Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke

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Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke
TooRichSecretLif large.jpg
GenreDrama, miniseries
Directed byJohn Erman
StarringLauren Bacall
Richard Chamberlain
Lindsay Frost
Hayden Panettiere
Kathleen Quinlan
Narrated byLauren Bacall
Composer(s)Patrick Williams
Country of originUS
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes4
Executive producer(s)Martin Rabbett
Robert M. Sertner
Bernard Sofronski
Frank von Zerneck
Producer(s)Richard D. Arredondo
John Erman
Stephanie Germai]
Randy Sutter
Production location(s)Hawaii
Los Angeles, California
Montreal, Quebec
Editor(s)Mark Conte
Paul Dixon
Running time192 minutes (48 minutes per episode)
Original networkCBS
Original releaseFebruary 21 –
24, 1999

Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke is a 1999 American four-part television miniseries starring Lauren Bacall and Richard Chamberlain which was first broadcast on CBS on February 21 and 24, 1999. It was based primarily on the book The Richest Girl in the World by Stephanie Mansfield (Pinnacle Books issued a special movie tie-in edition of the book in February 1999)[1] as well as Bob Colacello's two in-depth articles about Ms. Duke in Vanity Fair. Colacello was the magazine's authority on Doris Duke.[2][3]

The title of the series was derived from the book Too Rich: The Family Secrets of Doris Duke by Pony Duke and Jason Thomas.[4][5] Manfield's book was the first to be obtained by CBS, which optioned it for a planned miniseries in early 1995.[6] The Duke-Thomas book, which was "being peddled as a miniseries" by the authors months before publication (it was not published until December 1995),[6] was originally optioned earlier that year by the producer Doris Keating, who planned a miniseries of her own.[7]

Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke presents a dramatized account of the life of the heiress, philanthropist, and once richest woman in the world, Doris Duke. It has since been re-broadcast on The Hallmark Channel, and on Lifetime combined together and presented as a 192-minute movie. The film stars Hayden Panettiere as young Doris Duke, Lindsay Frost as 20- to 50-year-old Doris Duke, and Lauren Bacall as an elderly Doris Duke. Bacall, who had met Doris Duke a few times, was pleased to have been able to appear in a TV miniseries, devoting a few paragraphs to the experience in her autobiography.[8]

While Bacall, Chamberlain and Frost were highly praised for their roles, most reviews of the miniseries were generally unfavorable.[9][10] The Orlando Sentinel went so far as to say: "If the real Duke were talking, a curse on the filmmakers would be likely."[11]

Another film about the relationship between Duke and her butler, Bernard Lafferty, Bernard and Doris, directed by Bob Balaban and starring Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes, was released in 2007 to much greater critical acclaim, receiving three Golden Globe and ten Emmy nominations.

Plot outline[edit]

Doris Duke, the famous real-life billionairess, is seen going over her life as she prepares to die. Her life includes the early death of her loving father, being raised by a cold mother, two marriages and numerous affairs that still leave her hungry for love, a fascination with mystics and reincarnation, and a disastrous adoption late in life. Even now as she is dying, her roller-coaster life has one last bump in it: her butler, Bernard Lafferty, is suspected of arranging her death so he can get all her money.



Award Category Subject Result
Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Actress in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Lauren Bacall Nominated


  1. ^ "Too Rich: the Secret Life of Doris Duke (1999) - Overview -". Retrieved 2015-04-13.
  2. ^ Dunne, D. (2009). Another City, Not My Own. Ballantine Books. p. 135. ISBN 9780345522191. Retrieved 2015-04-13.
  3. ^ New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC. p. 27. ISSN 0028-7369. Retrieved 2015-04-13.
  4. ^ "Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke (TV Movie 1999) - IMDb". Retrieved 2015-04-13.
  5. ^ "Duke biopic ignites controversy - NY Daily News". Retrieved 2015-04-13.
  6. ^ a b "". Retrieved 2015-04-13. External link in |title= (help)
  7. ^ Army Archerd. "Hope gets SHARE Spirit Award | Variety". Retrieved 2015-04-13.
  8. ^ Bacall, L. (2010). By Myself and Then Some. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780062016591. Retrieved 2015-04-13.
  9. ^ "Breaking, World, US & Local News - - NY Daily News". Retrieved 2015-04-13.
  10. ^ Ray Richmond. "Too Rich — The Secret Life of Doris Duke | Variety". Retrieved 2015-04-13.
  11. ^ "Too Rich, Too Cheesy - Too Bad - tribunedigital-orlandosentinel". Retrieved 2015-04-13.

External links[edit]