Author and historian René Silvin returns to give a Tuesday Talk on “All That Glitters Is Not Gold: The Perils of Being Too Rich.” His focus will be two wealthy women, both of whom he knew; Ann Woodward, whom he dubs “She was a great shot” with good reason, and Christina Onassis, whom he titles “A Greek Tragedy.” Silvin will make his visual presentation via Zoom from his home in Palm Beach, FL. The lecture is part of Ventfort Hall’s Summer 2020 series of Tuesday Talks.
Silvin’s family was intertwined with the Woodwards. Heir to a banking fortune, Williams (Billy) Woodward Jr. married the infamous Ann Crowell (1915 – 1975), a Manhattan showgirl. In what Life Magazine called “The shooting of the century,” Ann fatally shot Billy in 1955. She, as well as both their sons, eventually committed suicide. The widowed Ann had an on-again, off-again relationship with Silvin’s father. The story is the subject of Dominick Dunne’s book, The Two Mrs. Grenvilles.
Christina Onassis (1950 – 1988) was the daughter of the shipping magnate Aristotle and Tina Livanos Onassis. Christina was heir to two huge shipping fortunes. Her mother Tina died under mysterious circumstances in 1974. “The Golden Greek,” as Onassis was known, was then married to Jackie Kennedy. Ari died in 1975, a broken man after the tragic death of his only son, Alexander, a classmate of Silvin’s. He was closely involved with the family during Onassis’s last illness and death at a hospital Silvin was heading in Paris.
Silvin, who resides in Palm Beach, Florida, maintains a particularly active interest in historic preservation as vice-chairman of the Palm Beach Landmarks Preservation Commission. He is the author of Noblesse Oblige, the Duchess of Windsor as I Knew Her, the subject of his lecture at Ventfort Hall two years ago. Last year he presented “Normandie, the Tragic Story of the Most Majestic Ocean Liner” based on his book of the same title. He is also the author of I Survived Swiss Boarding Schools: An Arc to Triumph and Villa Mizner: The House That Changed Palm Beach.
Tickets for the Silvin lecture are $20 per person. To view him on Zoom register at https://ventfort09152020.eventbrite.com
Reservations for viewing him at Ventfort Hall on Zoom are strongly recommended as seating will be strictly limited. For reservations to attend at the mansion call us at 413-637-3206. Tea cannot be served until further notice due to the coronavirus.
The Summer 2020 series of Tuesday Talks are sponsored by Ventfort Hall board member Lucille Landa and William Landa.