Pamela Harriman (1920-1997), the Woman who made Bill Clinton President
Behind every great man there is a woman and what is often overlooked is that the woman behind Bill Clinton was Pamela Harriman.
Pamela Harriman was married three times to rich and famous men. Two of them died and left her all of their money. This gave her the wealth and power she needed to bankroll the future president.
Born Pamela Digby, her first husband was the son of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. He was a heavy drinker and that marriage ended in divorce.
Next, she married famous Broadway producer Leland Hayward, who produced “The Sound of Music”.
After he died, she married Averell Harriman, then 79 years old, who was a former New York governor and Ambassador to Britain and the Soviet Union, and a former candidate for President of the United States. His family owned Brown Brothers Harriman, America’s leading investment banking and brokerage firm.
Pamela Harriman obviously took good care of her men, and when he died she got every dime.
Always a supporter of liberal causes, she spoke at the 1984 Democratic National Convention, but her candidate lost. Pamela Harriman then bankrolled young Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. She raised $12 million for him. After Clinton was elected, any time she wanted to see him, she called him up and he came right over to her house in Georgetown.
Clinton appointed her as US Ambassador to France, where she died on February 5, 1997 at the age of 76. She died of a cerebral hemorrhage she suffered while swimming in the Embassy swimming poll.
On her way to snaring three famous men as her husbands, she obviously slept with a lot of notable millionaires. Leland Hayward, producer of “The Sound of Music”, called her “the greatest courtesan of the 20th century”. “She loved men, and men loved her, and she knew how to please men,” wrote People Magazine.
Almost every woman dreams of marrying a millionaire and wonders how Pamela Harriman did it three times. The answer: She became the mistress of the men while they were married to other women. For example, she became the mistress of Governor Averell Harriman while she was in her early 20s, even though he was 29 years older than her. In order to cover up this relationship, Harriman had his own daughter move into his house and then had Pamela, who was about the same age as his daughter, move in too. Harriman told his wife that Pamela was the friend and school mate of his daughter and that was why she was living there. In this way, Governor Harriman had both his wife and his mistress sleeping in the same house together, and his wife never suspected anything.
Among her reported lovers that she did not marry were Italian billionaire Gianni Agnelli and journalist Edward R. Murrow.
From wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pamela_Harriman
Pamela Beryl Digby was born in Farnborough, Hampshire, England, the daughter of Edward Digby, 11th Baron Digby, and his wife, Constance Pamela Alice, the daughter of Henry Campbell Bruce, 2nd Baron Aberdare, a peer in the House of Lords. Pamela Digby was educated by governesses in the ancestral home at Minterne Magna in Dorset, along with her three younger siblings. Her great-great aunt was the nineteenth-century adventurer and courtesan Lady Jane Digby, notorious for her exotic travels and scandalous personal life. Pamela was to follow in her ancestor’s footsteps, being frequently cited as “the 20th century’s greatest courtesan.”
At age seventeen, she was sent to a Munich boarding school for six months. Whilst there she was introduced to Adolf Hitler by Unity Mitford. She subsequently went to Paris where she took some classes at the Sorbonne. By 1937, she had returned to England.
Marriage to Randolph Churchill
In 1939, while working at the Foreign Office in London doing French to English translations, Pamela met Randolph Churchill, the son of Winston Churchill. Randolph proposed to her on the very evening they met, and they were married on October 4, 1939. When she became pregnant three months later, she went to live with her in-laws at 10 Downing Street. Two days after Randolph Churchill took his seat in the House of Commons, their son Winston was born. Shortly after birth Pamela and the newborn were photographed by Cecil Beaton for Life Magazine, its first cover of a mother with baby.
Of note is the strong relationship she had with her esteemed and renowned father-in-law who much preferred her company to that of his own son, infamous for his drinking, gambling, womanizing, and anti-social antics. Pamela happened to be with Churchill when the news of Pearl Harbor came.
In February 1941, Randolph was sent to Cairo for military service, where he accrued large gambling debts. His letter to Pamela asking her to make good on his debts shattered the marriage. Eventually, she filed for divorce in December 1945 on the grounds that he had deserted her for three years. Later, after having converted to Catholicism, she even obtained an annulment from the Catholic Church.
Romantic involvements and affairs
Beside two additional marriages, Pamela Harriman had numerous affairs with men of prominence and wealth during her lifetime. During her marriage to Randolph Churchill, she had romantic involvements with men such as: Averell Harriman, who would much later become her third husband; Edward R. Murrow; and John Hay “Jock” Whitney. Notable consorts after her divorce included Prince Aly Khan, Alfonso de Portago, one of the Agnelli heirs, and Baron Elie de Rothschild.
Churchill became well known for her attention to detail with men. When involved romantically with a man, she paid extremely close attention to his desires, his preferences, and went to any lengths necessary to satisfy his needs during the affair. Bill Paley, briefly a consort during the war, said: “She is the greatest courtesan of the century”, meaning it more as a compliment than a detraction.
After her divorce from Randolph Churchill, she moved to Paris and in 1948 began her five-year-long affair with Gianni Agnelli. She described this as the happiest period of her life. Agnelli, however, was not faithful in this relationship. In 1952, Pamela found him with a young woman, Anne-Marie d’Estainville, and threw a rare fit about this. Agnelli sustained a severe leg injury in a car accident while bringing d’Estainville home. Pamela nursed him through his injury, and later became pregnant (although it was never confirmed that this was by Agnelli), but had an abortion in Switzerland. Later, Princess Marella Caracciolo di Castagneto became pregnant by Agnelli, and Pamela Churchill ended the affair.
Her next significant relationship was with Baron Elie de Rothschild, who was married. He supported her financially, and she was schooled in art history and wine-making during this clandestine and short relationship. During this time she also entertained an affair with the writer Maurice Druon and with the shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos.
Marriage to Leland Hayward
In 1959, she met Broadway producer Leland Hayward who was still married to Slim Hawks. He proposed to her, and after her marriage ultimatum to Rothschild was rejected, she accepted Hayward’s offer and moved to New York. The day Hayward’s divorce was final, she became the fifth Mrs. Hayward with the ceremony taking place in Carson City, Nevada on 4 May 1960. He was rich from income of his productions, notably the very successful “The Sound of Music”, allowing for a lavish and luxurious life style mostly between their residence in New York City and the Westchester County estate “Haywire.” Haywire is also the name of the bitter memoirs of her stepdaughter Brooke Hayward. Pamela Hayward stayed with her husband until his death on 18 March 1971.
Marriage to Averell Harriman
The day after Hayward’s funeral, Pamela arranged to resume her acquaintance with her former lover Averell Harriman, then 79 years old and recently widowed. They were married on 27 September 1971. With this marriage, her social focus was moved to Washington, DC, where he owned a townhouse in Georgetown from which they entertained many notable persons. Harriman, a railroad tycoon, was wealthy and also bought an estate in Virginia and a private jet. With Harriman’s involvement and links in the Democratic Party, her political career got started. Her last marriage lasted until his death in 1986. In later years, she had significant legal problems with Harriman’s children concerning the inheritance.
As Pamela Churchill Harriman she became a United States citizen in 1971 and became involved with the Democratic Party, creating a fund-raising system – a political action committee – named “Democrats for the 80s”, later “Democrats for the 90s”, and nicknamed “PamPAC”. In 1980, the National Women’s Democratic Club named her “Woman of the Year”. U.S. President Bill Clinton appointed her United States Ambassador to France in 1993. The Dayton Agreement was signed in Paris in 1995 while she served as ambassador.
Pamela Harriman died on 5 February, 1997, at the American Hospital, Neuilly-sur-Seine, after suffering a cerebral haemorrhage while swimming at the Paris Ritz. The morning after her death, President Jacques Chirac of France placed the Grand Cross of the Légion d’honneur on her flag-draped coffin. She was the first female foreign diplomat to receive this honour. President Clinton, in further recognition of her contributions and significance, dispatched Air Force One to return her body to the United States and spoke movingly at her funeral at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington D.C.
She was buried 14 February, 1997, at Arden, the Harriman estate near, New York
Her life story has been the subject of a documentary film, and has been somewhat Hollywoodized in the 1998 TV movie The Life of the Party: The Pamela Harriman Story with Ann-Margret in the title role.
Titles and styles
The Honourable Pamela Beryl Digby
The Hon. Mrs. Randolph Churchill
The Hon. Mrs. Leland Hayward
The Hon. Mrs. W. Averell Harriman
The Honorable Pamela Churchill Harriman
Hillary’s Watch: Clinton campaign may get boost from ‘independent’ spending
Michael Roston Published: Wednesday February 13, 2008
As Senator Hillary Clinton fights to keep her head in the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination, she may get a little help from her friends. Just as some conservative groups like Freedom’s Watch hope to spend money that tacitly supports Republican efforts to keep the White House, Clinton supporters are contemplating spending money independent of their candidate to help her defeat Sen. Barack Obama.
“At least two sets of Clinton fund-raisers are speaking with lawyers to figure out how to create independent entities to support Mrs. Clinton in Ohio, Texas and other primary contests,” write Brody Mullins, John Emshwiller, and Ianthe Jeanne Dugan in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal. “Susie Tompkins Buell, the founder of the Esprit clothing company, says she is deciding whether to start her own entity to fund commercials for Mrs. Clinton, or whether to donate to existing groups, such as abortion-rights group Emily’s List, that are already spending money on Mrs. Clinton.”
The reporters note that Buell and other Clinton backers may never get started because of the difficulties of campaign finance law. But, they write, it shows that, “wealthy Americans are increasingly funding their own independent political operations to back candidates they support.”
Still, Clinton insiders also fear that such operations could give her opponent Barack Obama the opportunity to argue that he is being “swift boated” by the Clinton campaign.
“Some Clinton backers also worry that any new independent organization will be compared to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group founded in 2004 to attack Sen. John Kerry’s record in Vietnam,” they write. “Other Clinton fund-raisers say that Mr. Obama campaigns against special interests and will surely point out any help that Mrs. Clinton gets from any outside political organization.”
But with Obama seemingly far ahead of Clinton in fundraising, and set to win possibly 9 to 10 primary contests in a row, some of the former First Lady’s backers feel a need to do something.
“[One Clinton backer] feels he has done all he can for the campaign from the inside,” the Journal reporters note. “He says Mrs. Clinton must win in Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania to secure the nomination, but he worries that her campaign will not be able to afford to fund the ads she will need.”
The full article can be read at this link.