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Subject: ARCHIVE: November 4, 1996 ~Bernard Lafferty, butler and heir to well-known American tobacco heiress and philanthropist Doris Duke, naming named him the executor of her $1.2 billion estate, six months prior to her death in 1993, and was dead himself at 51, from drink and drugs just a few years later. ...

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Date Posted: Sunday, November 04, 11:03:50am
In reply to: Bio & PHOTO 's message, "ARCHIVE: October 28, 1993 ~Doris Duke, colorful heiress, socialite, horticulturalist, art collector, and philanthropist of the 20th century, dies in her home, under mysterious circumstances at 80, her body cremated within hours by her executor butler. ..." on Sunday, October 28, 01:17:59pm

Bernard Lafferty

The butler and heir to well-known American tobacco heiress and philanthropist, Doris Duke. Duke hired Lafferty in 1987 and named him the executor of her $1.2 billion estate, six months prior to her death in 1993. Their unorthodox relationship sparked controversy and speculation, although no charges were ever filed against Lafferty regarding her death.

Career and Doris Duke
Lafferty was born in Creeslough, County Donegal, Ireland and moved to Glasgow, Scotland with his mother in 1964 shortly after his father's death. His mother died less than a year later, when Bernard was twenty. Lafferty later emigrated to the United States to live with his aunt in Philadelphia around 1980. Lafferty became the matre d' at The Bellevue-Stratford Hotel. He befriended many famous and influential people during his tenure, including Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and Peggy Lee.

...In 1987, at the age of 42, Lafferty was hired by tobacco heiress, socialite, and philanthropist, Doris Duke as her personal butler at "Duke Farms", her home in Hillsborough, NJ. Lafferty soon endeared himself to Duke, becoming her closest confidant and travelling with her worldwide during his seven years as her employee.

Although Duke was a public figure, she spent her twilight years privately and mostly with Lafferty. Much of what actually transpired between must be left to speculation, but the consensus is they maintained a relatively healthy friendship. In 2007, HBO Films produced a semi-fictional film about the couple in a movie titled: "Bernard and Doris", starring Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes.

Inheritance and death
In a controversial move, Duke made Lafferty the executor of her estate six months before she died in 1993. After Duke's death, Lafferty managed her many philanthropic endeavors as directed in her will. Lafferty relinquished control as co-executor of the Duke estate in a 1995 settlement with Duke's disinherited adopted daughter. Lafferty lived at "Falcon Lair", Duke's Bel Air estate until he died of illnesses related to alcohol and drug abuse in 1996, his ashes scattered at sea.


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