1 Man, 3,629 Lies*
Yale at 14. Friendships with Britney and Helmut Kohl. Aristocratic bloodlines. The man who called himself Clark Rockefeller -- expected to stand trial this spring -- concocted incredible stories and displayed a stunning ability to keep a ruse going. Here, we lay out the best of his tall tales.
* We're lying. Who knows how many stories Rockefeller concocted over the years?
How did Clark Rockefeller do it? Oh, not how did the former Beacon Hill habitue fool for years the wealthy people around him. That's a no-brainer. Can you say "Bernie Madoff"? No, how did the man authorities say is really Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter keep his stories straight? Before his August arrest on charges of parental kidnapping, two assault offenses, and giving a false name to police -- his trial is expected to start in May, with an insanity defense -- the former German exchange student spun such a complicated web of lies and half-truths that he had to be getting tech support from Lost fanboys or nitpickers of the Star Trek universe just to keep it all straight. Here, we catalog the claims he made and then shed like a lobster discards its shell.
My Names - Christian Gerhart Reiter
- Chris Kenneth Gerhart
- Christopher Chichester
- Christopher Crowe
- Christopher Mountbatten Crowe
- Clark Mill Rockefeller
- James Frederick
- Michael Brown
- Charles "Chip" Smith
My Education - Harvard
- Yale -- accepted at age 14, graduated at age 17
- University of Southern California, film school
My Childhood Memories - I was mute for 10 years.
- I picked strawberries in Oregon.
- I went to Mount Rushmore in the back of a '68 Ford.
- My father was an industrialist in Bavaria.
- My parents were killed in a car accident when I was 16.
My Family Ties - I am Christopher Chichester XIII, that is, 13th baronet.
- I'm a descendant of Sir Francis Chichester, who sailed around the world in his ketch Gipsy Moth IV in the 1960s.
- I'm a descendant of Lord Mountbatten, the British naval officer.
- My mother is the child star Ann Carter, known for her starring role opposite Humphrey Bogart in The Two Mrs. Carrolls.
My Work Experience - LA-based producer of Alfred Hitchcock remakes
- Head of the Battenberg-Crowe-von-Wettin Foundation
- Sales manager of corporate bonds
- Solving Third World debt
- Working for the US Defense Department on projects I'm not allowed to discuss
- Head of a jet-propulsion company that made engines for rockets
- Former head of a jet-propulsion company sold to
- Ship's captain from Chile, now retired
My Best Excuses for Skipping Town - My parents are missing in Afghanistan and I must find them.
- A family member has died in England and I have to go back and take care of the estate.
My Likes - Paying for art with a blank check and asking my banker never to tell me the amount
- The movie Double Indemnity
My Dislikes - Italian food
- People asking me questions about where I get my money
- Paintings with green in them
My Favorite Pickup Lines and Text Flirts - "I'm on my way to China for my work as a nuclear physicist and I've just come from giving my daughter's class a one-hour tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art."
- "In a submarine. Crowded. Strange. Thought of you a minute ago."
- "Just gazed at Saturn for the last 10 minutes. Viewing excellent tonight in Brookline. Wish you could see this. Wish I could see you."
- "Would you like to see my collection of Mark Rothko paintings?"
What You'll Find in My Pocket - The key to Rockefeller Center
What I Like to Collect - Rolls-Royces
- Italian sports cars
- Abstract expressionism art
- Rockefeller memorabilia, including pennants, neckties, and campaign bumper stickers
My Favorite Foods - Cucumber-and-watercress tea sandwiches, but only on Pepperidge Farm bread with the crusts removed
- Lamb sausage
- Cereal, which I take with me to London because the food is so dreadful there
My Preferred Transport - My Learjet
- My yacht
- My catamaran
My Special Skills - I can speak five, six, or seven languages, including Klingon, that of the warrior race from Star Trek.
My Most Ambitious Pledge - I am donating a planetarium to Southfield School in Brookline, which my daughter attended.
My Religion - Quaker. I believe in nonviolence.
- Episcopalian. I am a member of Saint Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue in New York.
My Friends - Britney Spears
- Former German chancellor Helmut Kohl
- Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking
- Henry Kissinger. I met him and his dog, Amelia, while walking my dog.
The Celebrities I Most Resemble - Thurston Howell III, the millionaire on TV's Gilligan's Island
- Dr. Niles Crane on Frasier, a character modeled after me
- Professor Plum from the game Clue
My Current Projects - A sitcom, starring myself, about people hanging out in a coffee shop
- A novel about the creation of the modern state of Israel
- Perfecting my amnesia
Stephanie Schorow is a writer in the Boston area. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rockefeller's claims were compiled from newspaper, magazine, and TV reports about his case.