Bernard Lafferty, 51, the butler whose control over...


November 06, 1996

Bernard Lafferty, 51, the butler whose control over tobacco heiress Doris Duke's billion-dollar estate led to accusations that he killed her, was found dead Monday in his Los Angeles home. A cause of death was not immediately clear, but there was no sign of foul play, said Scott Carrier, a Los Angeles County coroner's spokesman.

Mr. Lafferty suffered from very high blood pressure, said his spokeswoman, Judy Miller, adding that he may have been 52 and that he has no surviving relatives.

He was named the executor of an estate now valued at $1.5 billion when Miss Duke, the only child of American Tobacco Co. founder James Buchanan Duke, died in 1993 at age 80. Her will also gave him a central role in the charitable foundation formed to dispense most of the fortune.

The estate was thrown into turmoil when Miss Duke's deathbed nurse charged that Mr. Lafferty and a doctor killed the heiress with a drug overdose.

In July, the Los Angeles county district attorney's office said there was "no credible evidence" that Miss Duke had been killed. He agreed in May to resign as executor of the estate and play no role in the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.


The Most Rev. J. Carroll McCormick, 88, the former Roman Catholic bishop of Scranton, Pa., and of Altoona-Johnstown, Pa., died Saturday in Scranton after an undisclosed illness. He guided the diocese through stormy years after the Second Vatican Council, which ended in December 1965. An ordained priest for 64 years, he was bishop of Scranton from 1966 to 1983.

Beverly Sacks, 74, a former "Clairol Girl" model whose husband won a court battle last month to have her feeding tube removed, died Saturday in Far Rockaway, N.Y. She suffered with Alzheimer's disease and was unconscious for more than seven years. In her youth, she was one of the original Clairol girls and appeared on at least one of the boxes for Clairol hair coloring products.

Dr. Isaac Montrose Taylor, 75, the dean of the University of North Carolina's School of Medicine for 15 years and father of singer-songwriter James Taylor, died Sunday in Boston after a stroke and cardiac arrest. He returned to his alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in 1952 as a member of the department of medicine at the medical school, which was being expanded into a four-year institution.

Pub Date: 11/06/96

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