One of Truman Capote’s favorite Swans, Babe Paley, led a life of glitz, glamour, and beauty. However, behind her stunning facade, Babe Paley survived a major car accident that changed her original looks.
With the latest premiere of the American drama, Fued: Capote Vs. The Swans, Babe Paley, is again back in the spotlight.
Born Barbara Cushing Mortimer in 1915, Babe Paley was an American socialite and fashion icon.
Her allure that went beyond her impeccable sense of style left an indelible mark on the page of US history.
Yet, beyond the glamorous façade, Babe Paley’s life was not without its share of challenges.
Amongst those challenges, a life-altering car accident was one of the most gruesome events Babe Paley had to endure.
So, let us find out the details of the accident and its aftermath journey of Babe Paley in this article.
The Mysterious Babe Paley Car Accident: What Happened?
The car accident that would leave lasting scars on Babe Paley’s face occurred in 1934, long before she became a part of New York’s elite social circles.
Details surrounding the accident remain somewhat hazy.
But Babe Paley car accident took place night while she was returning home from a party on Long Island with her boyfriend at the time.
The intensity of the accident was truly horrifying. Her front teeth failed off, and her mouth and jaw suffered terrible bruises.
Laurence Leamer, author of ‘Capote’s Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era,’ described her post-accident condition as a “mass of bruises, blemishes, and scars.”
Fortunately, Babe Paley’s father knew a skilled surgeon who recommended reconstructive surgery to address the damage caused by the accident.
The surgery not only aimed to repair her physical injuries but also served to boost her self-confidence and transform her appearance.
Following the surgery, Babe’s face was scarred. She had to use a chiffon handkerchief to hide the lower half of her face.
Over time, the wounds healed, and the scars gradually lightened.
Surprisingly, Babe’s features were ‘unblemished and perhaps even more heightened’ than before the accident.
Despite the pain she endured, Babe found strength and transformed her appearance through reconstructive surgery.
It ultimately launched her into the upper echelons of society.
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Rising from the Ashes: Babe’s Journey & The Unseen Pain
The newfound beauty of Babe Paley, post-surgery after a car accident, became a catalyst for her rise in society.
She seized opportunities that came her way and quickly ascended the social ladder.
Her career took off when she secured a job at Vogue in New York City, expanding her horizons and solidifying her position as a woman to watch in social and fashion circles.
Babe’s personal life also experienced significant changes. She married Stanley Grafton Mortimer Jr., and the couple had two children.
However, their marriage ended in divorce. And in turn, it led Babe to find love again in the arms of Billy Paley, whom she eventually married. Together, they had two more children.
While Babe Paley’s fame and popularity soared, she was the only one who knew the true cost of her beauty.
Despite her outward image of glitz and glamour, she privately suffered from the aftermath of the accident and subsequent surgery.
Rumors have it that she confided in Truman Capote about the lingering scars and the constant ache due to the false teeth she acquired after the accident.
Babe’s ability to share this pain with Capote reflects the depth of their friendship.
However, this trust would be shattered following Capote’s Esquire article, which betrayed the secrets and intimate details of their friendship.
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