Author of book about reclusive heiress to speak at Pequot
Bill Dedman, whose book about the eccentric and reclusive heiress Huguette Clark was a New York Times bestseller, will speak during a free program on Saturday afternoon, March 14, at the Pequot Library.
The program is planned from 4 to 6 p.m. and will include a talk by the author, a Q&A with the audience, book signing and a reception.
Dedman's 2013 nonfiction, "Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life Of Huguette Clark And The Spending Of A Great American Fortune," told the story of the late copper heiress whose mansions in Connecticut, New York and California remained unoccupied while she lived for 20 years in a hospital room, despite perfect health.
"Empty Mansions" unravels the story of Clark's family. Huguette's father was the copper magnate, U.S. Senator and Las Vegas founder W.A. Clark, who built a fortune. His daughter was an artist and philanthropist who held a ticket on the Titanic but was still living in New York on 9/11.
An eccentric recluse in her later years, Huguette died in 2011 at age 104.
Dedman was a Pulitzer-Prize-winning investigative reporter for NBC News when he discovered the story of the reclusive heiress. For the book, he collaborated with Huguette's cousin, Paul Clark Newell Jr., one of the few surviving relatives who'd had conversations with her.
She owned mansions in New Canaan, Manhattan and Santa Barbara, Calif.
The Pequot said the book is drawn from interviews with Huguette, her personal papers, and testimony of her inner circle. It has been updated with the outcome of the court battle for her estate.
"Empty Mansions is the story of an eccentric of the highest order, a last jewel of the Gilded Age who lived life on her own terms," library officials said in a news release.
The authors reveal a complex portrait of the enigmatic Huguette and her intimate circle, including her extravagant father, her publicity-shy mother, her star-crossed sister, her French boyfriend, her nurse who received more than $30 million in gifts, and the relatives fighting to inherit Huguette's copper fortune, according to the release.