The Price of Being a Real Beverly Hills Housewife: The Cost Can be Tragic

Top Quote Behind the tragic story of Real Beverly Hills Housewives is the reality that celebrites often live way beyond their means. End Quote
  • New York, NY (1888PressRelease) August 21, 2011 - With the sad news of Russell Armstrong's death, and his grieving wife, Taylor, came memories of a similar scenario faced by another iconic Beverly Hills couple, where even fame and fortune couldn't keep up with overwhelming debts and legal woes.

    Sammy Davis, Jr. was the famous Rat Pack star known as "The World's Greatest Entertainer," and when he married Altovise Gore, they became one of Hollywood's most highly profiled couples. It was no secret that Sammy believed in living large, and he provided Altovise with the finest furs, cars and luxuries that money could buy. In fact, their outlandish spending habits drew just as much attention as their notorious 'open' marriage.

    In a recent book, "The Last Chapter in the Life of Mrs. Sammy Davis, Jr.," author, Pamela Sherrod notes that, "They lived at the top of the world, or, at least, the most glamorous part of it, and their dazzling lifestyle was anointed with royalty, dignitaries, and celebrities whom most people simply ogled at. The couple was infamous not only for hosting extravagant parties, but for rubbing shoulders - among other things - with some of the world's most influential figures.

    To keep up this lifestyle they incurred some heavy debts. Sammy, who'd established a long history of outspending his earnings, had always managed to catch up. There were often advances from night clubs, even loans from various mobsters and friends. Over the years, their financial problems had steadily mounted, as had the back taxes they owed to the Internal Revenue Service. This didn't appear to cramp their stride, though, and the rocking parties continued. One gala, which the couple named their "Decade Party," was thrown shortly after comedienne Phyllis Diller joked about their financial problems on the air. The gathering was meant to dispel rumors that they'd squandered a fortune, and they initially planned to host only twenty-five couples.

    Altovise, however, sent invitations to friends and acquaintances throughout the world - approximately four hundred people - thinking they probably wouldn't attend. That was a costly mistake. When a deluge of affirmative responses flooded in, she had no choice but to plan a larger party - a much grander, blowout party. Instead of one catering company, they required a second, and rather than just one band, they hired two. No expense was spared, from the hors d'oeuvres and friendly valet parking to Altovise's silk dress and exuberant floral arrangements. Through the doors walked an array of famous guests that included Zsa Zsa Gabor, Muhammad Ali, O.J. Simpson, Rita Hayworth, Liza Minnelli and husband Jack Haley Jr., and countless others. When all the music and laughter was over, and the last guest had long gone, the final cost of the extravaganza would amount to approximately $75,000. It was one of Hollywood's most talked about parties, and the media's coverage of the event didn't escape the attention of the IRS."

    It was extremely costly for the couple to keep up their Beverly Hills lifestyle, but despite the growing debts they partied as though Sammy's source of wealth would never run dry. When he died, however, leaving his estate in financial ruin, Altovise's fairytale turned into an inescapable nightmare. During the remaining years of her life, she continually struggled with legal battles as she tried to handle over $5 million in debts, alcoholism, and one calamity after another.

    While we often wonder if there's life after death, many have wrestled with the question of whether there's "life after wealth?" Altovise's tragic 'rags-to-riches-to-rags' experience offers a frightening glimpse of the answer and a haunting message which won't easily be forgotten.

    For an intimate glimpse of the 'Beverly Hills experience,' check out the book, "The Last Chapter in the Life of Mrs. Sammy Davis, Jr.," by author, Pamela Sherrod. It can be purchased at, most bookstores, and the website:

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