From the Carteret County News-Times
Friday, August 13, 2010
Since 1996, former county resident Doris Buffett has given away $100 million of her own money, mostly directly to thousands of individuals “unlucky through no fault of their own.”
And while the family is famed for their wealth — her brother Warren Buffett is one of the world’s wealthiest men — few know that both were severely emotionally abused throughout their youth.
Their story is openly discussed for the first time in Michael Zitz’ new biography, Giving It All Away: The Doris Buffett Story.
Ms. Buffett will be at Dee Gee’s Gifts and Books, 508 Evans St., from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sunday signing copies of the book published by The Permanent Press.
There have been many books about Mr. Buffett’s formula for attaining wealth but the biography is one of the first that the two Buffetts openly discuss the cold, abusive environment of their childhood and details the mental illness rampant in the family.
The author shared some insight and excerpts from the book in a press release.
In the book, Ms. Buffett speaks candidly about her bad marriages and the pain of being estranged from her children, who are also interviewed.
One memory Ms. Buffett shared in the biography was when she was 12, she locked herself in a closet.
“I won’t remember this when I’m 40,” she kept whispering to herself, crying.
Outside the door, her mother, Leila Buffett, continued one of a lifelong series of vicious verbal attacks that would sometimes go on for hours.
“She was never happy ‘til I was sobbing,” Ms. Buffett said.
Their mother would also make her son, Warren, cry. As a young boy, he says he often felt the urge to protect his older sister.
“But I never did because I was afraid of becoming the target myself.” At 13, he ran away from home to escape his mother.
“Her fury would come ‘in spurts,’ minute by minute,” he said.
“There were so many times I just wished some fairy godmother would come and like me and understand me and whisk me out of there or something,” Ms. Buffett said of growing up with an emotionally abusive mother she now believes was bipolar.
When her mother died, Ms. Buffett inherited great wealth from a family trust and it allowed her to reach out and help others who, like her, simply had bad luck.
“She’s always had enormous empathy for the person who has really gotten a short straw in life,” Mr. Buffett said.
At 82, Ms. Buffett, has had two “warning strokes,” and is in a hurry to give away the rest of her fortune to those who need it most.
“The plan is for my last check to bounce,” she said with a laugh.
In Carteret County, Ms. Buffett has helped the Boys and Girls Club of Coastal Carolina and the Carteret County Domestic Violence Program, to name a few.
For more information on Ms. Buffett’s efforts to help individuals in need and the book visit the website www.thedorisbuffettstory.com.