Claus von Bulow

Claus von Bulow

Birth
Copenhagen, Kobenhavns Kommune, Hovedstaden, Denmark
Death 25 May 2019 (aged 92)
London, City of London, Greater London, England
Burial Burial Details Unknown
Memorial ID 199601775 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Socialite, Crime Figure. He was tried and convicted in 1982 on two charges of attempted murder of his wife, Martha 'Sunny', but the convictions were later overturned on appeal in 1984. A second trial in 1985 acquitted him of all charges. Born Claus Cecil Borberg von Bulow, he was the son of the Danish playwright Svend Borberg, whose family wealth dissipated between the wars, and Jonna Bulow, whose ancestors were German nobility. Claus found himself at 14 in Nazi-occupied Denmark, from where his mother smuggled him to the UK. In 1946, he graduated in law from Trinity College, Cambridge then went on to practice law for nine years, eventually becoming executive assistant to the oil billionaire J. Paul Getty. In 1964, he met Sunny, who had recently been divorced from Prince Alfred von Auersperg, with whom she had two children. The couple married in 1966 and in 1970 settled in the 20-room Clarendon Court in Newport, Rhode Island, with her two children and their own daughter, aged three. On December 26, 1979, Sunny drank several eggnogs with her son, Alexander, by then aged 20, and became disoriented. The following day her maid was unable to rouse the unconscious Sunny. Claus, she later testified, declined to call a doctor. At the hospital, doctors noticed her high level of insulin, however she was not diabetic. The doctors concluded that insulin had been introduced, but did not suspect a crime. The maid did, especially when she discovered the black bag containing syringes and drugs. Later, her son found a syringe, its tip encrusted with insulin, a test showed. On December 21, the following year, Sunny again collapsed at Clarendon Court, and next morning was found unconscious in her bathroom. She never recovered. Her children hired a former New York prosecutor to investigate, and his evidence was vital in the 1982 trial, where Claus was found guilty and was given a sentence of 30 years. Out on bail, he appealed, hiring Allan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, whose team soon uncovered serious inconsistencies in prosecution testimony, as well as new medical evidence. A new trial was ordered, which began in April 1985, with Claus represented by the best defense money could buy: unlimited funds were provided by Sir Paul Getty, his old boss’s son. Experts testified that a syringe tip could not become encrusted with insulin unless dipped in it, since a needle is always wiped clean when pulled from the skin. The jury came back with a not guilty verdict. Although acquitted, he faced a civil suit from his stepchildren and eventually agreed to divorce Sunny and forfeit any family money, to leave the country and give up all rights to write books. The 1990 film 'Reversal of Fortune' starring Jeremy Irons as Claus, and Glenn Close as Sunny, was based on the trial and acquittal. Sunny eventually died in 2008.

Bio by: Louis du Mort


Family Members

Spouse

Advertisement

See more von Bulow memorials in:

Advertisement

Advertisement

How famous was Claus von Bulow?

Current rating:

23 votes

Sign-in to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Louis du Mort
  • Added: 30 May 2019
  • Find A Grave Memorial 199601775
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Claus von Bulow (11 Aug 1926–25 May 2019), Find A Grave Memorial no. 199601775, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Burial Details Unknown.