Babe Paley: Early Life, Accident, Age Before Death, Death Cause, Legacy And More

Babe Paley’s legacy transcends the confines of time, immortalizing her as a symbol of 20th-century elegance and refinement

Introduction: Legacy of Babe Paley

Who was Babe Paley?

Barbara Cushing, famously known as Babe Paley, emerged as a prominent figure in American high society during the early 20th century. 

Early Life and Rise to Prominence

A Fashion Maven at Vogue

In 1939, Babe Paley made her mark in the fashion world by becoming a distinguished fashion editor at Vogue. Her keen eye for style and unparalleled elegance set her apart, garnering widespread recognition.

Marriage to William S. Paley

In 1947, Babe Paley tied the knot with William S. Paley, the co-founder of CBS.

This union propelled her into the spotlight as a leading figure in the social scene, marking the beginning of an era defined by opulence and sophistication.

The Symbol of High Society

Luxurious Living and Social Influence

The Paleys epitomized the epitome of high society, residing in opulent residences in New York City, Long Island, and New Hampshire.

Babe Paley
                                                                                Babe Paley (Image:@VFA)

Their extravagant lifestyle became the envy of many, solidifying their status as icons of wealth and refinement.

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Challenges Behind Closed Doors

However, behind the veneer of affluence lay the complexities of marital discord.

Truman Capote’s exposé, “La Côte Basque 1965,” shed light on the tumultuous dynamics within their marriage, unveiling William’s infidelities and casting shadows on their seemingly perfect life.

The Enduring Legacy of Elegance

Impeccable Taste and Grace

Babe Paley’s impeccable taste and innate grace captivated the hearts of many, earning her a coveted spot on Time’s best-dressed list a remarkable 14 times.

Her influence extended beyond the realms of fashion, leaving an indelible mark on society’s perception of elegance and sophistication.

A Tragic Turn of Events

Tragedy struck when Babe Paley faced a formidable battle with lung cancer.

Despite her valiant fight, she succumbed to the illness on July 6, 1978, just one day shy of her 63rd birthday, leaving behind a legacy that would forever resonate in the annals of history.

Babe Paley: Overcoming Adversity and Achieving Success

Babe Paley: A Life Altered by Adversity

Babe Paley, a prominent figure in the fashion world, faced a pivotal moment in 1934 that would shape her future. The incident, a car accident, not only altered her physical appearance but also tested her resilience at a young age.

The Impact of the Car Accident

  • In 1934, at the age of 19, Babe Paley’s life took an unexpected turn when she was involved in a car accident.
  • This event resulted in the loss of all her front teeth, necessitating extensive jaw reconstruction.
Babe Paley
                                                                                 Babe Paley (Image:@IMDb)
  • It was a challenging time for Babe, who had just made her debut as a debutante and was poised for a bright future.

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Rising Above Challenges

Despite the setback, Babe Paley refused to let the accident define her. With determination and perseverance, she embarked on a journey in the fashion industry, refusing to let adversity hold her back.

A Career in Fashion Begins

In 1935, Babe secured an entry-level position at Glamour magazine, marking the beginning of her illustrious career.

Her talent and dedication quickly caught the attention of industry insiders, leading to her advancement to the role of Vogue editor in 1939.

Marrying into Influence

In 1947, Babe Paley married William S. Paley, co-founder of CBS, cementing her status as a prominent figure in New York society.


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The union opened doors to a world of luxury and success, allowing Babe to leave her mark on both the fashion and social scenes of the era.

Legacy of Resilience

Despite facing personal challenges within her marriage, Babe Paley remained a dominant presence in social circles throughout the 1970s.

Her resilience and unwavering determination served as an inspiration to many, proving that setbacks could be overcome with strength and perseverance.

The Mysterious Fate of Babe Paley: Life of a New York Social Icon

In the bustling streets of New York City, one name reigned supreme in the social circles: Babe Paley, formerly known as Barbara Cushing.

Babe Paley
                                                                                  Babe Paley (Image:@KEF)

From her humble beginnings as a debutante to her illustrious career as a leading fashion editor at Vogue in 1939, Babe Paley’s journey captivated the hearts of many.

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Rise of Babe Paley

  • Babe Paley’s ascent to prominence was nothing short of extraordinary.
  • With unparalleled grace and style, she graced the pages of high-fashion magazines, setting trends and influencing the elite society of her time.
  • Her marriage to William S. Paley, the co-founder of CBS, further solidified her status as a notable figure in New York’s social stratosphere.

The Glittering Heights and Sudden Fall

  • By the dawn of the 1970s, the Paleys stood atop the pinnacle of New York society, basking in the opulence of their lavish lifestyle.
  • However, beneath the surface of glamour lurked a tale of turmoil and betrayal.
  • Truman Capote’s explosive exposé, “La Côte Basque 1965,” ripped through the facade of perfection, laying bare the cracks in Babe’s seemingly flawless marriage.

The Unraveling of a Legacy

  • The publication of Capote’s damning revelations in 1975 sent shockwaves through the upper echelons of society, forever altering Babe Paley’s fate.
  • The once-unbreakable bond between Babe and Capote shattered irreparably, casting her adrift from her cherished high-society circle.
  • Despite their former intimacy, Babe chose silence, never again crossing paths with the man who had laid bare her private struggles.

The Final Curtain

Tragedy struck with the relentless grip of fate as Babe Paley confronted her mortality. A battle with lung cancer culminated in her passing on July 6, 1978, mere hours before she would have celebrated her 63rd birthday.

The aftermath of Capote’s exposé cast a shadow over her final years, hastening her decline and signaling the end of an era.

Babe Paley Before Accident: Her Glamorous Era

The Elegance of Babe Paley Pre-Accident

Babe Paley epitomized elegance and served as an icon of style well before her life-changing car accident in 1934.

Babe Paley
                                                                                Babe Paley (Image:@AG NC)

Radiant Beauty and Unmatched Style

Renowned not only for her striking beauty but also for her meticulous attention to style, Babe Paley established an unparalleled standard for sophisticated women during the 1930s.

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A Vision of Grace and Sophistication

From her flawless coiffure to her bespoke wardrobe and her flawless composure, Paley’s exquisite grooming garnered admiration and jealousy alike within New York’s elite circles.

Overcoming Adversity with Grace

Despite the challenges of undergoing jaw reconstruction and extensive dental procedures following the accident, Paley’s influence remained undiminished.

Reclaiming Her Throne: The Second Marriage

With her marriage to William Paley, Babe Paley staged a remarkable comeback, reclaiming her position within society and shaping haute couture trends for generations to come.

The Enduring Legacy of a Tastemaker

From allies to adversaries, everyone sought the approval and coveted the dazzling smile of Babe Paley, both before and after the tragic accident that altered her life.

Remembering Babe Paley: An Icon of Style and Sophistication

Barbara “Babe” Paley, the renowned socialite and fashion icon, bid farewell to the world in 1978, at the age of 63, following a valiant struggle against lung cancer.

A Life of Glamour and Legacy

In the limelight as the esteemed spouse of CBS chairman William Paley, Babe Paley’s journey was one of opulence and elegance. However, her final years were marred by health battles and personal tribulations.

Courage Amidst Adversity

Despite enduring rigorous chemotherapy treatments, Babe Paley eventually succumbed to lung cancer a mere day after celebrating her 63rd birthday on July 6, 1978.

Throughout her last months, she epitomized resilience and dignity in the face of adversity.

A Lasting Impact

Although Babe Paley’s twilight years were fraught with challenges, her enduring legacy as a paragon of sophistication and style endures. She remains an indelible symbol of high society’s zenith in the 20th century.

A Testament to Grace

Despite grappling with her husband’s indiscretions and navigating turbulent relationships with close confidants, Babe Paley’s legacy endures, a testament to her grace and fortitude.

Honoring a Legend

Following a private funeral, meticulously arranged by Babe herself, she was laid to rest, having succumbed to lung cancer in 1978.

Yet, her memory lives on, immortalized in the annals of history as an epitome of elegance and refinement.

Babe Paley Family: An Insight into the Life of Barbara Cushing

Barbara Cushing, renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Harvey Cushing’s daughter, was born in 1915 to a life of privilege and prestige. Her mother, Katharine Cushing, added to her illustrious lineage as a socialite.

Early Life and Background

Barbara, later known as Babe Paley, hailed from the influential Cushing family, a lineage that paved the way for her immersion into elite social spheres.

Babe Paley
                                                                                  Babe Paley (Image:@NHL)

Marriage to William S. Paley

In 1947, Babe sealed her fate into high society by marrying William S. Paley, the Chairman of CBS. Their union was anticipated, marking the merger of two prominent families.

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Challenges in Marriage

However, despite their outward appearance of opulence and sophistication, the Paleys encountered marital discord, grappling with the painful reality of infidelity.

Children and Family Dynamics

Babe and William were blessed with two offspring: Amanda Mortimer, born in 1949, and William Cushing Paley, born in 1950. Yet, the complexities of blended families added layers of difficulty.

Parental Duties and Strained Relationships

Babe assumed a maternal role to William’s children from a prior marriage, Jeffrey and Hilary. However, navigating these relationships proved arduous, with tensions surfacing at times.

Challenges in Motherhood

Despite her social stature, Babe’s relationship with her own children was not devoid of strain. Her daughter, Kate, particularly experienced a distant and challenging dynamic with her mother.

The Reality Behind the Facade

Behind the façade of perfection, the Paley household harbored complexities and dysfunctions emblematic of the pressures inherent in high society.


1. What was the life-changing event in Babe Paley’s early years?  

Babe Paley experienced a car accident in 1934, losing all her front teeth and requiring jaw reconstruction.

2. How did Babe Paley overcome the setback from her car accident?  

Despite the accident, she persevered and entered the fashion industry, starting as a Glamour magazine employee in 1935 and later becoming a Vogue editor in 1939.

3. When did Babe Paley marry William S. Paley?  

She married CBS co-founder William S. Paley in 1947.

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