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Patricia Kluge files for Bankruptcy
June 25, 2011 11:59 AM   Subscribe

In 1976, at the age of 27, Patricia Rose began a relationship with the married, 62-year-old billionaire John Kluge. At the time, Kluge owned MetroMedia, a company that started life as the Dumont TV network and would go on to become Fox television. Previously, Patricia had been married to British pornographer Russell Gay. She had posed nude in Knave Magazine and had a bit part as a belly dancer in The Nine Ages of Nakedness. In 1981, Patricia Rose and John Kluge married. Soon after, construction began on the Albemarle Estate, a 29,000 sq ft., 45 room home in Virginia. Patricia and John were the 1980s power couple. In 1990, they divorced, and Patricia kept the house and went on to found the Kluge Estate Winery. Now, everything has come crashing down.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear (35 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
arriviste Everest

I can almost feel myself how proud the reporter was of that phrase.
posted by Miko at 12:04 PM on June 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Question: What kind of specific skill sets does a 27 year old stripper need in order to catch & marry an old billionaire, beside the obvious ones?
posted by growabrain at 12:15 PM on June 25, 2011


The question is, can she still belly dance?

No, no sir, that is most positively not the question.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:18 PM on June 25, 2011


I think you want AskMeFi, down the hall.
posted by hippybear at 12:18 PM on June 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Once again I see evidence that having money doesn't imply having good taste. "Buy the most expensive of everything" just doesn't work.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 12:25 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I miss Spy magazine.
posted by Trurl at 12:25 PM on June 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


People have no idea how hard it is to find so many really good things

#firstworldproblem -- to say the least
posted by dhartung at 12:25 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Kluge Estate sounds like a geeky take on the Winchester Mystery House. It's a 45 room mansion with a big blue tarp on it, lots of doors replaced with shower curtains and faucets that require vice grips to open the tap. The family made their fortune off of Duct Tape and Super Glue.
posted by doctor_negative at 12:27 PM on June 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


‘What did we lose? Material things, nothing too important,’ she declared defiantly yesterday.

She seems remarkably sane.
posted by chavenet at 12:30 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The only person I can imagine living in that house is Jeff Koons. You can almost smell the reanimated corpse of Thomas Jefferson conversing with an android Dr. Johnson and a pedophile in a Mickey Mouse costume.
posted by macross city flaneur at 12:38 PM on June 25, 2011


Previously, Patricia had been married to British pornographer Russell Gay.

After which marriage ended, she was known as "the Gay divorcée"?

I'll be here all week

She seems remarkably sane

I have to agree, after a lifetime of marrying money, she seems remarkably willing to accept further ups and downs. (Of course, her current 'down' is still richer than I'll ever be.)
posted by hattifattener at 1:01 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


After nine hard years of marriage, she got only $1 billion, leaving her with a mere $1.6 million a week in interest? How can anyone stay afloat with those meager earnings?

Photos of the little cottage she's been reduced to: 6500 square feet, bought for the low price of $3.675 million. Such a pity to live in such circumstances.
posted by Houstonian at 1:36 PM on June 25, 2011


That Nine Ages of Nakedness movie sounds like what you'd get if Mel Brooks made a Carry on... film starring Benny Hill.
posted by vanar sena at 1:45 PM on June 25, 2011


I remember walking into a leather shop one day (in the US), owned by a French woman who is a superb crafts person. She was making knock-off leather book covers that she was fitting over blocks of wood that were about half the depth of a standard hardcover book. She was making several hundred of those book covers for a "library" that a wealthy couple in a nearby city had commissioned. This "library" consisting of nothing more than these beautifully leather-covered blocks of wood, was going to cost her somewhere in the neighborhood of $600,000. The crafts person was happy to do the work, her profit was going to help her be comfortable for the rest of that year, but she relayed to me that she had never done anything that seemed like such a colossal ego-trip as that job, yet her line of custom purses started at roughly $1200.00 per unit.

There is no limit to what some people will do to aggrandize themselves with the trappings of material wealth. It's the kind of thing that leaves one in awe at the sheer volume of *lack* that someone must feel to want to have this much. Maybe one day we'll start seeing this level of material accumulation for what it really is - a kind of personal pathology.
posted by Vibrissae at 1:51 PM on June 25, 2011 [13 favorites]


I find this obscene.
posted by likeso at 1:54 PM on June 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Vibrissae: "There is no limit to what some people will do to aggrandize themselves with the trappings of material wealth. It's the kind of thing that leaves one in awe at the sheer volume of *lack* that someone must feel to want to have this much."

Mukesh and Anil Ambani have never lacked for anything. A pox on both their houses.
posted by vanar sena at 2:02 PM on June 25, 2011


I suspect that Kluge wasn't a billionaire when she married him. He was the CEO of Metromedia, a public company, when he bought the company from his shareholders in a leveraged buyout for $1.1 billion. Over the next few years, he proceeded to dismantle the company, selling bits off to Rupert Murdoch and others for many billions, money that he could have earned for his stockholders, who had hired him to run the company in their interest. I've viewed him as one of America's biggest thieves.

Ah, agency costs.
posted by Jasper Fnorde at 2:03 PM on June 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


I remember being a student at the University of Virginia when she was still married to John Kluge. She was named to the Board of Visitors of the University, which is the organization which has ultimate governance of the school, in spite of her never having gone to college herself. There was quite a scandal about it at the time.

When she and John were divorced, the other scandal was that it was because apparently she was having an affair with the current governor of Virginia, Douglas Wilder.
posted by MythMaker at 2:07 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


rich bitch (NSFW)
posted by robbyrobs at 2:16 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


then building her 8-bedroom, 13-bathroom house

That seems like kind of a strange ratio. Is it common (or, rather, usual) among the Richie Riches of the world?
posted by Sys Rq at 2:28 PM on June 25, 2011


I think it isn't all that uncommon. As you get into higher cost housing the notion that anyone should have to share a bathroom becomes increasingly mortifying. So, you end up with a bathroom for each bedroom, plus several others sprinkled through the residence.
posted by meinvt at 2:39 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hot young chick marries rich old dude...what's new here?
posted by hal_c_on at 2:48 PM on June 25, 2011


Patricia Kluge always wants the best, regardless of the cost - and the cost should reflect the best. I think for most of her married to Kluge life she never actually thought about the cost of things, because she didn't have to - and that attitude stuck around after the divorce and her tremendous settlement. If someone said no, she'd offer more and more and more money to get their product, and was successful most of the time.

I don't know her personally, but I am somewhat local to her. I've watched her trying to sell Albemarle House (first asking price? 10x the next highest house on the market - it was halved and halved again and was still 2-3 times more than the next highest house on the market - and not as lovely or livable as other multi-million houses), and saw her fabulously expensive collection of antiques and furnishings (for which she paid top dollar) sold at auction at some (relatively) good bargains.

I've watched her set up her winery. Shooting for being the best is a great goal, but expecting to be the best right out of the starting gate isn't particularly rational, especially if you are also going to charge upper dollar for a bottle (I believe $250, initially) with no history to justify it. She felt that her rich friends would all buy it, and their friends, and that's all she needed to be successful. And then, when that was slower than she expected, she decided - just as the housing market began to look floopy - to start a major housing development whose houses had their own mini-vinyards and a little land. It was like the money was never going to run out, even though, of course, it did.

Locally, reaction to her is very mixed. A recent biting article on her troubles in one of our local alt weeklies gained a fair amount of harsh reaction and praise.
posted by julen at 3:14 PM on June 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


So, you end up with a bathroom for each bedroom, plus several others sprinkled through the residence.

As the house grows larger, you also end up with a lot of what were formerly known as half-baths scattered around the house so it's not a 5 minute jog to the nearest toilet. Showers and bathtubs are still relegated to the living quarters, but the public parts of the house may have a wc off of every major room so they're convenient.
posted by hippybear at 3:16 PM on June 25, 2011


Hm. I guess I was hoping the hoity-toits were still doing that thing where they all take their classy dumps in a chamber pot right there in the dining room in front of everybody who's anybody. Alack!
posted by Sys Rq at 3:33 PM on June 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why do I not hate her? She really was a handsome woman. She didn't steal money, she spent it, and profited artists, craftspeople, taxidermists and builders. Her winery was a glorious folly. I'm sure she was horrid and depraved, but it didn't show in her face.
posted by Faze at 4:01 PM on June 25, 2011 [11 favorites]


Sys Rq: re the bedroom/ bathroom ratio thing --- when he left the official Vice President's residence, Richard Cheney and his wife moved into a brand-new, custom-built-to-their-specifications home in McLean, Va. It has 4 bedrooms, and 9 (full) bathrooms.

I've always figured it was because he's an older dude: you know, older dudes, prostate troubles, don't wanna get too far from the plumbing.....
posted by easily confused at 5:43 PM on June 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Faze: "Why do I not hate her? She really was a handsome woman. She didn't steal money, she spent it, and profited artists, craftspeople, taxidermists and builders. Her winery was a glorious folly. I'm sure she was horrid and depraved, but it didn't show in her face."

Faze, that was like a short brilliant paragraph from a Raymond Chandler novel.
posted by meadowlark lime at 7:41 PM on June 25, 2011 [14 favorites]


Yeah, fuck Albemarle County. Bigots with money.
posted by bardic at 9:27 PM on June 25, 2011


Maybe she is a terrible person, I don't know. But I'm less than delighted by the recurring emphasis on her SEXY SHAMEFUL PAST, WHICH IS SHAMEFUL AND FULL OF SEX.
posted by Neofelis at 11:22 PM on June 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah, fuck Albemarle County. Bigots with money.

Amazing. You actually described every person I knew growing up there and still know who live there today.
posted by Atreides at 8:54 AM on June 26, 2011


trurl: I miss Spy magazine.

I miss quite a few things about Spy at its best, but the sort of heavy-handed, over-wrought celebrity shaming that the linked article exemplifies isn't one of them. It's of a piece with things like the stunt that they pulled with celebrities where they sent them checks in ever-decreasing amounts from a fictitious company, to see who would bother to deposit them or even personally endorse them, and reported gleefully that Cher (then at the height of her popularity) personally signed for one in the amount of two cents. The crime isn't that they were ruthless or cruel (although Spy did go after people on that basis, as well), it's that they were tacky. It's the flip side of the shameless celebrity-mongering that Graydon Carter did (and still does) when he left Spy and went to Vanity Fair. Really, it's not that much different in tone and substance than Albert Goldman's books on Elvis and John Lennon.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:34 AM on June 26, 2011


This is another great example of the trickle down economics that saint Ronnie promised us. now if every exotic dancer could sink her hooks into a billionaire, we'd have enough fuel to keep the job creation machine going endlessly.
posted by Renoroc at 11:32 AM on June 26, 2011


what some people will do to aggrandize themselves

That's messed up. Who needs that much space? But at least the 'house' employs 600 people. 'Trickle down' indeed.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:03 PM on June 26, 2011


Yeah, fuck Albemarle County. Bigots with money.

There are lots of normal people who live there*. The place for some reason draws some wealthy eccentric people, but it isn't like they have the run of the place. I lived in Washington DC for three years and never met a politician, for example. There are about 45,000 people living in the county.

* like me
posted by dgran at 7:52 AM on June 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


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