Like a lot of her high-powered socialite friends from Manhattan and Southampton, heiress and equestrian Patty Davis Raynes moved to the Palm Beach area permanently once Covid-19 hit. But a close pal said he wondered if her almost daily horseback-riding there compromised her health.
The blond, youthful-looking Raynes — the eldest daughter of late oil baron Marvin Davis, whose family was one of the inspirations for Aaron Spelling’s iconic ’80s soap “Dynasty” — was found dead in her posh Wellington, Fla., home Thursday by her longtime housekeeper. She was 70.
As part of the incredibly wealthy yet seemingly doomed Davis family, Raynes faced many tragedies in her life.
She once had to sue her own siblings over allegedly looting her inheritance after her oil tycoon father died. Her son Nick Raynes was found dead in his Upper East Side bathroom in 2018 at age 33, and her nephew Jason “Gummi Bear” Davis died of a fentanyl overdose at age 35 in 2020.
Raynes suffered another blow in 2020 when her best friend, ’80s It girl and model Nina Griscom died from Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS.
The socialite found exceptional joy in her horses, especially her 15-year-old chestnut Oldenburg gelding Touchdown, and her surviving children, Matthew and Ashley Rayner, according to her close friend and trainer Alex Hamer.
But her love for riding and jumping may have endangered her health.
“She loved her horses so much but I think it made her asthma so much worse,” designer Frederick Anderson, a friend of two decades, told The Post. “A year ago she was out with me in Manhattan and she had such horrible asthma we had to call the doctor. I didn’t even know asthma could be so bad. But at the same time, her horses meant so much to her, she couldn’t stop riding them or being with them.”
Raynes was a top rider at the famed Wellington International Equestrian Center where the daughters of Bruce Springsteen, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were fellow riders.
Hamer told The Post Raynes won top ribbons at numerous horse shows across the country, including the Hampton Classic, the Winter Equestrian Festival in Palm Beach, the Fairfield County (Connecticut) Hunt Club, and the Capital Challenge in Washington, DC.
“She rode four to five days a week,” Hamer said. “It’s been her lifelong passion. There are people who ride at her age but they’re not all jumping three feet. She was an amazing lady and my best friend.”
Hamer said he wasn’t sure if the horses affected Raynes’ asthma.
“She wasn’t in the barn that much,” he said. “She was mostly outside enjoying them, either atop them or from the ground. She loved spending time hand grazing them or taking them for grass.”
Her family said Raynes died from asthma.
After her death, Raynes’ mother, Barbara Davis, told The Post via a rep: “On behalf of the Davis family, we are heartbroken by the untimely passing of our dear Patty Davis Raynes. I’m devastated to share that my daughter passed away earlier today after suffering from an asthma infection. Patty left a hole in our hearts that cannot be filled. We appreciate your thoughts, prayers, and respect for privacy during the unimaginable time.”
Raynes had been divorced from New York real estate developer Marty Raynes since 2008 but sources said he plans to be at her funeral next week in Manhattan.
Said a Palm Beach friend: “For someone with that kind of money — and she had a buttload of money — she was so approachable and warm and bubbly. If you’re the daughter of Marvin Davis and if you marry Marty Raynes you have to navigate a pretty rough world and she did.”
Friends like Anna Rothschild and Elizabeth Fekkai were just some of the many who told The Post how shocked they were at her death.
“She was like a sister to me,” Rothschild said, “This is one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through.”
Raynes grew up in a world of incredible privilege as one of five children of Marvin, who was known for his formidable, 300+-pound presence. The oil tycoon, a son of a Jewish immigrant who left London for New York in 1917, made a fortune in the US with Davis Petroleum, earning him the name “Mr. Wildcatter.”
In the 1980s, Marvin owned 20th Century Fox, the Pebble Beach Corporation, the Beverly Hills Hotel, and the Aspen Skiing Company.
He was so rich that his friend Aaron Spelling loosely based the Carrington characters of his 1980s hit nighttime soap “Dynasty” on the Davis family.
“He was always fun,” novelist Jackie Collins told Vanity Fair in 2005. “He was Marvin! He would try to intimidate people. His first question would be: How old are you and how much money do you have? I think he liked me because when I met him and he asked me that I said, ‘F–k off, Marvin!’ ”
But the family fortune once said to be as much as $5.8 billion, had largely disappeared by the time Marvin died in 2004.
The following year, Raynes sued her four siblings, her mother and several family advisers, claiming they had helped her father loot her trust fund.
Raynes’ 169-page lawsuit began with the kind of dramatic flair that could have been ripped from a “Dynasty script.
“This is a case about greed, theft, and betrayal, a case about how Marvin Davis, who was one of the wealthiest men in America, systematically stole hundreds of millions of dollars from the trust created for his oldest daughter, Patricia Davis Raynes, to finance his own business interests, the business interests of his two favored sons, and a lavish lifestyle for himself, his wife Barbara Davis, and his other children,” the lawsuit began.
“Acting out of greed, spite, and malice, Marvin Davis and his close cohort of co-conspirators abused, isolated, and stole from Patricia because she dared to question Marvin Davis, and dared to leave Los Angeles for New York to live her own life. Patricia’s brothers and sisters knew about, took advantage of, and greedily accepted the benefits from the wrongful, illegal acts of Marvin Davis, Barbara Davis, and their coterie of advisers and sycophants.”
According to Raynes’ lawsuit, which was filed by attorney David Boies, Marvin tried to intimidate his own children.
“Instead of distributing the trust property to Patricia when she turned twenty-one, Marvin forged Patricia’s signature on new trust documents,” the lawsuit read.
To keep control of Patricia’s trust property, Marvin coerced Patricia by threats and acts of violence, to sign still other documents that perpetuated his control of her property.
“For more than 30 years, as her sole trustee, Marvin defrauded his eldest daughter, the lawsuit contends, in a variety of ways, including stealing, commingling, profligately spending, and taking enormous salaries as trustee.”
Raynes settled with all 14 parties, and the case was closed in 2008.
But it wasn’t just Raynes who had a money issue.
Her sister Nancy claimed that their brother Gregg Davis cheated Nancy and her mother, Barbara Davis, out of millions by lowballing the value of Davis Petroleum in a forced bankruptcy sale. Nancy tried to file a $50 million suit accusing Gregg of conspiring to buy the firm for $150 million when it was worth up to $1 billion. They denied it and a judge denied Nancy permission to sue.
Nancy herself filed for bankruptcy in 2011. Three years later, her sons — Brandon, Jason, and Alexander — were sued over allegedly “fraudulent” money transfers made to them by Nancy.
Nancy’s sons have not escaped tragedy, either.
Brandon “Greasy Bear” and Jason “Gummi Bear” Davis were paparazzi fixtures on the young Hollywood scene in the aughts when Brandon became famous for dating starlet Mischa Barton and getting into a feud with Lindsay Lohan — notoriously dubbing her “Firecrotch.” He also reportedly ran up a $300,000 debt at the Wynn Las Vegas and Bellagio casinos and, in 2007, was reportedly sued by the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort for allegedly bouncing checks.
After being arrested for felony drug possession in 2014, he checked into rehab for alcohol and cocaine use two years later.
Jason, who had acted as a child in movies such as “Beverly Hills Ninja,” struggled with his weight as well as drugs. In 2020, he died from a fentanyl overdose. He was 35.
Raynes’ own son, Nick, also died of a drug overdose in 2018, at the age of 33.
Raynes’ friend Frederick Anderson said he remembers going through the deaths of Patty’s son, nephew, and best friend Nina with her.
“It was all so devastating for her, especially Nick’s death,” he said. “And when Nina died, the two of them had been joined at the hip. But somehow she pulled herself together and managed to find joy in her life with her horses and her children. The saddest part was that she was back with her family members again. She and Nancy were hanging out. It’s so terrible, there will never be anyone like her again.”
The post Tragic history of billionaire Davis family, inspiration for ‘Dynasty’ appeared first on New York Post.