Empty Mansions Update

empty mansions picThanks to Bill Dedman, co-author of Empty Mansions, for sending me this update about the book, the Clark estate and the upcoming film!

I very much enjoyed reading this book about Huguette Clark, a reclusive millionaire heiress who, by choice, lived in a New York hospital for twenty years.  Clark died in 2011, just short of her 105th birthday.  Her will was hotly contested by the Clark family when they discovered that Clark had given away a large portion of her $300 million fortune to her caregivers, personal assistant, accountant, the hospital and other non-family members.  Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. tell Huguette Clark’s story in this fascinating best-seller.  (Click here to read my review of Empty Mansions.)

The release of video excerpts of testimony, new pictures of Clark’s childhood home and additional court rulings make this an ongoing story.

Here’s Dedman’s update for readers of the Huguette Clark stories and the No. 1 bestselling book “Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune”.

  • Huguette’s inner circle speaks: Interesting new videos are online. Watch 25 video excerpts from testimony by the reclusive copper heiress’s nurse, personal assistant, goddaughter, attorney, and accountant.
  • Court rules against Clark estate: A judge in New York has rejected an attempt by the Clark estate to recover millions in gifts and fees paid by Huguette Clark to Beth Israel Medical Center. Litigation continues against two doctors and a nurse. Half of any proceeds from the lawsuit would flow to the Clark relatives, who previously received $37 million from the estate settlement. See an article on the legal action in The New York Times.  The relatives have also established a charity, the Huguette Clark Family Fund or Protection of Elders.
  • Events and discussions of “Empty Mansions” are planned in Cedar Falls, Iowa; in Los Angeles; in Santa Barbara; in St. Paul, Minnesota; and in Philadelphia. See our events page and let me know if you’d like one of us to speak (via Skype or in person) to your book club or association.
  • Photos from the Clark home in Butte: Here are striking photos of W.A. Clark’s first great house, the Copper King Mansion in Butte, Montana, built 1884-1888. Take the full photo tour. The interior photos are by Daniel Hagerman, who granted permission for us to post these photos at EmptyMansionsBook.com. The Clark home in Butte is now a bed and breakfast, with tours and rooms for rent. Thank you to owners Erin Sigl and John Thompson for being such a friend to “Empty Mansions.” They have copies of the book, signed by the authors, for sale at the mansion. Plan a book club retreat at The Copper King Mansion .
  • Bellosguardo Foundation update: We’re waiting for news of an agreement with the IRS on the unpaid gift taxes owed by the Clark estate. That agreement will determine how much money flows to the Bellosguardo Foundation, which will receive the Clark home in Santa Barbara. That foundation now has a board of directors but has announced no decisions on whether or not to open the home to the public. Click here to see the names of the board members.
  • Book revisions: An update on the settlement of the Clark estate was added to later printings of the book, and all paperback copies. You can see those updated pages, Nos. 348-350, in a PDF file here,  “Empty Mansions” has gone back to press for its 14th hardcover printing and its 10th paperback printing, passing 250,000 copies sold.
  • Hundreds of photographs of the Clark family and their homes have been added to the galleries. Click here to view two videos from C-SPAN and other programs about “Empty Mansions”.
  • Signed first printings of “Empty Mansions” are for sale on the AbeBooks website. The first printing was quite small, but a bookseller in California has books signed by both authors.
  • Film news: “Empty Mansions” has been optioned for a feature film by Hollywood producer Ryan Murphy (“Glee,” “American Horror Story,” “The Normal Heart”). We’re awaiting word on cast, director, etc.
  • The Pulpwood Queens book clubs, with more than 650 clubs in 15 countries, named “Empty Mansions” its nonfiction book of the year. Click here to see the announcement.   .
  • Watch for updates on our blog, at , and on Facebook.

Thanks to everyone for reading and contributing to the Clark story.



Bill Dedman

And be sure to click on the links below to visit my earlier posts about the book, including an interview with Bill Dedman:

“Some updates on Empty Mansions – the book and the movie!”

“Author interview with Bill Dedman of Empty Mansions”

“More Empty Mansions updates!”

“Update from Empty Mansions author Bill Dedman”

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Five books I want to read

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Empty Mansions:  The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune – Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.

Update: this is a fascinating story of a wealthy heiress who spent the last twenty years of her life in a hospital – by choice. A contentious lawsuit followed her death. Highly recommend – see my review here!


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Dogfight:  How Apple and Google Went to War
and Started a Revolution –
Fred Vogelstein

Update: Still want to read this one. Here’s a description from Amazon:

“The rise of smartphones and tablets has altered the industry of making computers. At the center of this change are Apple and Google, two companies whose philosophies, leaders, and commercial acumen have steamrolled the competition. In the age of Android and the iPad, these corporations are locked in a feud that will play out not just in the mobile marketplace but in the courts and on screens around the world.”


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The Interestings:  A Novel – Meg Wolitzer

Update: I loved this book about teenagers who meet at a summer camp in the 1970s. Highly recommend! Check out my review here.


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Life After Life:  A Novel – Kate Atkinson

Update: One of the best books I’ve ever read. I can’t gush about this one enough. Set in England and beginning in 1910, this story spans both World Wars, but focuses on the period during World War II and the heavy toll it took on Europe. Atkinson explores the “what if” question for characters and world events. Read my review here.


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Sea Creatures – Susanna Daniel

Update: with great skill, Daniel connects themes of love, marriage, family, death, art, weather and the sea and the disabling effects of sleep disorders and selective mutism. Much of the story takes place in Stiltsville, a community in Florida of about a dozen stilt homes, built on sand flats about a mile offshore. Read my review here.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!