This Crazy Thing Called Love: The Golden World and Fatal Marriage of Ann and Billy Woodward

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9780394532479: This Crazy Thing Called Love: The Golden World and Fatal Marriage of Ann and Billy Woodward

An account of the murder of an heir to a banking fortune by his wife describes how a beautiful actress from impoverished rural Kansas won the love of banking heir Billy Woodward, only to shoot him in 1955 in their Oyster Bay home. 25,000 first printing. $25,000 ad/promo.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Braudy (What the Movies Made Me Do, 1985, etc.) sets out to do a background book on a high-society ``murder'' already addressed fictionally by Dominick Dunne in The Two Mrs. Grenvilles and Truman Capote in Answered Prayers--and finds herself defending the so- called murderess. Although Ann Woodward was never indicted for murdering her husband, William Woodward, Jr., his mother, Elsie, spread the rumor that Ann had deliberately killed Billy--and spread it first by insinuating that she herself had had the killing covered up for the sake of her grandsons. In Capote's vile version, Ann shot Billy in the shower, then dragged his body (with the butler's help) down the hall to the doorway of his bedroom. By the time Braudy finishes with the facts, there's no doubt that both Capote and Dunne were swimming in fantasy, that the death was an accident (Ann apparently thought that Billy was an intruder), and that Ann was victimized by the snobbery of the ultrarich, who exiled her after Billy's death. Braudy sticks to a weave of impressively fine detail taken from over a thousand interviews, though occasionally one wonders about her recording the inner thoughts of her fatal pair. But her cool drawing of the Woodwards' social background, their casual spending of immense sums, and their hobnobbing with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor is jaw-dropping. Ann, born to poor country folk in Kansas, chose early to better herself as a Powers model. She danced nights in an upscale Manhattan chorus line and was a respected radio actress by day when she met shy, virginal, playboy Billy. When married, their greatest claim to fame was their racing stable and fantastically fast horse, Nashua. Both were adulterers and engaged in rages before sex: What happened to them can be seen as the result of unrestrained immaturity. Hypnotic, though Braudy keeps a cool mask on her prose. (One hundred photographs.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

In 1955, Ann Woodward shot her husband, Billy, in their Oyster Bay, Long Island, home. While she was cleared by a grand jury, which believed her story that she had mistaken Billy for a prowler who had been recently breaking into neighboring houses, New York society was convinced that she had deliberately murdered Billy and that her formidable mother-in-law, Elsie Woodward, had covered up the crime to prevent further scandal to the socially prominent family. The incident became fiction in Truman Capote's malicious 1975 Esquire story, leading to Ann's suicide, and later was the subject of Dominick Dunne's The Two Mrs. Grenvilles ( LJ 7/85). Now, after years of research, Braudy reveals the truth behind the legend. Tracing Ann's life from her difficult Kansas childhood through her early years as a model and aspiring actress to her stormy marriage to Billy Woodward and the sad years of her social exile after his death, Braudy shows how Ann, a victim of cruel gossip and class snobbery, could not have deliberately killed Billy. Fans of Dunne's book will enjoy this sympathetic chronicle. Recommended. Excerpted in the July 27, 1992 issue of New York magazine.--Ed.
- Wilda Williams, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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