Dead Socialite Killed Again by TV Movie?


The HBO movie Bernard and Doris—a partly true, partly imagined romp about gay butler Bernard Lafferty’s weird bonding with his boss, socialite Doris Duke—has gotten kudos, but Duke’s old chef, Colin Shanley—a dear friend of mine—has seen it and feels it’s more puke than Duke. I allude to this in the new column, but I want to give you Shanley’s full statement: “It’s beyond the beyond. Doris Duke was a really, really cool lady and never deserved this. It’s hard to find something this offensive and laughable. I had a front trow center seat for six years, and it was ULTRA extraordinary, except for the last moments, of course. And this is what people are going to see and believe! The only thing they got right is the spelling of the names. She was total class—an American original. She partied with Muddy Waters and Fred Astaire. . . Elvis and Joe Stalin. She was part Southern belle, part Garbo. She read the Koran in Arabic, played bebop, and was new age in the 1940s. She’s portrayed as some Leona Helmsley desperate housewife blotto on hooch and Spanish fly, grooving it up with her adoring yet complicated newfound soulmate. ‘Bernard, did you fuck me last night?’ I mean, really! The writer should have worked this one out with his therapist. Read the court record. Bernard brought in the vultures and shot her up and sped up her death!” Well, I liked the movie, but what do I know? Keep Dukin’ it out, Colin.

This week’s La Dolce Musto: “A Gay Senate Candidate Revealed!