Barbara Daly Baekeland is a story of beauty and tragedy. She was a socialite and model who was touted for her great beauty and grace, appearing on the covers of some important magazines including Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. She also described herself as a painter.
While her fame came as a result of her beauty and marriage to Brooks Baekeland, she is also remembered for being murdered by her son after she tried seducing him, believing she could cure him of homosexuality.
Barbara Daly Baekeland Bio
It was in 1922 in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. that the beautiful model was born. Barbara Daly Baekeland was also raised in Boston until the age of 10 when her father killed himself. He died in his car from carbon monoxide poisoning. Following the tragedy, she moved to New York with her mother.
Her childhood was not one without its problems as her mother was said to have suffered from a nervous breakdown even before the glamorous Barbara was born.
With a beauty that had her described as one of the most beautiful women in New York, she easily got modeling contracts. What she actually wanted was to become an actress but unfortunately, she did not record any success in Hollywood, forcing her to forget the dream.
Parents and Family
Barbara Daly Baekeland came from a very troubled past and she did not escape it herself. Both of her parents, Nina Daly and Frank Daly had some mental struggles. It was this that led her father into committing suicide. He framed it to look like an accident in order for his family to be paid the insurance money.
Raised as an only child, the only information available about her mother is that she also had a mental problem.
Spouse and Son of Barbara Daly Baekeland
In her attempt to become an actress, Barbara met Cordelia Baekeland, the granddaughter of Leo Baekeland, inventor of Velox photographic paper. Cordelia soon introduced the beautiful woman to her brother Brooks Baekeland. At the time he was a trainee pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force.
The two became an item and before too long, Barbara lied to Brooks that she was pregnant with his baby. They rushed and got married in California.
She would continue to suffer from depression and erratic behavior. Her psychiatrist was Foster Kennedy. More than just the mental issues, she also drank too much, and just like Brooks, she was also involved in extramarital affairs.
Her marriage to Brooks was later blessed with a son, Antony Baekeland who was born in 1946. As Tony grew, the family would keep traveling to different places including London, Paris, and Italy, living a very luxurious lifestyle.
They would later settle in Paris where Barbara Baekeland attempted suicide after her husband met a woman 15 years younger than himself and asked for a divorce. Following the attempt, Brooks called off the affair and the family later moved to Switzerland and then Spain.
While in Spain, her son who was homosexual met a bisexual man named Jake Cooper who was Australian. The two men would travel as far as Morocco to buy hallucinogenic drugs. Barbara got informed of the relationship between her son and Cooper. To cure her son of homosexuality, she tried hooking him up with a Spanish girl who instead, started a relationship with Brooks.
Brooks Baekeland divorced her in 1986 after she tried to kill herself again when she found out he was having an affair with a classmate of Tony who followed him home for a weekend.
Barbara continued to hook her son up with other women and prostitutes believing that they could be able to change him. After that failure, she believed if she could get him to sleep with her, that might help. It was claimed that she manipulated him into sleeping with her.
Antony also suffered mental illness and sometimes had very dangerous and violent arguments with his mother that often involved knives.
In July 1972, he made an attempt to kill Barbara but she escaped and would not press charges. He was, however, made to see a psychiatrist who would later warn Barbara Daly Baekeland that her son was capable of murdering her and she was in grave danger. The model took it for granted and then on November 17, 1972, he stabbed her in the heart leading to her death.
Baekeland was arrested but in July 1980, his influential friends and family were able to secure his release. He moved in with his 87-year-old grandmother, Nina Daly. Unfortunately, he again tried to kill her but she managed to survive the assault that left her with eight stab wounds and several broken bones.
He was arrested again. This time around, he ended up killing himself in jail using a plastic bag that he tied around his head.
The life of Barbara Daly Baekeland and Antony Baekeland inspired the 2007 film, Savage Grace.