Trusts, estates, too many houses and too many wills: Huguette Clark

Because it’s been such a compelling story − if making us (temporary?) Peeping Toms − I’ve frequently mentioned the Huguette Clark story.

The Sunday Times Book Review, which I read fairly thoroughly, mostly because the reviews offer compact versions of books which I most likely will never read, had a solid review of a new biographical history of Huguette Clark: Meryl Gordon’s ‘Phantom of Fifth Avenue’ –

The review by Penelope Green and, of course, the book seem to consolidate all the little scandals attached to this thoroughly weird, far too rich woman:

At the end, she loved watching SpongeBob and the Smurfs, bidding (by proxy) on antique French dolls and writing enormous checks to her nurse, sometimes two in one day. When she died in 2011 at 104, Huguette Clark was flush with property — apartments totaling 42 rooms on Fifth Avenue, a 23-acre estate in Santa Barbara and a 22-room mansion in New Canaan, Conn., that she had never bothered to ­furnish. (In 1961, her Santa Barbara caretaker quit because he was suffering from the isolation: Clark had reportedly not visited the place since 1953.) Yet despite such splendid real estate, Clark had chosen to spend the final two decades of her life in a series of modest hospital rooms attended by a small circle of extremely well-paid retainers, including her doctor, her nurse, her accountant and her lawyer.

So admit it one last time: you are a Peeping Tom. And not for the last time: you are so glad you are not rich.

You are now free to read on.

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