Von Bülow was cleared, yet died ‘a prisoner of his reputation’


Von Bülow was cleared, yet died ‘a prisoner of his reputation’

The socialite never managed to shake his notoriety as the man who got away with murdering his wife

Peter Stanford

According to his friends, Claus von Bülow, who has died at the age of 92, was not above sending up his own enduring notoriety as the man who “got away” with trying to murder his millionaire wife.

On one occasion, when having lunch at a London restaurant with the historian Andrew Roberts, Von Bülow spotted Jeremy Irons. “There’s the man who won my Oscar!” he remarked of the actor who had played him so memorably on the big screen as the cold, cynical, calculating husband in Reversal of Fortune, the 1990 film that chronicled Von Bülow’s conviction and then acquittal on charges of giving his American wife, Sunny, a massive overdose of insulin, leaving her in a coma from which she never woke.

Another favourite anecdote also concerned Irons, remembers Sir Antony Beevor, one of the friends Von Bülow made after returning to London following the second trial in Providence, Rhode Island. Von Bülow was watching a charity cricket match on the Wormsley estate in Buckinghamshire, home of his great friends the Gettys, when a man took the seat next to him. They turned to smile politely at each other but the new arrival was Irons, who immediately leapt up and scarpered...

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