A colorful public life that began on a chandelier

Eaton Brooks, the UNC sophomore whose drunken chandelier-swinging at a 1964 Hamptons house party  earned him a trip to court and attention in the national press, has been a longtime occupant of my  “Whatever happened to…” list.

This 1980 profile in Charlottesville’s Albemarle magazine answers that question in rich detail, at least up to his suicide three years later at age 40.

“Meet Eaton Brooks,” writes Mark MacNamara, “master raconteur and self-acclaimed ‘controversial’ criminal attorney, whose ‘flamboyance’ follows him like a caption after a bi-plane. He is a man whose public image arouses unusually visceral extremes of criticism and praise — even among people who hardly know him.”

Footnote: Hamptons house parties that lurch out of control didn’t end in 1964.