“Although they were not born rich, they were born to be rich”: the true (and terrible) stories of Capote’s ‘swans’

The second season of ‘Feud’ will capture in eight chapters the story of love and betrayal between Truman Capote and the women of high society whom he baptized as his ‘swans’. Naomi Watts, Demi Moore or Calista Flockhart will be in charge of interpreting them.

  • Joanne Carson (Molly Ringwald)

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    Joanne Carson (Molly Ringwald). Just a few days ago it was confirmed that Molly Ringwald and Demi Moore would join the second season of Feud in which actresses such as Naomi Watts, Calista Flockhart or Chloe Sevigny had already secured their participation. The series, led by Ryan Murphy as showrunner, will begin new shooting this fall and is expected to hit the screens sometime in 2023. This second season, which will be titled Feud: Capote ‘s Women (Enmity: women de Capote), will consist of eight chapters directed by Gus van Sant and inspired by the book by Laurence Leamer Capote’s Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era(Capote’s Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Age). Ringwald will play Joanne Carson, Capote’s friend until the end, the one who was in charge of guarding his ashes. After her death, they were auctioned and bought for around 40,000 euros by anonymous buyers who assured that they would take them “to the movies or to play”. But back to Joanne, Johnny Carson’s second wife, she had been a model or a flight attendant for Pan Am before meeting the would-be television star of The Tonight Show. They were married between 1963 and 1972 and ended up being neighbors of the famous writer of In Cold Blood.

  • Truman Capote (Tom Hollander).

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    Truman Capote (Tom Hollander). The new season will be set mainly in the seventies and will cover until the death of the writer in 1984. It will tell the story of the genius when he stabs those who had been his companions, his ‘swans’, with the publication of a short story in Esquire in 1975 airing its secrets. Entitled La Cote Basque. 1965, like the restaurant in which they shared confidences, was supposed to be one of the chapters of what should have been his great masterpiece, on which he had been working for years and for which he had received several advances. But the book, Answered Prayers, remained incomplete after his death.

  • Lee Radziwill (Calista Flockhart)

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    Lee Radziwill as Calista Flockhart. Capote surrounded himself for years with the beauties of the moment, with the most elegant women of high society. But after the publication of the Answered Prayers chapter, they all turned their backs on him and only one ended up forgiving him, Caroline Lee Bouvier. He took it upon himself to make her turn against her by airing on television the rivalry that consumed Lee, the one he had with her older sister Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Even so, the socialite kept good memories of him and so she left it written in her 2003 book Happy Times:“We had fantastic moments together, he was a great influence on me, he had an extraordinary gift for hearing secrets.” She had become a princess by marrying Polish prince Stanislaw Albrecht Radziwill in 1959. A worthless title she continued to use even after her divorce. She was a friend of Oleg Cassini or Yves Saint Laurent, portrayed by Cecil Beaton, Richard Avedon or Peter Beard, her youthful boyfriend. For many, she is the truly stylish one from one of the richest families in the state of New York, well above her mediatic sister with whom she shared a love for Aristotle Onassis. Lee was in a relationship with the ship owner before Jackie married him.

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    CZ Guest (Chloe Sevigny). Another style icon of the time, model and muse of artists such as Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol or Diego Rivera, for which she posed nude. She came from a family of East Coast ancestry, but she enjoyed a wild youth, performing with the Ziegfeld Follies. All that ended when she married Winston Frederick Churchill Guest, a relative of the British Prime Minister, and her family closed the chapter by buying Rivera’s painting. She traded the Broadway stage for hunting in Spain with Franco and her work as a philanthropist, sponsoring young creatives just starting out, such as designer Oscar de la Renta.

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    Ann Woodward (Demi Moore). Without a doubt, the one who suffered the most collateral damage from Capote’s indiscretion in her story was Ann Woodward, who will be played by Demi Moore. On the Basque Coast. 1965,the writer uncovered a high society crime that had been silenced 20 years ago: Ann shot, in theory unintentionally, her husband, William. She had been born on a Kansas farm and was a showgirl and actress when she met Manhattan’s most coveted heir, William Woodward Jr., at a party. They became engaged and married within weeks to the chagrin of his family. A resume and haste that immediately earned him the label of careerist. Like several of those ‘swans’, they were women who “although they were not born rich, they were born to be rich”, Truman Capote would say. Ann soon took on the role of a lady of high society: haute couture, jewelry, decorators, portraits commissioned to Dali and the most interesting dinners in the city. She also did not miss other classics of thejet setters like the combo of pills and alcohol or lovers. One night in 1955, when her marriage was falling apart and after having attended a party in honor of the Duchess of Windsor, she shot her husband, believing that he was an intruder in the house. To protect the good name of the family, she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital and banished from good New York society. It was concluded that everything had been a terrible accident until two decades later, when everything was forgotten, the author of Breakfast at Tiffany ‘s brought it back to light. A few days before Capote Ann’s publication she already knew that she would open up about her crime again and she committed suicide by taking a cyanide tablet in her Park Avenue apartment. The story is so succulent that Dominick Dunne recovered it ten years later inThe two Grenville ladies.

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    Slim Keith (Diane Lane). With her distinguished demeanor and her long blond hair, the Californian embodied the epitome of the golden jacket, even though she came from a middle-class home. She entered the Hollywood circuit very early and at the age of 22 starred on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar magazine, wearing jeans. She had affairs with Clark Gable, Ernest Hemingway and Frank Sinatra and married film director Howard Hawks (whom, it is said, discovered Lauren Bacall), with agent and producer Leland Hayward and with Baron Keith de Castleacre.

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    Babe Paley (Naomi Watts). Capote’s great friend, Barbara Paley, did not do well in Answered Prayers: she had told the writer her secret (her husband was sleeping with the governor’s wife) and he spread it without remorse. They say that it was the friendship that Capote lost the most, especially since Paley died of cancer a few years later without being able to reconcile. Vogue fashion editor ,she left the job after marrying her second husband, the millionaire founder of CBS, William S. Paley. But those years in the magazine stayed with her in the form of impeccable style and passion for fashion. Although her liking came from her cradle: daughter of a good Boston family, she along with her sisters Minnie and Betsey were known as ‘the fabulous Cushing sisters’. Her sisters married Vincent Astor and James Roosevelt and she, already turned into Mrs. Paley, dedicated herself to buying entire haute couture collections, organizing luncheons or sponsoring foundations. In 1941 Time named her the second most stylish woman in the world, behind Wallis Simpson.