Brenda Frazier

Born Jun 9, 1921

Not to be confused with actor Brendan Fraser Brenda Diana Duff Frazier was an American debutante popular during the Depression era. Her December 1938 coming-out party was so heavily publicized worldwide she eventually appeared on the cover of Life magazine for that reason alone.… Read More

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Brenda Frazier.


1921 Birth Born on June 9, 1921.
Both of Frazier's parents drank heavily. At the time of her birth, Frazier's father went on an alcoholic bender and did not return home for months. After public fights and infidelity from both sides, the couple divorced in January 1926.
1929 8 Years Old …  By the time she was a teenager, the press and public began taking a keen interest in wealthy members of high society who had not lost their fortunes due to the Wall Street Crash of 1929. … Read More


1936 15 Years Old Frazier began to gain attention as a teenager after columnist Walter Winchell began writing about her; he reportedly coined the portmanteau "celebutante" in her honor. In 1936, two years before her society debut, society journalist Maury Henry Biddle Paul (known as Cholly Knickerbocker) wrote, "It may seem a bit early, but I - here and now - predict Brenda Frazier will be one of the belles - if not the Belle - of her season."
…  Her December 1938 debutante ball was so heavily publicized worldwide, she eventually appeared on the cover of Life magazine for that reason alone. … Read More


1941 20 Years Old Frazier married football star Shipwreck Kelly at her mother's apartment at the Ritz-Carlton in New York City on June 30, 1941.
1945 24 Years Old She gave birth to a daughter, Brenda Victoria, in 1945.


1956 35 Years Old Frazier and Kelly divorced in 1956.
1957 36 Years Old After several tempestuous relationships, including ones with cartoonist Peter Arno and Howard Hughes, Frazier and daughter moved to a small town near Cape Cod. On March 3, 1957, she married sales executive Robert Chatfield-Taylor. Frazier later told friends that she regretted marrying Chatfield-Taylor right away. They divorced in 1962.


1961 40 Years Old On March 16, 1961, Frazier attempted suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills. … Read More
1963 42 Years Old In 1963, she wrote a piece for Life magazine - the same publication on whose cover she had appeared 25 years earlier (although the cover of that week's issue was given to the state funeral of the assassinated President Kennedy) - titled "My Debut - A Horror". … Read More
1966 45 Years Old In 1966, photographer Diane Arbus took a now-famous picture of Frazier for Esquire magazine. … Read More


1982 61 Years Old During the final ten years of her life, Frazier suffered from ill health due to her long battles with anorexia and bulimia and was routinely hospitalized. On May 3, 1982, Franzier died of bone cancer at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Boston at the age of 60. "She didn't stand a chance," wrote biographer Diliberto. "There was no way she was going to be happy. … Read More
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