind-of-boring, full-of-legal-jargon-I-do-not-attempt-nor-want-to-understand, Academy-Award-nominated, full-length feature film, Reversal of Fortune.

A brief history of Claus von Bülow and his poor, but not at ALL poor wife, Sunny: Two rich socialites were married (on 06/06/66 no less, did they expect that would work out?) and lived at Clarendon Court in Newport, Rhode Island. Over a decade into their marriage, divorce seemed imminent as Claus had a young mistress and was honest about this with Sunny, who soon fell into a downward spiral. She smoked three packs a day, would spend a majority of her days in bed or the bathroom, would eat only ice cream on some days, was hypoglycemic, and crazy.

The "attempted mUЯDeR,"12/21/1980: Almost a year to the day after a similar "health scare," Sunny was found on the floor of her bathroom, unconscious. Rushed to the hospital, it was discovered that she had a blood insulin level of 14 times more than normal, which was said could only have been administered by injection from another person. While Sunny was now to live out the rest of her life in a permanent vegetative state, Claus was found guilty on two attempted murder charges and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Why murder Sunny when divorce was already decided? Claus would have inherited 14 million in the event of Sunny's death, a big jump from his 1 million dollar net worth. 

Reversal of Fortune: The 1990 film Reversal of Fortune is all about the appeal of Claus' sentence. Claus hired notable lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, and long-story-short: won the appeal to the dismay of millions. Spoiler alert. The movie is based on Dershowitz's book of the same name and stars Glenn Close and Jeremy Irons who actually won the 1990 Academy Award for Best Actor for the film. The nominees must have been really shitty that year because Irons portrayal of Claus was like a monotone British Forrest Gump. "Sunnayy, are you alright Sunnayy?" The movie will make you like Claus, hate Claus, like Sunny, hate Sunny, so you be the judge. Claus moved to London where he still resides and Sunny remained in a New York hospital for 28 years before dying in 2008.