At the recommendation of plastic surgeon Glassman after she was hospitalized Feb. 25, 1993, the heiress hired the Chicago-based law firm of Katten Muchin & Zavis to redo it again. The firm had a Los Angeles office, including Howard Weitzman, who represents singer Michael Jackson, among others. But because of the scope of Duke's estate--which had the potential to generate millions in legal fees--the firm's top probate specialist, William M. Doyle Jr., immediately flew in from the main office to tend to the new client.
The lawyers worked fast. Duke was suffering from anemia, was unable to walk despite having artificial knees implanted and apparently had suffered a stroke. They wanted at least a codicil completed by March 9, when she was to have a feeding tube implanted.
They started with the 1991 will. Doyle brought a copy to the hospital and jotted notes on it as Duke spoke from her bed.
Atop a long list of bequests was one for half nephew Inman, slated to receive $5 million in trust. Now, the lawyer wrote, "She may want to cut back somewhat."
"She thought he was something of a spendthrift," another attorney, Michael E. S. McCarthy, said when questioned later in a deposition.
In a section of the will naming the head of the charitable foundation created on her death, \o7 eliminate \f7 was scribbled next to accountant Bloom's name.
"She had come to mistrust him," McCarthy said.
Then Chandi Heffner. A priority, McCarthy said, was to undercut any claim by the adopted daughter, who even at the moment was asking a New Jersey court to force Duke to support her in style.
The key decision was whom to make executor of her estate.
The lawyers mentioned names ranging from Glassman to "I. M." Imelda Marcos had fallen from favor, however: Duke insisted the will call for her to \o7 repay \f7 the millions loaned for her trial.
More names were offered, McCarthy said, until Duke told the lawyers, as the notes put it: "Give B. L. total control as executor."
Crossed out was the old bequest next to Lafferty's name: "two times his annual salary plus $18,000." Handwritten above was: "$500,000 per year." Plus executor fees totaling $5 million.
The lawyers rushed together an eight-page codicil for signing the evening before Duke was to have the feeding tube inserted.
McCarthy said there was talk of videotaping the signing, but Duke said, "Absolutely not."
Two guards stood in front of the door to the $1,175-a-night hospital suite. Called in as witnesses were a doctor, two nurses, Duke's Honolulu lawyer and her chef, Shanley.
According to McCarthy, the lawyers began by asking Duke where she was. "In Cedars-Sinai Hospital." Did she want to make changes in her estate? "Yes."
The bed was raised so she was sitting. Doyle put a briefcase on her lap. Then he put the papers atop the briefcase and gave her a pen.
In the coming days, the ceremony was repeated twice in the hospital--with another codicil March 14, and with an entire new will April 5 to consolidate the changes.
Each bore a similar "Doris Duke" in shaky block letters. As one lawyer said, they had carried out her wish that "Mr. Lafferty should become her alter ego."
Later, of course, Duke's condition and competence would be subject to nasty debate--as would so many details of her final months.
But the furor was far off. For the moment, probate attorney McCarthy simply carried the will back to his office, sealed it in an envelope and put it in a safe.
Dance Aficionado / 'She Wanted to Die Waltzing'
The months after Duke's April 15, 1993, release from Cedars were miserable ones for the woman who named her favorite home, Shangri-La, after the mythical land of eternal youth. Now she would fall out of bed. She forgot things. And, worst of all, her artificial knees still didn't work.
Kivowitz said he recommended against replacing the joints because any operation was risky for someone in her condition. But Duke insisted on seeing a surgeon.
On July 8, a nurse noted a rare occurrence: Duke "requested me to sit with her for company. . . . She discussed her pending surgery, her hope to be able to dance again."
It's one phrase amid endless notes, but this was a woman who befriended the great dancers of the century--had Rudolf Nureyev over for caviar--and tried everything from ballet to belly dancing. Tex McCrary recalled talking about death with Duke, and making a pact to dance together at the millennium.
"She wanted to die waltzing," he said.
So Duke had the knee surgery. Two days after returning to Falcon Lair, she suffered another stroke. She was rushed to Cedars and stayed two months. Then she "expressed strong wishes to go home," her discharge report said.
Dying Days / Morphine Drips at Falcon Lair
There were four visitors waiting when the ambulance pulled through the gates of Falcon Lair on Sept. 20, 1993--her favorite dogs from Duke Farms, 150-pound akitas and German shepherds.