At the 63rd Annual Academy Awards on March 25th, 1991, actor Jeremy Irons won the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance as Claus von Bülow in the 1990 film Reversal of Fortune.
The film recounts the true story of Claus von Bülow who was twice tried on charges of attempted murder after his wife, socialite Sunny von Bülow (played by Glenn Close), was found comatose on December 21, 1980, due to an alleged insulin overdose at Clarendon Court, her estate on Bellevue Avenue.
In 1982, Claus von Bülow was initially convicted of both the attempted murder of Sunny in 1979, which had left her in a temporary coma, as well as the alleged insulin overdose in 1980 that left her in a persistent vegetative state for the rest of her life. On appeal, both convictions were reversed, and von Bülow was found not guilty at his second trial. Sunny von Bülow lived almost 28 years in a vegetative state, from December 1980 until her death in December 2008. Claus von Bülow died in 2019.
The film was shot in numerous estates in Rhode Island, as well as New Jersey and New York. It was adapted from the 1985 book Reversal of Fortune: Inside the von Bülow Case, written by Alan Dershowitz, von Bülow’s defense attorney.
Irons, a British actor, was nominated alongside Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves) Robert De Niro (Awakenings), Gerard Depardieu (Cyrano de Bergerac) and Richard Harris (The Field) for the Oscar.