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Caroline Lee Bouvier Canfield Radziwill Ross (née Bouvier, born March 3, 1933) best known as Lee Radziwill, is an American socialite, public relations executive, and former actress and interior decorator. She is the younger sister of the late First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and sister-in-law of President John F. Kennedy. Her niece Caroline Bouvier Kennedy is named after her.

Early life and ancestry

Born March 3, 1933, in Southampton, New York, Caroline Lee Bouvier, called Lee after her maternal grandfather James T. Lee, was the daughter of John Vernou Bouvier III and his wife, the former Janet Norton Lee.[1] She attended Miss Porter's School and Sarah Lawrence College.[2]

Marriages and children

Radziwill has been married three times. Her first marriage, in April 1953, was to Michael Temple Canfield, a publishing executive who had been adopted as an infant by the American publisher Cass Canfield. He was the son of notorious socialite Kiki Preston. It was rumoured that his biological father was Prince George, Duke of Kent, a member of the British Royal Family; if so, then Canfield would be a first cousin of the present Queen. They divorced in 1959, and the marriage was annulled by the Roman Catholic Church in November 1962.[3]

Her second marriage, on March 19, 1959, was to the Polish prince Stanisław Albrecht Radziwiłł, who divorced his second wife, the former Grace Maria Kolin,[4] and received a Roman Catholic annulment of his first marriage to marry the former Mrs. Canfield. (His second marriage had never been acknowledged by the Roman Catholic Church, so no annulment was necessary.)[3]

On September 23, 1988, Radziwill became the second wife of American film director and choreographer Herbert Ross.[2] They divorced in 2001, shortly before his death.

In his book Nemesis, author Peter Evans has stated that Radziwill also had a long-standing affair with Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, and was privately bitterly disappointed when he married her elder sister.

Career attempts and fame

In the 1960s, Radziwill attempted to forge a career as an actress. Her acting attempt was not a success, but she did receive international publicity. Largely untrained, Radziwill received dismal reviews in the 1967 production of The Philadelphia Story, starring as spoiled Main Line heiress Tracy Lord. The play was staged at the Ivanhoe Theatre in Chicago, and Radziwill's performance was widely panned. A year later, she appeared in a television adaptation of the Hollywood film Laura, which was also badly received.[5] Radziwill did not continue her acting work.

She also visited India and Pakistan along with her elder sister Jacqueline Kennedy, (then First Lady of the United States) in March 1962.

Radziwill received a favorable coverage from the wine-and-cheese press for her personal style in the 1960s and 1970s. The two English homes, a townhouse in London and a manor house called Turville Grange in Turville that she shared with her second husband, were decorated by Italian stage designer Renzo Mongiardino and were greatly admired and frequently published by Cecil Beaton and Horst P. Horst. She herself worked briefly as an interior decorator, as well, in a style much influenced by her association with Mongiardino. Her clientele were the wealthy; she once decorated a house "for people who would not be there more than three days a year."[6] She was seen in celebrity company, such as on the 1972 American tour of The Rolling Stones, during which she accompanied Truman Capote.

For some years, Radziwill was a public relations executive for Giorgio Armani, the Italian fashion designer. She is also the author of Happy Times (Assouline, 2003), an autobiographical coffee-table book about her life.

Radziwill received the Légion d'honneur from the French government in 2008. It was presented to her at the home of Bernard-Henri Lévy and Arielle Dombasle in Paris.

Lee Radziwill's Paris and Manhattan apartments were featured in the April 2009 issue of Elle Décor magazine.

References within popular culture

In 2006, a musical titled Grey Gardens opened on Broadway. In the musical, the character of Lee Bouvier appears as a child visiting her aunt's home along with her sister Jackie for the engagement party of their cousin "Little" Edie Beale. The musical centers on the lives of Radziwill's cousin Edith Bouvier Beale and aunt Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale.

References

Notes
  1. "Janet Lee Auchincloss Morris, 81". New York Times. July 24, 1989. "Janet Lee Auchincloss Morris, a leading member of society in Newport, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C., and the mother of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Lee Radziwill Ross, died Saturday after a long illness at her home on Hammersmith Farm in Newport. She was 81 years old and also had a home in Washington." 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Lee Bouvier Radziwill Weds Herbert Ross, Film Director". New York Times. September 24, 1988. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE0DA1731F937A1575AC0A96E948260. Retrieved 2007-06-21. "Lee Bouvier Radziwill and Herbert Ross were married yesterday evening at the bride's home in New York by Justice E. Leo Milonas of the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, First Department. After the ceremony, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the sister of the bride, gave a dinner party for the couple at her home in New York. Rudolf Nureyev, the dancer and director of the Paris Opera Ballet, and John Taras, the associate director of American Ballet Theatre, attended the couple." 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Roman Catholics: The Law's Delay". New York, New York: Time-Life. February 28, 1964. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,873839-1,00.html. Retrieved 4 September 2009. 
  4. Lundy, Darryl, ed. "Grace Maria Kolin". ThePeerage.com, 28 September 2010
  5. Clarke, Gerald. Capote: A Biography (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988), pages 388-389.
  6. New York Magazine, "The Decorating Establishment" February 12, 1979.
Bibliography
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