Babe Paley’s False Teeth — More Secrets About Capote’s Favorite Swan

By: Beth Moreton | Published: Mar 31, 2024

The recent release of the Hulu series “Feud: Capote vs. The Swans” has raised many questions about who the swans were.

One of these swans is Babe Paley, who was played by Naomi Watts in the series, who harbored many secrets, with some of these being released in the article “La Côte Basque, 1965.”

Truman Capote Described Babe Paley as Being Perfect

Many people have at least a few flaws, but Truman Capote struggled to find anything wrong with Babe Paley.

Truman Capote and Babe Paley. The photo is black and white and they are both wearing sunglasses. People are standing in the background.

Source: @morg_ashley/Reddit

Capote once said that Paley was perfect other than her one flaw, which was that she was perfect, as reported by Esquire.

Babe Paley Was Truman Capote’s Favorite Swan

Truman Capote had several different swans in his circle, but Babe Paley was reported to be his favorite.

Babe Paley posing for the camera. She is wearing a blue hat with black feathers and has her hand across the underside of her chin.

Source: @babe_paley/Instagram

Capote wanted his swans to be interesting, stylish, and sophisticated, according to Today, and Babe met all three of those qualities. These combined with her beauty led to her being his favorite.

Babe Paley’s Second Marriage Could Have Been One of Convenience

Having already been married for the first time to oil heir Stanley Grafton Mortimer Jr., Babe Paley married for a second time to William Paley, who was the owner of CBS.

Babe Paley and William Paley dancing together. They both look happy and some people are standing behind them.

Source: Fabulous, Fierce & Fiesty Women in History/YouTube

However, she wanted a wealthy husband and even became a full-time socialite in 1947, a year after her divorce from Mortimer. Despite having been an editor of Vogue, Paley wanted a way into New York high society. They both found this in each other. 

William Paley Was Unfaithful to Babe Paley

It may have looked like a marriage of love and glamor from the outside, but on the inside, it was not so glamorous.

A black and white photo of Babe and William Paley.

Source: Fabulous, Fierce & Fiesty Women in History/YouTube

William Paley was reported to have cheated on Babe Paley on multiple occasions, something that was hinted at in “La Côte Basque, 1965.”

Babe Paley Is Lady Ina Coolbirth

In the article “La Côte Basque, 1965,” Babe Paley’s most intimate stories are portrayed by the character Lady Ina Coolbirth.

A black and white photo of Babe Paley looking off behind the camera. Her hair is done up and she is wearing jewelry.

Source: Fabulous, Fierce & Fiesty women in history/YouTube

Coolbirth is known as a gossip, with one of her stories being about a media executive who washed the bedsheets to cover up an affair. As this resembled something Babe had once told Capote, this was what caused her to end their friendship. 


Babe Paley Had Other Strained Relationships

After the release of “La Côte Basque, 1965,” Truman Capote wasn’t the only strained relationship Babe Paley had.

Babe Paley and her four children sat around a Christmas tree. The children are holding toys and the youngest is sitting in Babe’s lap.

Source: Bill Paley/Wikimedia Commons

Babe’s daughter Amanda has said that their mother-daughter relationship was strained and emotionally distant. Not only that, but it was Babe’s decision for it to be this way, according to Women’s Wear Daily


Babe Paley Lost Her Teeth in a Car Accident

She may have been considered one of the most beautiful women in New York’s high society, but before she even entered that society, Babe Paley was in a car accident that potentially changed her entire life forever.

Babe Paley looks at the camera with a stern look on her face and her hands on her hips.

Source: Fabulous, Fierce, and Fiesty Women in History/YouTube

The car accident happened in 1934 when Babe was just 19 years old. It resulted in her losing her front teeth and needing false ones, as well as needing to have her jaw reconstructed, according to Freshers Live


Babe Paley Suffered for Her Looks

She may have been naturally beautiful, but aside from having to have jaw reconstruction, Babe Paley felt pressured to look beautiful.

Babe Paley looking into the camera whilst holding a cigarette.

Source: @beautifulbabepaley/Instagram

To maintain a slim figure, Babe reportedly smoked two packets of cigarettes per day, according to The St. Regis Magazine, which ended up being detrimental to her health. 


Babe Paley Started a Very Popular Fashion Trend

As she ended up being the editor of Vogue, Babe Paley knew her fashion and even ended up creating a fashion trend that is still popular to this day.

Babe Paley wearing a fur hat and coat.

Source: Factinate/YouTube

This trend is to tie your scarf around the handles of your handbag, something she was spotted doing when heading out to lunch, according to Etiquetteer


Babe Paley Knew How to Get Attention

Sometimes when in a room full of people, it can be difficult for people, even Babe Paley, to find their feet with joining in with conversation.

A black and white photo of Babe Paley. She is sticking her tongue out slightly and has some white stuff in her hair.

Source: Factinate/YouTube

One time, Babe was at a dinner and she had been very quiet, so to get herself into the conversation she covered one of her teeth with some spinach, someone pointed it out to her, and that enabled her to be brought into the conversation. 


Babe Paley Knew How to Not Repeat Things

As a member of New York high society, one thing this involves is having a lot of dinners, with many of the same people often in attendance.

A black and white image of Babe Paley. She is pouting and looking off to the side of the camera.

Source: Factinate/YouTube

So that she didn’t keep serving the same meals to the same guests, Babe Paley would archive her menus so she could look back at them and see what she had already served so as not to serve it again. 


Babe Paley Planned Her Own Funeral

Babe Paley was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer just a short while before her death, Babe started putting some things into place before she died.

A black and white photo of Babe Paley leaning against a door.

Source: Factinate/YouTube

This included wrapping up her jewelry collection to be given to her friends and family and planning her funeral right down to the smallest of details, including the food and wine that was going to be served.