The star of one of Rancho Santa Fe’s messiest divorces is taking her tales to network television as the creator of a new ABC series aptly called Notorious. “It’s the thrill of a lifetime, said Wendy Walker in a recent interview with the Rancho Santa Fe Review about the show, starring Piper Perabo — formerly of Covert Affairs — in the role of the show’s Walker-created semi-fictional lead. According to the report, Walker, who was Larry King’s producer for years, has loosely based part of the drama on her relationship with Mark Geragos, the L.A. defense lawyer who received widespread notice as one of King’s on-air legal analysts during 1995’s O.J. Simpson trial. “I’ve always wanted to get into scripted TV, and after leaving the news business, this was the first idea I had,” Walker told the Review.
In her heyday as the King show guru, Walker employed a high-tech hookup to CNN, using a production facility at the sprawling Rancho Santa Fe estate she occupied with then-husband Ralph Victor Whitworth. A so-called activist investor and one-time understudy to Texas oil billionaire Boone Pickens, Whitworth made his considerable fortune by taking big positions in downtrodden companies and beating up on truculent managements. In 2003 he became famous for hiring ex-Beatle Paul McCartney to perform at a celebrity-packed birthday party for Walker in a bistro at the Ranch. “I wanted to do something special for her 50th birthday,” said Whitworth. “I’ll say I have another 50 years to come up with something else like this.”
As it turned out, the couple split up less than a year later and launched a divorce war over Whitworth’s allegedly years-long series of infidelities. “For the last four years of our marriage, we have enjoyed a very lavish lifestyle, including multiple luxurious residences, traveling exclusively on private planes, taking luxurious vacations, buying designer clothing, and essentially partaking of, and enjoying, the best of everything that life has to offer,” said Walker in a court filing. “We own residences in Rancho Santa Fe, California, and Sun Valley, Idaho. For the last two or three years we have also been renting a beach house at La Jolla Shores, California, for approximately $9000 per month.”
Wedded to Whitworth in 1992, Walker and the couple’s two children had decamped from Washington DC to California in 1998. “Although making my job much more difficult to perform, I created a special environment for and established my office in our residence so that I would not have to physically leave our home to perform my work.” In another filing, she complained that her husband had “gone into a tirade, hurling abusive language and insults at me.” When their daughter returned from a Sun Valley weekend trip with Whitworth, her “hair was in such severe knots as a result of not having been washed and/or combed for the two days.”
In May of last year, safely split from Walker, Whitworth threw another private rock-and-roll extravaganza, hiring the Rolling Stones to entertain new wife Fernanda and guests at Solana Beach’s Belly Up Tavern. “Fernanda came to San Diego as a business student from Sao Paolo, Brazil, later meeting Ralph at a social event in La Jolla,” says an online profile. Of her upcoming tell-all TV series, Walker told the Review, “I hope everyone in San Diego will get behind their hometown girl, spread the word and watch the show. It would be great if Notorious became as big a hit as Scandal!”