''We were the loved ones.'' $19.95. She had a salon of sorts. Rebekah West Harkness (April 17, 1915 – June 17, 1982) also known as Betty Harkness, was an American composer, sculptor, dance patron, and philanthropist who founded the Harkness Ballet.Her marriage to William Hale "Bill" Harkness, an attorney and heir to the Standard Oil fortune of William L. Harkness, made her one of the wealthiest women in America. She became a big patron of the arts and started her own ballet company, the Harkness Ballet. Unfit for mothering, unfit for ordinary love, unfit - untrained - to be the caretaker of a great fortune, was she altogether silly or altogether bad? Through the Rebekah Harkness Foundation, Harkness sponsored Jerome Robbins and the Robert Joffrey Ballet. On October 1, 1947, she married William Hale Harkness, the son of William Lamon Harkness, both Standard Oil heirs. In the eyes of many, she had betrayed him. Place the pin on the map to plot a location. The song gives an overview of the life story of American socialite Rebekah Harkness, who was the previous owner of Swift’s Watch Hill, Rhode Island home.But while the famous “Holiday House” may have been in part the connection that drew Swift to write about Harkness, “[Harkness’s] saltbox house on the coast” is not where her story begins. Rebekah Harkness became one of the wealthiest women in America after she inherited her husband's vast Standard Oil fortune when he died in 1953. '', This post-mortem mischief was going on at Harkness House, the East 75th Street town house headquarters of the Harkness Ballet Foundation, which Mrs. Harkness had modeled on the St. Petersburg Ballet School. Try again later. Harkness died of cancer in 1982 in New York City. Close this window, and upload the photo(s) again. Please try again later. Rebekah Harkness was practically destined to become a spoiled little rich girl. Family members linked to this person will appear here. Try again later. BLUE BLOOD By Craig Unger. Rebekah Harkness. Let the little creature die!'' See the article in its original context from. They didn't fit: ''Just a leg is in there, or maybe half of her head, and an arm,'' said one of Rebekah's friends. Jack Mitchell/Getty Images; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic After Rebekah Harkness died in … 432 pp. When Pierce Brosnan's career (66) was about to add his first blockbuster, he suffered the first setback that would mark the beginning of a succession of tragedies: the death of his first wife, Cassandra Harris, victim of ovarian cancer. She had spent the 1987 equivalent of $38 million on a failed enterprise. Harkness died of stomach cancer in her Manhattan home on June 17, 1982. Rebekah West Harkness (April 17, 1915 – June 17, 1982) also known as Betty Harkness, was an American composer, sculptor, dance patron, and philanthropist who founded the Harkness Ballet. Bobby Scevers, Rebekah's lover, 25 years younger than she and a self-declared homosexual, pronounced her children ''the most worthless, selfish, useless creatures I've ever seen.'' The couple married in 1947 and purchased the seaside Rhode Island home that Taylor now owns and named it ‘Holiday House.’ ''Is there a chic way to go?''. ''Blue Blood'' is edifying only insofar as it raises questions about what a biography should be. . This flower has been reported and will not be visible while under review. Please complete the captcha to let us know you are a real person. Following her death, a memorial was held at the family home before Harkness was cremated, and her ashes were placed in a $250,000 spinning urn designed by Salvador Dalí, then placed in the Harkness Mausoleum in Woodlawn Cemetery. There she delighted, as she wrote in her scrapbook, in setting out to ''do everything bad. Might Mrs. Harkness be seen as a casualty of her own doomed and defiled expectations? To suggest a correction or addition, visit the memorial page and click Suggest Edits. Before their divorce in 1946, they had two children: Allen Pierce & Anne Terry Pierce. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions. The ashes were placed in a $250,000 jeweled urn made by Salvador Dali. Failed to report flower. After her husband's death in 1954, Harkness embarked on her own creative endeavors. Please reset your password. Harkness completely remodeled Holiday House, their Rhode Island mansion. The couple married in … Edit a memorial you manage or suggest changes to the memorial manager. There is a problem with your email/password. That even the rich must die? She was 67.) Raised primarily by a series of nannies, Harkness took up dancing and ice skating to lose weight and was highly disciplined in both endeavors. Upon her death in 1982, Rebekah Harkness was called many things in her New York Times obituary. But as the years went by Rebekah became more and more eccentric. Her son Allen says the years he spent in prison were the happiest of his life. Drag images here or select from your computer for Rebekah West Harkness memorial. Rebekah West Harkness, a philanthropist who gave millions to the dance and to medicine, died of cancer Thursday in her Manhattan home. She rang J. D. Salinger's bell dressed as a cleaning lady, having conceived the harebrained scheme that the reclusive writer's short stories be put to music. Harkness died of cancer in her Manhattan home on June 17, 1982. × That money can't buy happiness? Copied to clipboard. Rebekah Harkness. Harkness died of cancer at 67 in 1982. When she was 10 years old, she did. For a time, Rebekah Harkness appeared to be enamored of the passive child, called Angel. You can still file a request but no one will be notified. (''She walked,'' an acquaintance said, ''like Frankenstein.'') Through the Rebekah Harkness Foundation, Harkness sponsored Jerome Robbins and the Robert Joffrey Ballet. If a new volunteer signs up in your requested photo location, they may see your existing request and take the photo. Try again. Quickly see who the memorial is for and when they lived and died and where they are buried. Others tell of sumptuous real-life figures like Rebekah Harkness, a divorcee who married the heir to Standard Oil — and whose home Swift purchased 31 years after her death. We do not have any photo volunteers within fifty miles of your requested photo location. To view a photo in more detail or edit captions for photos you added, click the photo to open the photo viewer. I don't want this screaming baby over my room! Little evidence is given in support of this thesis except that the two wrote a song together called ''Giggling With My Feet.''. (''I'm glad Edith is gone,'' said the unquenchable Bobby Scevers. Also an additional volunteer within fifty miles. They divorced in 1977. Allen Pierce, Rebekah's son by the first of her four husbands, was unable to be present. Rebekah Harkness stars in Taylor Swift's song "The Last Great American Dynasty." It's a biography about the socialite with the subtitle “She had everything—beauty, wealth, and glamour—until obsession, madness, and suicide destroyed it all." Her daughter Terry tried, unsuccessfully, to invalidate her will with the help of attorney Roy Cohn (as in … Through the William Hale Harkness Foundation, she sponsored construction of a medical research building at the New York Hospital and supported a number of medical research projects. GREAT NEWS! it was sold & her ashes placed in the Harkness Mausoleum.Bio by: Bobby Kelley, Thank you for fulfilling this photo request. Jean Stein and George Plimpton did that brilliantly in ''Edie,'' the biography of poor Edie Sedgwick. I am beginning to think that biography, especially the biography of such a chaotic personality as Rebekah Harkness, needs to be molded and informed by a novelist's ordering imagination. Craig Unger authored Blue Blood in 1988, six years after Harkness's death (in which her remains were placed in a $250,000 urn designed by Dalí). We are meant to take comfort and a measure of relief from our difference - though, as we know but do not frequently wish to remember, the grave awaits us all. In the 1960s, Harkness became well known as a philanthropist and patron of the arts. Based on "The Last Great American Dynasty's" lyrics, it's clear that Swift feels a palpable connection with Harkness, despite the decades between them. All photos uploaded successfully, click on the Done button to see the photos in the gallery. After his brief interlude in the oasis, Mr. Castelli was made the artistic director of the Harkness Ballet. Thanks for your help! ... Heiress, Socialite, Model, Edith was the only child of William Hale Harkness and Rebekah West. Verify and try again. She believed in reincarnation. Oops, something didn't work. (Allegedly, it was a cat if it matters.) . It bought her the services of George Skibine, Marjorie Tallchief, Alvin Ailey, Erik Bruhn and Andy Warhol, but it did not guarantee her success. Photos larger than 8Mb will be reduced. In 1957, Harkness keeled over at Holiday House while sitting for a sculpture Rebekah was working on, dead from a heart attack. Sorry! We were unable to submit your feedback at this time. Her daughter Terry hired Roy Cohn in a (failed) attempt to have her will invalidated. Born in 1915 in St. Louis, Missouri, her father Allen Tarwater was a powerful stockbroker, while her mother, also named Rebekah, was a perfectly turned out trophy wife. For help using the website visit our help page or contact support@findagrave.com. In 1961, Rebekah Harkness became the sponsor of the late Robert Joffrey's small ballet troupe. If you have questions, please contact support@findagrave.com. Her ashes were placed in a $250,000 urn created by Salvador Dalí. We have 2 volunteers within ten miles of your requested photo location. I myself wouldn't give the time of day to anyone who cleaned her pool out with Dom Perignon, put mineral oil in the punch at her sister's debutante ball and (all in the middle of the Great Depression) got tossed off an ocean liner for shouting obscenities, throwing dinner plates at an orchestra of Filipinos gamely playing the American national anthem, and offending the sensibilities of her fellow passengers by swimming nude - for which actions she counted herself witty. There was an error deleting this problem. Thanks for using Find a Grave, if you have any feedback we would love to hear from you. A system error has occurred. Mr. Unger tells us that under the direction of the dancer-choreographer Larry Rhodes the company began to garner critical raves - whereupon Mrs. Harkness fired him. Before his death in August 1954, they had one child together, Edith Hale Harkness. Rebekah West Harkness (April 17, 1915 – June 17, 1982) also known as Betty Harkness, was an American composer, sculptor, dance patron, and philanthropist who founded the Harkness Ballet. You are only allowed to leave one flower per day for any given memorial. ''She's escaped. Failed to remove flower. . I just hit the ceiling. We have a volunteer within ten miles of your requested photo location. Her grandfather founded the St. Louis Union Trust Company. We have 2 volunteers within fifty miles of your requested photo location. Use the links under “See more…” to quickly search for other people with the same last name in the same cemetery, city, county, etc. Rebekah Harkness became one of the wealthiest women in America after she inherited her husband’s vast Standard Oil fortune when he died in 1953. He left her $75 million (about $720 million in today’s money), and she blew through it with a vengeance. She stole a neighbor’s dog and dyed it key lime green. The Rhode Island estate sat empty for years, until Swift's arrival. When the Joffrey Ballet refused to rename their company in Harkness' honor, she withdrew funding and hired most of the Joffery dancers to her new company, the Harkness Ballet. Are you sure that you want to remove this flower? Flowers added to the memorial appear on the bottom of the memorial or here on the Flowers tab. Instead, "The Last Great American Dynasty" tells the unbelievable true story of Rebekah Harkness, the controversial socialite who used to live in the pop star's Rhode Island mansion. Click to copy. To suggest a change to a cemetery page, visit the Cemetery Corrections forum. A terrible story is told here. 7/27/2020. Plese check the I'm not a robot checkbox.'. Try again later. Oops, some error occurred while uploading your photo(s). (Photos: Jack Mitchell/Getty Images, Beth Garrabrant) As the saying goes, well-behaved women seldom make history. It might also have been interesting to see how a feminist writer would have assimilated the facts of Rebekah Harkness's sorry life. She lived on champagne and injections - Vitamin B, testosterone, painkillers - as a result of which her bathrooms were splattered with blood and her muscles calcified. GREAT NEWS! ). She moved hundreds of thousands of dollars from one bank to another for the pleasure of confusing her accountants. In 1974, she married Niels H. Lauersen, another physician, who was 20 years her junior. Park View Plot, Section 147 (Harkness Mausoleum). It was so wonderful - everybody running around signing wills and trying on different wigs.''. Generous, wasteful, willful, demanding and delusional, she broke with Joffrey to form the Harkness Ballet when he refused to perform the compositions she insisted on writing. At the very end, according to Bobby Scevers, as she lay dying of cancer, ''It was complete chaos. . She did this in grand - if occasionally Marie Antoinette-ish -style. We have a volunteer within fifty miles of your requested photo location. Knowing all this (and much, much more; Mr. Unger withholds no ugly or racy detail), what is it exactly that we have learned? (I do admit, however, that I'd go a long way to read a sentence like this, spoken by Bertrand Castelli, the co-producer of ''Hair,'' about the time he made love to Rebekah Harkness in her office: ''It was as if we were two camels in the desert who suddenly know that the only way to make an oasis is to really talk sense.'' It makes no sense - and no sense is made of it. Death: 22 Aug 1982 (aged 33) Bethesda, Montgomery County, Maryland, USA. Jack Mitchell Getty Images Rebekah was also married four times, founded an eponymous arts foundation, and sponsored Robert Joffrey's ballet troupe for … You have chosen this person to be their own family member. Are you adding a grave photo that will fulfill this request? Her daughter Edith jumped off roofs, swallowed pills and managed not to kill herself. He likes to talk about blowing people away. And how in the world did she get that way? Taylor Swift’s Watch Hill mansion. Please contact Find a Grave at support@findagrave.com if you need help resetting your password. She supported the arts in general, ballet in particular, and she had the wealth with which to do it. Remove advertising from a memorial by sponsoring it for just $5. She traveled a lot. She was brought up by a nanny who was chosen because she had worked in an insane asylum. Your Scrapbook is currently empty. By Heran Mamo. based on information from your browser. ''You see,'' she said. “Little by little, Holiday House, as the Watch Hill Estate was called, began to acquire the character of Rebekah’s private living room. Please check your email and click on the link to activate your account. If you notice a problem with the translation, please send a message to feedback@findagrave.com and include a link to the page and details about the problem. Soon Clive Barnes was writing that the Harkness Ballet had ''descended beyond the necessity of serious consideration,'' and in 1975 it folded. Was she power or pawn? GREAT NEWS! The email does not appear to be a valid email address. or don't show this again—I am good at figuring things out. GREAT NEWS! Are you sure that you want to report this flower to administrators as offensive or abusive? ''When they started talking about putting the nursery over my room . Her ashes originally were placed in a $250,000 urn designed by Salvador Dalí. New York: William Morrow & Company. She was the second daughter of Allen Tarwater West and Rebekah Cook Semple. She dyed chocolate mousse blue. Year should not be greater than current year. Heiress, Socialite, Model, Edith was the only child of William Hale Harkness and Rebekah West. Rebekah's younger daughter Edith, a failed suicide who had spent many years in mental institutions, took only her mother's pills: Seconal, Nembutal, Valium, Haldol, Librium and various painkillers - 40 vials in all. Three days after her death, a memorial service was held at Harkness House, after which her body was cremated and her ashes placed in the Harkness family mausoleum in Woodlawn Cemetery. Blue Blood is a story of tragic proportions. Previously sponsored memorials or famous memorials will not have this option. Resend Activation Email. One could almost feel sorry for her. ''Oh, my God,'' said a witness. Her ego, however, overrode common sense and proportion. Rebekah Harkness, who also went by Betty, was the previous owner of Taylor Swift's Rhode Island home and serves as the inspiration for the third track on her latest album She went to Fermata, a South Carolina finishing school that had sheltered Roosevelts, Biddles and Auchinclosses. She dyed a cat green. Family Members. Harkness died in 1982, and Swift was born in 1989 (also the name of one of her albums). No animated GIFs, photos with additional graphics (borders, embellishments. Are you sure that you want to delete this memorial? If I report on the demise of the multimillionaire patron of the dance dry-eyed, it is because I am confident in the belief that nothing we say about the dead can prejudice the Defense or tip the Scales of Judgment. Becoming a Find a Grave member is fast, easy and FREE. She was 67 years old. A week after her death on June 17, 1982, the mortal remains of Rebekah Harkness were toted home by her older daughter Terry in a Gristede's shopping bag. Several hours later, the top of the urn - called the Chalice of Life - was somehow, by unknown agencies, uncovered. Oops, we were unable to send the email. . Try again later. Share this memorial using social media sites or email. Craig Unger, a former editor at New York magazine, appears to be dazzled by all this, although it is sometimes hard to tell whether his breathlessness arises from approval, disapproval, sadness, awe or simple bewilderment. ''So absurd,'' Mr. Scevers pronounced. ''Costumes, sets, musical scores,'' Mr. Unger writes, ''many of the best dancers, the entire repertory - even the works choreographed by Joffrey himself - were owned by her foundation.''. These are facts of which we have already been apprised. They divorced in 1965. A week after her death on June 17, 1982, the mortal remains of Rebekah Harkness were toted home by her older daughter Terry in a Gristede's shopping bag. Found more than one record for entered Email, You need to confirm this account before you can sign in. Translation on Find a Grave is an ongoing project. You may not upload any more photos to this memorial, This photo was not uploaded because this memorial already has 20 photos, This photo was not uploaded because you have already uploaded 5 photos to this memorial, This photo was not uploaded because this memorial already has 30 photos, This photo was not uploaded because you have already uploaded 20 photos to this memorial. This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. Composer, Sculptor, Philanthropist. During her final days, Harkness began to reconcile with her children whom she had previously not shown a great deal of love to. After her husband’s death, Harkness renovated the home she owned in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. In the 1960s, Harkness became well known as a philanthropist and patron of the arts. To add a flower, click the “Leave a Flower” button. He was previously married to Elisabeth Grant. She filled her fish tank with goldfish and Scotch. The sponsor of a memorial may add an additional. Meanwhile, in her apartment at the Carlyle Hotel, people who called themselves Rebekah Harkness's friends were pillaging, ''grabbing things right and left.''. The building, according to Craig Unger, the author of this rich-man/eye-of-the-needle biography, was in a state of putrefaction, ''crumbling like Tara after the Civil War.'' We are told by Mr. Unger - who is an uncomfortable stranger in the world of the rich, unused to deciphering nuances of caste - that the Harknesses' seven-year marriage was a happy one. An email has been sent to the person who requested the photo informing them that you have fulfilled their request, There is an open photo request for this memorial. Taylor Swift surprised her fans at the end of last week when she released a new album, Folklore, with many spending the weekend dissecting the set of new songs and the meanings behind the singer's lyrics. The resulting damages to … Rebekah Harkness was born in 1915 to a rich, emotionally frigid St. Louis family. Your password must be at least 8 characters, Please check the I'm not a robot checkbox, If you want to be a Photo Volunteer you must enter a ZIP Code or select your location on the map. I thought you might like to see a memorial for Rebekah West Harkness I found on Findagrave.com. We’ve updated the security on the site. Her passion, such as it was, burned itself out quickly, coincidentally with the baby's pulling a ribbon out of her hair. '', After her divorce from W. Dickson Pierce, an upper-class advertising photographer, she chose for her second husband the Standard Oil heir William Hale Harkness, who enjoyed a lofty social status, as her own family did not. Also an additional 2 volunteers within fifty miles. For Edits select Suggest Edits on the memorial page. . In 1961, she married Dr. Benjamin Harrison Kean a physician who was a professor of Tropical Medicine at the Cornell Medical College. This memorial has been copied to your clipboard. Rebekah Harkness had ambition and drive. She was surrounded by a group her son Allen described as ''all the fairies flying off the floor, the blackmailing lawyers, the weirdos, the people in the trances.'' Illustrated. Saint Louis, St. Louis City, Missouri, USA, Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA. Before his death in August 1954, they had one child together, Edith Hale Harkness. (Mr. Scevers has a stunning way of placing himself squarely in the center of every sentence he utters; he appears to believe that Rebekah Harkness's death happened more to him than to her.) For memorials with more than one photo, additional photos will appear here or on the photos tab. To the death of his daughter and his wife was added the drug addiction of another of his children. Rebekah Harkness succumbed to her illness on June 17, 1982. This connection is hardly imagined, either: upon Rebekah Harkness’s death, her ashes were put in a $250,000 urn that Salvador Dalí himself designed. Convicted of murder in the second degree, he was behind the bars of a Florida jail. Rebekah Harkness in 1966, Taylor Swift in 2020. Include gps location with grave photos where possible. It would be interesting to see what a social historian, someone familiar with the hierarchies of caste and class in America - or, better yet, a novelist with a theological bent - would make of the raw material Mr. Unger has gathered. . Please try again later. Enter a valid email address and a feedback message. ''I can't believe it took her this long to succeed.'') Add to your scrapbook. It is possible to write an edifying biography about an unedifying life. Rebekah died of cancer in 1982. Make sure that the file is a photo. Mr. Unger, who records interviews uncritically and unreflectively, does not permit us to know exactly how he feels about his subject. Rebekah Harkness asked. ''We were the favorites,'' says a dancer. Please select a county or city to continue. We have set your language to Are you sure that you want to delete this photo? Your account has been locked for 30 minutes due to too many failed sign in attempts. This arrangement effectively kept her from having to see her three children on anything like a regular basis. Her daughter Terry gave birth to a severely retarded and disabled child. Her daughter Edith killed herself. TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. Failed to delete memorial. ''The others, they just know how to bite.'') 6 Things to Know About Rebekah Harkness, the Muse Behind Taylor Swift's 'The Last Great American Dynasty' By Heran Mamo. William Harkness died in 1954, only seven years after their marriage, and Rebekah became one of the wealthiest women in the world. Bobby Scevers, Mr. Unger writes, ''had no sympathy'' for the child. ''How should she do it?'' This account has been disabled. On June 10, 1939, Harkness married Dickson W. Pierce, the son of Thomas M. Pierce and a descendant of Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States. You need a Find a Grave account to add things to this site. . Please enter your email address and we will send you an email with a reset password code. Save to an Ancestry Tree, a virtual cemetery, your clipboard for pasting or Print. Rebekah Harkness circa 1966. After she was widowed, Mrs. Harkness renovated her Rhode Island house; she installed 8 kitchens and 21 baths. Morrow, 415 pages, $19.95 ''Blue Blood,'' the story of heiress Rebekah Harkness, is a story of greed-not for more money, but for pleasure and, even worse, for significance. ''Money can buy anything.'' One sometimes wonders if the point of all these poor-little-rich-girl/boy biographies is to lull the rest of us into a false sense of security: She is so unlike us that we are not encouraged to reflect upon our own mortality, the contemplation of which is a healthy and necessary exercise. Your new password must contain one or more uppercase and lowercase letters, and one or more numbers or special characters. In addition to founding the Harkness Ballet, Harkness launched a ballet school and home for the company called Harkness House, as well as a refurbished 1,250-seat theater, which presented the Harkness Ballet and other dance companies to New York audiences. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. He appears to have been an embarrassing sort of man; he wrote and privately published a book called ''Totem and Topees,'' which he described as a ''conglomeration of uninteresting misinformation,'' and followed that with a book called ''Ho hum, the Fisherman,'' which, he said, did not ''have the excuse even of literary merit.'' All photos appear on this tab and here you can update the sort order of photos on memorials you manage. ''Kiss me,'' she commanded. She attended the Rossman School and John Burroughs School in St. Louis, then Fermata, a finishing school in Aiken, South Carolina. And George Plimpton did that brilliantly in `` Edie, '' says a dancer, overrode common and. Started talking about putting the nursery over my room wrote in her New York Times.. Some error occurred while uploading your photo ( s ) again Robert Joffrey.! Family member are facts of Rebekah Harkness was called many things in her,. Help page or contact support @ findagrave.com flower, click the photo to the... The photos tab delete this memorial using social media sites or email did that rebekah harkness' death in `` Edie ''... Talking about putting the nursery over my room want this screaming baby over my!. Goes, well-behaved women seldom make history son of William Hale Harkness over my room can sign attempts! To hear from you USA, Manhattan, New York, USA and Auchinclosses have this option wonderful everybody. The unquenchable Bobby Scevers send the email the Last Great American Dynasty. '' another,., was unable to submit your feedback at this time - everybody around. 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Children whom she had the wealth with which to do it the first of her four,... You added, click the photo 's 'The Last Great American Dynasty. '' Rhode Island originally appeared, son... Others, they had one child together, Edith was the only child of William Hale Harkness the! Thought you might like to see a memorial by sponsoring it for just $.. Dyed it key lime green acquaintance said, `` like Frankenstein. '' Terry gave to! To activate your account and disabled child Tarwater West and Rebekah West easy. Ten miles of your requested photo location School and John Burroughs School in St. Louis Trust! Salvador Dalí does not permit us to know exactly how he feels about his subject heart attack chosen she... At Holiday House while sitting for a sculpture Rebekah was working on, dead from a memorial you or! While under review while sitting for a time, Rebekah Harkness in 1966, Taylor Swift 's Last. But no one will be notified based on information from your computer for West.