Potential TV Series on 'The von Bülow Affair' Apr 6, 2016 14:43:51 GMT -5
Post by Graveyardbride on Apr 6, 2016 14:43:51 GMT -5
Potential TV Series Based on 'The von Bülow Affair'
According to the New York Daily News, Universal Cable Productions plans to develop a potential series based on true crime book The Von Bülow Affair, by author-playwright William Wright. The company is hoping the famed criminal case will become the new Making a Murderer.
Martha Sharp Crawford Auersperg, known as “Sunny,” was an American heiress and socialite. On June 6, 1966, she married Claus von Bülow, a former aide to oilman J. P. Getty, and they had a daughter, Cosima von Bülow, in 1967. By 1979, significant stresses and tensions had developed in their marriage, particularly over Claus’ affair with Alexandra Isles, former star of the cult soap opera Dark Shadows, and both Sunny and Claus spoke openly regarding the possibility of a divorce.
On December 26, 1979, after the family had united for Christmas at Clarendon Court, their mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, Sunny was discovered unresponsive and rushed to the hospital where she slipped into a coma from which she revived. After days of testing, doctors determined the coma was the result of low blood sugar and diagnosed her as hypoglycemic, warning her against overindulging in sweets or going too long without eating. While no foul play was suspected at the time, Claus von Bülow was later accused of causing this incident by injecting his wife with insulin.
In April 1980, she was again hospitalized after appearing incoherent and disoriented and doctors diagnosed “reactive hypoglycemia.” Mrs. von Bülow was advised to follow a strict diet, which included limiting her sugar intake and avoiding alcohol.
By December 1980, Claus was also having problems with Alexandra Isles, who wasn’t at all happy about being the “other woman,” and the two argued. Later, his mistress had a change of heart and indiscreetly dropped off two gifts for Claus at the von Bülow’s apartment at 960 Fifth Avenue. Sunny became aware of these gifts and some believe this was all part of Alexandra’s scheme. Nevertheless, Claus reluctantly joined the family for Christmas at Clarendon Court and on the evening of December 21, 1980, Sunny again became confused and uncoordinated. Her family helped her to bed and the following morning, she was found lying unconscious on the bathroom floor. She was transported to the emergency room where it soon became clear she was in a persistent vegetative state. Although clinical features resembled a drug overdose, some of the laboratory evidence suggested hypoglycemia.
Because of the increased marital tensions between Claus and their mother, Sunny’s two older children, Ala and Alex Auersperg, suspected her brain injury was the result of foul play. They persuaded Richard H. Kuh, former New York County district attorney, to investigate the possibility that Claus had attempted to murder his wife. Following an investigation and the gathering of evidence, Rhode Island prosecutors presented the case to a grand jury which returned a true bill, and in July 1981, von Bülow was charged with two counts of attempted murder. He was convicted of attempting to kill his wife by administering an insulin overdose, but his conviction was overturned on appeal. A second trial found him not guilty, after experts opined Sunny’s symptoms were attributable to an overuse of prescription drugs. The story was dramatized in the book and movie, Reversal of Fortune.
Sunny von Bülow lived almost 28 years in a permanent vegetative state until her death in a New York nursing home December 6, 2008.
Sources: Ryan Belmore, What's Up New Port, March 2, 2016, and The Von Bülow Affair by William Wright.