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Sunny von Bülow

Born: 1932-09-01 - Died: 2008-12-06
Cause of Death:
Cardiopulmonary Arrest

Death Summary: Martha Sharp Crawford "Sunny" von Bülow died in the Mary Manning Walsh Nursing Home in New York City where she had been for many years as a result of her vegetative state. It was found that Sunny died from cardiopulmonary arrest.

Who was Sunny von Bülow : Sunny von Bülow was a socialite, heiress, and philanthropist. Sadly, she is probably best remembered for her husband, Claus von Bülow, supposedly trying to murder her.

On December 26, 1979 Sunny was found to be unresponsive and was rushed to the hospital where he slipped into a coma, but she was revived. After vast amounts of testing doctors found out that she was hypoglycemic, and warned her not to overindulge on sweets, go long periods without eating, and avoiding alcohol. No foul play was suspected, but later Claus was accused of causing the incident by injecting his wife with insulin.

In April 1980 Sunny was hospitalized yet again after she was found incoherent and disoriented. Three doctors confirmed that she suffered from “reactive hypoglycemia”.

Around Christmas of that same year, December 21, 1980, Sunny was celebrating with her family, she soon starting showing signs of confusion and un-coordination. Her family put her to bed, thinking she just needed rest. The next morning the family realized that she was even deeper unconscious now and was rushed to the hospital. It was found that she suffered a server enough brain injury to produce a persistent vegetative state.

Due to the ongoing marital problems with Claus and Sunny, her children became suspicious that her brain injury was a result of Claus somehow. The two eldest children persuaded Richard H. Kuh, former New York County District Attorney, to investigate their claims. After gathering evidence for sometime the Rhode Island prosecutors presented their case to the grand jury. In July 1981 Claus was charged with two counts of attempted murder.

The trial began in February 1982 with many individuals giving testimonies; probably the one that did it in for Claus was Harvard endocrinologist George Cahill. He testified that he was convinced that her brain damage was the result of injected insulin. The jury was convinced and Claus was convicted.

For the appeal process Claus hired Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz (OJ Simpson murder trial fame) to help argue his case. They wanted to show that Sunny was an excessive drug user, their case included testimony from both Truman Capote and Joanne Carson (second wife of Johnny Carson).

Claus was acquitted at his second trial in July 1985, shortly after her kids filed a $56 million dollar civil lawsuit on their mother’s behalf. On December 24, 1987 the case was settled out of court when Claus agreed to divorce Sunny, relinquishing his claim to the family fortune, and leave the country for good.

After the circus from the trials and appeals was over, Sunny’s children founded the Sunny von Bulow National Victim Advocacy Center in Fort Worth Texas and the Sunny von Bulow Coma and Head Trauma Research Foundation in New York.
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9 Signatures in Sunny von Bülow's guestbook

  1. Catherine Mallory Says:

    I was fascinated by her life, the challenges and tribulations, the deception and betrayal, and long years of total loneliness in a coma… none of us are spared, no matter how rich, life deals us a set of cards and our faith sustains us. May her soul rest in peace.

  2. Natasha Parks Bohlman Says:

    I am so intrigued by her life. we try to do what is right in our lives. I do believe most of us humans want to do what is good. It seems so unfair to have that choice taken away from you without a chance to even fight.

  3. Louis Says:

    Rest in peace, rest

  4. Lisa Palmgren Hogg Says:

    I Too was Fascinated by her Life…Pray she has found the Peace she has Deserved…

  5. Michael F. Welch Says:

    Dear Sunny, I will never forgot you, even though I summered in Newport for many years, though I never knew you, somehow you touched my life and those around me. There is a God and I pray that a choir of saints found for you the door to paradise, and the key to heaven.You raised remarkable children and they did the right thing, for that you can be proud.

  6. CHristine Allen Says:

    I have followed her life ,when it wa made public and the trail.I have been fascinated by her love and kindess toward other. Also the way she brought her children to be the same. WHich it shows in the foundations they have established.
    I am glad that Claus divorced her and the trust was back in the family where it should be.
    Her person was truly a “classic Lady”.

  7. Slobone Winthrop Says:

    I Would like to buy her body and make a marionette out of it.

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