By Fred Mazelis
Directed by Lauren Greenfield
The new documentary, The Queen of Versailles, advertised at least in part as a kind of reality show based on the tale of a Florida billionaire and his wife who set out to build a 90,000-square-foot home inspired by Louis XIV’s palace in Versailles, is in fact a good deal more serious than its media coverage might suggest.
David Siegel, 74 years old when the film was begun some four years ago, grew up in Indianapolis. His father was a businessman who apparently gambled away most of his earnings. The younger Siegel was determined to achieve wealth on a grand scale. He got his big chance in 1980, launching what was to become Westgate Resorts, a vast empire based on timeshare vacation homes.
Jackie Siegel, 30 years younger than her husband, comes from a working class background in the upstate New York town of Binghamton. When she met and married Siegel in 1995, it was her second marriage and his third.
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