Nancy Cooke de Herrera

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Nancy Cooke de Herrera
Nancy L. Veitch

April 12, 1922[1][2]
Alameda County, California[1]
DiedFebruary 28, 2013 (aged 90)
Beverly Hills, California[3]
OccupationSocialite author
Spouse(s)Richard Cooke (1941), Luis de Herrera (1951), Tony Jackson (1962)
ChildrenOne daughter, three sons

Nancy Cooke de Herrera (born Nancy Veitch, 1922–2013)[2] was an American socialite, fashion expert, and author of three books, including All You Need Is Love: An Eyewitness Account of When Spirituality Spread from the East to the West.[4][5] She was referred to as one of the pioneers of the spiritual movement in the West.

Early life and education[edit]

De Herrera grew up in Piedmont, California and studied bacteriology at Stanford University for three years during the 1940s (Class of '43).[6][7]

Adult life[edit]

De Herrera traveled to Molokai in Hawaii via a military convoy and married Richard Cooke, the son of a well-known missionary family in 1941.[7][8] As the wife of a prominent family member, she performed hostess duties for Admiral Nimitz, Admiral Halsey, and Admiral Towers during World War II. She gave birth to three sons and divorced her husband after nine years of marriage.

While in Paris in 1951, she met a member of the American team that raced at Le Mans, named Luis de Herrera, whom she married a year later. The couple moved to Herrera's home country of Argentina and had a daughter in 1954.[7] Nine months later her husband, Luis, died of leukemia which Cooke de Herrera believed was related to atomic radiation exposure he incurred while driving near Zion National Park after an atomic bomb test in 1953.[4][6][7][9]

In 1957, de Herrera won a nationwide contest sponsored by a group of American (USA) magazines. Her prize was a world tour to promote American fashion. Afterwards, the United States Information Service (USIS) enabled her to visit governments around the world and advise them on fashion.[10] For twelve years she was a leading figure in the fashion industry and was referred to as the "U.S. Ambassadress of Fashion" while traveling to 15 countries to present American couture.[4][6][9] She also presented lectures entitled: "A Travelogue through Fashion" and "Around the World with Nancy Cooke".[11]

De Herrera worked as a publicist for Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1960s and traveled with him on a trip to South America.[7][12] She was the liaison for the Maharishi and The Beatles during their widely publicized visit to Rishikesh in India.[6] During her dozens of trips to India and Tibet she is reported to have had meetings with the Dalai Lama, the sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, Sir Edmund Hillary, the Shah of Iran, King Hussein of Jordan, and Satya Sai Baba.[6] In 1993, she published the autobiographical memoir, Beyond Gurus: A Woman Of Many Worlds, and in 2003, published a follow-up book called, All You Need Is Love: An Eyewitness Account of When Spirituality Spread from the East to the West.[4]

Over the years she is reported to have given meditation lessons to several celebrities, including Madonna, Greta Garbo, Rosie O'Donnell, Lenny Kravitz, Santigold,[13] and Sheryl Crow.[6][9] She has been called one of the pioneers of the spiritual movement in the West.[14] In 2008, she published the novel, Never Tango with a Stranger: Love in Peron's Argentina.[15] According to de Herrera, with the help of some friends, she built two hospitals for abused children in Los Angeles.[10]

She was reportedly working on a third autobiography, concerning her role as the U.S. Ambassadress of Fashion in the 1950s when she died[12] on February 28, 2013 at the age of 90.[12]

De Herrera and her son Richard Cooke were the subject of the Beatles' satirical song "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill".[16]


  • Cooke de Herrera, Nancy (1993) Beyond gurus : a woman of many worlds, Blue Dolphin Pub.[15]
  • Cooke de Herrera, Nancy (2003) All you need is love : an eyewitness account of when spirituality spread from the East to the West, Jodere Group [15]
  • Cooke de Herrera, Nancy (2008) Never Tango with a Stranger: Love in Peron's Argentina, iUniverse[15]


  1. ^ a b California Birth Index, 1905-1995
  2. ^ a b "Meditation teacher Nancy Cooke de Herrera dies". March 4, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Los Angeles Times Obituary, 8 Mar 2013
  4. ^ a b c d All You Need Is Love: An Eyewitness Account of When Spirituality Spread from the East to the West Archived 2011-04-06 at the Wayback Machine All Spirit Fitness, book review, 2003.
  5. ^ Cae, Herb. (Aug 31, 1961). Los Angeles Times, "Official State Song Slips Disc: Nancy Cooke de Herrera the beautiful blond socialite".
  6. ^ a b c d e f Jalonen, Wendy (May–June 2010), "TM believer", Stanford Magazine (Stanford Alumni website), archived from the original on 2012-06-25, retrieved 2011-04-03
  7. ^ a b c d e Cooke de Herrera, Nancy (1993) Blue Dolphin Publishing, Beyond Gurus: A Woman of Many Worlds, pp27-44
  8. ^ Cassidy, Maggie July 29, 2011 A Most Unusual Life, Molokai Dispatch
  9. ^ a b c Cassidy, Maggie July 29, 2011 A Most Unusual Life, Molakai Dispatch
  10. ^ a b Misra, Neelesh (Dec 1, 1995) U.S. Author Says That India Still Draws Her, India Abroad
  11. ^ Unknown author (2005) Writers Directory 2005, Nancy Cooke de Herrera
  12. ^ a b c Baida, Aiyana (March 5, 2013). "Celebrity Meditation Teacher". VOXXI. Archived from the original on May 13, 2013. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  13. ^ Author unknown (April 22, 2012) Santigold NME Music News, retrieved April 30, 2012
  14. ^ Author Unknown ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE Archived 2011-04-06 at the Wayback Machine Planet Light Worker web site, Book Review. Retrieved: April 3, 2011
  15. ^ a b c d Nancy Cooke de Herrera World Cat, retrieved April 30, 2012
  16. ^ "Jon Pennington's answer to Who is Bungalow Bill in that Beatles song? - Quora".