This heiress daughter of a Montana “robber baron” mining and railroad tycoon was a hence unseen recluse from 1930 until her death in 2011 following a painful divorce from the son of one of her father’s business associates after just two years of marriage. The owner of palatial mothballed estates in Santa Barbara, California and New Canaan, Connecticut, this Miss Havisham-esque character lived in a hospital for the last 20 years of her life yet spent $1 million a month on outgoings during the same period. Born in Paris, Huguette Clark lavished millions purchasing rare French and Japanese dolls that she dressed in Christian Dior but equally regarded her wealth a “a menace to happiness”. The only people present at her burial were funeral home employees. A jury trial in September 2013 after wranglings between disinherited relatives and the lawyers, nurses and accountants who were named beneficiaries become beyond acrimonious decided that her $300 – $400 million fortune would mostly go to charity. An amateur artist herself, if Clark’s desire to turn her $100 million Santa Barbara estate, Bellosguardo, into an art museum goes ahead, it will be world class. Her collection numbered works by Monet, Renoir and Singer Sargent.
I had a very rich great aunt who lived in Florida and who left nothing to her family, but instead decided to leave her fortune to the State of Israel. I have heard of philanthropy but this is taking it the piss. The family were not amused.
I loved the book and all the life stories of Hugette. But what a sad way to spend the rest of your life ! All alone, in a hospital room with just one caretaker, whom I feel raked her over the coal and took advantage of a woman, who was rather unstable of mind.