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Bernard and Doris (2006)

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The story of the twilight years of tobacco billionairness Doris Duke and her relationship with her gay butler, to whom she left her entire fortune.



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Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 25 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
First Butler
Security Guard
Marilyn Torres ...
Nick Rolfe ...
Board Member
Thomas J. McGrath ...
Board Member
Gene Parseghian ...
Board Member
Henry S. Schleiff ...
Board Member (as Henry Schleiff)
Board Member
Kunnath P. Namboodiri ...


Sympathetic look loosely based on the relationship between tobacco heiress, Doris Duke (1912-1993) - think Duke University - and her shy butler, Bernard Lafferty. The icy and mercurial Duke fires her butler for serving a chilled cantaloupe; the agency sends Lafferty, formerly household staff to Liz Taylor and to Peggy Lee. He's an alcoholic, fresh out of rehab. He gradually becomes Duke's gay alter ego as she romps through life sleeping with young men, making shrewd decisions quickly, managing her fortune and orchids as Lafferty manages her New Jersey estate. With a wine cellar to die for, Bernard falls off the wagon. Can he pull himself together when Doris needs him? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

butler | gay | fortune | alcoholic | wine | See All (179) »


See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

17 October 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bernard & Doris - Complici amici  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Susan Sarandon owns the dog who plays Doris' pet. The dog's name is Penny, a Pomeranian Maltese. See more »


"She said it was important. 'Perhaps I will get the feeling back ..." It's the same body of a newspaper article for two different articles. Around 23 minutes into movie. One article had headline of Doris Duke attending opening with Leonard Bernstein. The second headline was her buying a Boeing 737 for $25 million. See more »


[first lines]
Doris Duke: Ugh! What is this?
First Butler: Cantaloupe, ma'am.
See more »


References Some Like It Hot (1959) See more »


Somebody Nobody Loves
Written by Sy Miller (as Seymour Miller)
Performed by Peggy Lee
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
See more »

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User Reviews

more entertaining than I was expecting
11 February 2008 | by (TN) – See all my reviews

This movie was OK. I don't know much about Doris Duke, so I don't know how accurate it was. But what I do know is that I found this HBO movie entertaining and a lot better than a lot of movies that get released in theaters. Susan and Ralph were very good in their roles. The movie shows Doris in her later years. She chases younger men and drinks a lot and moves between all her homes and fabulous vacations. She becomes friends with her butler Bernard. She probably likes the fact he likes to drink too and loves to kiss her @ss. She doesn't even mind when she catches him stealing her boos when she states any help stealing from her will get fired. Her death was controversial as to weather Bernard played a role in it and if he had anything to do with her will changing. He got 5 million plus control over her estate and foundation. But he didn't live to many more years after she died.

FINAL VERDICT: Interesting, amusing. Susan and Ralph were good together and what made this film work.

15 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Worst.accent.ever Des-26
Sarandon wildly miscast yappyfan
Was Everyone As Bored As I Was? bettorre
This movie misrepresents the facts drp-6
No mention of adult adopted daughter yappyfan
Susan Sarandon as elderly Doris Duke???? Joshf84
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