Rebekah Harkness in 1966. In 1961, Harkness decided she wanted to become the next great ballet master, so she sponsored actual master Robert Joffrey’s artisanal ballet troupe. Click to copy. This had devastating consequences. All Rights Reserved. The two purchased a mansion in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, which they nicknamed Holiday House. Though the Harkness Ballet was floundering, there was one brilliant choreographer, Larry Rhodes, who received good press. She hoped that the fourth time would be the charm, but the socialite had no such luck. Harkness was surprisingly generous when it suited her, but also unpredictably bizarre. Edith often used her mother’s many, many pills to perform these attempts—and Rebekah was anything but empathetic. Factinate is a fact website that is dedicated to finding and sharing fun facts about science, history, animals, films, people, and much more. On June 10, 1939, Harkness married Dickson W. Pierce, the son of Thomas M. Pierce and a descendant of Franklin Pierce. When Rebekah decided to renovate her Rhode Island mansion, she demanded that it have a whopping eight kitchens and 21 baths. Scevers and Harkness brought out the worst in each other. A 1955 article from The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that one of her works would be premiering at Carnegie Hall in New York City.) One of her conquests, producer Bertrand Castelli, described one rendezvous they had in her office as like “two camels in the desert who suddenly know that the only way to make an oasis is to really talk sense.” This…actually doesn’t make sense, which probably means it was a really wild night. The answer is more complicated than Swift’s song reveals. Her body had been slowly falling into disrepair—those injections hurt far more than they helped—and she started complaining of a mysterious stomach ailment. She applied herself with a rigid, frightening discipline that would become her trademark later in life. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery. (Allegedly, it was a cat if it matters.). Harkness had no problem dropping Joffrey like a hot potato when he wouldn’t support her dismal vanity projects. Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? Source for information on Harkness, Rebekah (1915–1982): Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia dictionary. The pair was horribly mismatched, with Lauersen a whopping 20 years younger than his bride. Rebekah Harkness in 1966, Taylor Swift in 2020. In 1954, something curious happened to Rebekah Harkness: Her oil tycoon husband passed. Her parents hired a nanny for Harkness specifically because she "had worked in an insane asylum," and then Harkness went to finishing school, where she decided to "do … The Pack didn’t stop at putting poisonous substances into punch bowls; they also got very rowdy at these gatherings. Watch the video for "The Last Great American Dynasty": Woytus is St. Louis Magazine's deputy editor. Allen shot and killed a man in a brawl and was charged with second-degree murder, the charge eventually being reduced to manslaughter , with Allen serving a total of eight years. When she was still desperately clinging to her ballet dreams, Harkness decided to install an enormous, blue plastic Geodesic dome right smack dab in the middle of her front lawn as a formal practice space for her failing dancers. rebekah harkness children. 1940) and Anne Terry Pierce (b. All rights reserved. She shoved $5 million into building the Harkness Theater, a lavish studio complete with marble staircases and a chandelier, and it was all for nothing: The company collapsed in 1975. Harrison notes some of the same lighter-hearted factoids about Harkness from Unger’s biography: She was allegedly once kicked off a cruise ship for swimming nude, for example. The Harkness Foundation for Dance still exists. When publicizing her ballet, Harkness became notorious for refusing to showcase any of her talented dancers in the promotional photographs. And that wasn’t the only ill-advised thing she did…. Upon the album’s release, much of the Internet was thrown into a “Who Is Rebekah West Harkness?” madness. Although Catherine's successor Queen Anne Boleyn suffered an infamously dark fate, Aragon's own life was somehow even more tragic. The Harknesses were married for a brief period—just seven years. Still, when you marry for money, you earn every penny…. Thanks for your help! Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. No clan is left untouched, and even families that seem happy and normal on…. Rebekah's daughter, Ann-Terry Pierce gave birth to a severely disabled child, named Angel who died at the age of ten. Instead, she was reared by a series of nannies—and that’s not even the worst part. Harkness, Rebekah (1915–1982)American composer, sculptor, dance patron, and philanthropist who founded the Harkness Ballet. Extravagant Facts About Barbara Hutton, “The Poor Little Rich Girl”, These Cruel Teachers Are The Stuff Of Student Nightmares, Bone-Chilling Moments We'll Never Be Able To Explain, Bloody Facts About Ivan the Terrible, The Mad Tsar Of Russia, Plot Twist: These Surprise Endings Made Our Jaws Hit The Floor, More People Need To Know About Nell Gwyn, England’s X-Rated Cinderella, The Jaw-Dropping Life of Josephine Baker, The Black Pearl Of Paris, Absolute Legends: The Wildest Pranks Ever Pulled, Lawyers Reveal Their Most Jaw-Dropping Court Cases, Overheard Once, Forgotten Never: These Hurtful Comments Are Completely Brutal, I’m Done: These People Quit Their Bad Jobs And Toxic Relationships In Epic Ways. By 1956, she had even snagged a photo spread in Vogue, appearing in a neat, black Mainbocher dress with a white satin apron at her back. Hey, all publicity is good publicity—and Rebekah’s need to be in the spotlight soon grew to disturbing proportions. Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history. Not really. Although William Harkness came from a well-respected family that was supposed to give Rebekah even more of the status she craved, William himself was…a total fool. Rebekah Harkness inherited the vast Standard Oil fortune after her husband William Harkness died in 1953; the couple purchased the seaside mansion in 1947 as newlyweds and named it ‘Holiday House’ After her husband’s death, she remodeled the home to have 8 kitchens and 21 bathrooms so she could avoid seeing her children when she entertained guests like Salvador Dalí (who later … Born Rebekah Semple West on April 17, 1915, in St. Wealthy, elegant, and beautiful, Harkness seemed to have it all—from her oil baron husband to her notoriously raucous parties. This is where Rebekah really started getting a tarnished reputation, and things got so bad that no amount of money could fix her downfall. Rocky Finds His Heart is Rebekah's first children's book. But most people don’t know the most chilling part. Harkness pulled this prank at her own sister’s debutante ball. While at her fancy finishing school, Harkness didn’t seem to care that her classmates were people with last names like “Roosevelt.” Instead, she scrawled in her scrapbook that she wanted to “do everything bad.” Well, she certainly achieved her goal…. The resulting damages to herself, her companies and her children were heartbreaking. The St. Louis–born socialite is the subject of the singer-songwriter's "The Last Great American Dynasty.". Taylor Swift’s, new song titled ‘The Last Great American Dynasty’ is about Rebekah Harkness, the scandal-ridden socialite who once owned the Watch Hill, Rhode Island mansion Swift purchased in 2013 Taking a break from her deeply intimate, autobiographical anthems, Taylor Swift’s eight album,’Folklore’ is a collection of songs written ‘from the perspective of people I’ve … With that, Rebekah’s “unconditional” love evaporated. By Heran Mamo. The Harknesses shared a HUGE Watch Hill, Rhode Island mansion, called … For a time in the 1950s, socialite Rebekah Harkness was true American royalty. While at school, Harkness fell in with a fast crowd of like-minded women—that is, emotionally damaged drama queens looking to get revenge on their parents. The others, they just know how to bite.” Wow, I’m getting the sense that these two really liked dirty talk. One day, Harkness’s antics were so extreme that they got her kicked off a cruise ship. Unfortunately for Rebekah, the endeavour ended in national embarrassment and disaster. And she was just getting started. And when the time came to put Harkness into the Chalice of Life, the plot thickened. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at contribute@factinate.com. P.O. If you hear “oil” and think “Russian Oligarch rich,” you’d be pretty much right. He was not convinced. Nonetheless, Harkness actually doted on the babe, and for a time it seemed like she was going to be a better granny than she was a mommy. In the 1960s, Harkness took Bobby Scevers, a dancer who was 25 years her junior, as her lover. He uses his nose to find bones, treats, and fun adventures. No matter what she did or who she tried to pay off, the great American heiress had a terrifyingly short time to live. Her daughter Terry gave birth to a child who died at age 10. Apparently, Harkness liked to reward her boy-toys, because she soon made Castelli the artistic director of her ballet company. As yet another troubled member of the family, Allen had gotten into a fight, slain a man, and was eventually sentenced with manslaughter. Rebekah had already had two children with her first husband, Allen and Anne “Terry” Pierce, and she then had one more child with William, a daughter named Edith. For example, he liked to vanity-publish nonsensical books that even he admitted were awful. When Harkness was 24 years old, she decided it was high time to marry, and she chose Dickson W. Pierce, an upper-class photographer, as her first husband. Pierce was the descendant of Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States, and seemed like a good match for the ambitious girl…except really, he was just a starter husband. She all but fired him from his own company, then twisted the knife by taking most of his dancers with her to form her new, solo Harkness Ballet. 1944). Well, Rebekah Harkness was not to be outdone by anyone, and she commissioned her own “Harkness Blue,” which she used to upholster the velvet Louis XIV-style chairs she had placed in her dance studio. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. After that, Rebekah really let it all hang out. Husbands hiding things from wives, mothers from children, and generation from generation. As Rebekah’s friend said, “Just a leg is in there, or maybe half of her head, and an arm.” So instead of giving her mother a dignified end, Rebekah’s daughter Terry had to carry the rest of her ashes home, bound up loosely in a humble supermarket bag. Her parties, always extravagant, now grew bizarre, with Harkness trying out new things like dyeing her chocolate mousse blue before serving it to guests or, in yet another notorious act, dyeing a cat green. Born in 1915 in St Louis, Missouri, Harkness was the second daughter of prominent stockbroker Allen Tarwater and … He was in prison. Salinger had the perfect stories for her music, so one day she disguised herself as a cleaning lady, knocked on his door, then tried to convince him to let her use his fiction. However, a 1988 biography of Harkness titled Blue Blood, written by former New York Magazine editor and Vanity Fair contributor Craig Unger, reveals a much sadder, tragic story. But Rebekah made the most of it…. 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