Life of the party : the biography of Pamela Digby Churchill Hayward Harriman / Christopher Ogden. Ogden, Chris, author.
Boston : Little, Brown and Co., 
viii, 504 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
When President Bill Clinton nominated Pamela Harriman to become U.S. ambassador to France in 1993, he was rewarding an extraordinary supporter with a crown jewel from the American political spoils system. Few deserved it more. The glamorous widow of statesman Averell Harriman had sheltered the Democratic party through a dozen years of exile and had used her late husband's fortune and her own drive to raise $12 million for the party and, ultimately, Clinton's campaign. But long before she became a diplomat, Pamela Harriman had an international reputation - as courtesan of the century. The ambitious eldest child of an English baron, Pamela was eager to flee rural life when her formal education ended at sixteen. Red-haired, voluptuous, and sexy at eighteen, when she claims to have met Adolf Hitler, she married Winston Churchill's only son at the onset of World War II and moved into No. 10 Downing Street. A volatile marriage to Randolph Churchill propelled the seductive young mother into wartime affairs with such powerful men as Harriman, Edward R. Murrow, and top generals on both sides of the Anglo-American alliance. After the war, Pamela divorced, moving to France and into liaisons with wealthy playboys Aly Khan, Gianni Agnelli, and Elie de Rothschild. Her second marriage, to Sound of Music producer Leland Hayward, put her at the crossroads of Broadway and Hollywood in the 1960s. After Hayward's death, a family feud, and a flirtation with Frank Sinatra, she married the seventy-nine-year-old Harriman. The former ambassador, New York governor, and presidential candidate introduced her to a new generation of world leaders as well as Democratic party officials delighted to welcome a beautiful and energetic doyenne. Unauthorized, but based on months of exclusive talks with Pamela Harriman, plus interviews with nearly two hundred friends, relatives, and critics, Life of the Party is the first inside look at the spectacular life and rise of a remarkable woman.