'20s Socialite Dies After 80 Years as Recluse

Huguette Clark dead at 104

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted May 25, 2011 5:59 AM CDT

(Newser) – Copper heiress Huguette Clark, a fixture of society pages in the 1920s, has died some 80 years after she turned her back on high society. Clark died at age 104 in a Manhattan hospital where she had spent more than 20 years despite being in good health, the Wall Street Journal reports. The sixth and last child of tycoon William Clark, once America's second-richest man, she leaves a fortune estimated at $500 million.

After a brief marriage at the age of 22, Clark divorced and became a recluse, spending most of her life in an art-filled 42-room apartment overlooking Central Park. The heiress, who once told friends that wealth is a "menace to happiness" and that she just wanted to stay home and play with dolls, spent her years in the hospital under a series of pseudonyms, attended by aides around the clock and surrounded by the antique dolls she had collected since she was a girl.

This 1930 photo, taken when Clark traveled to Reno to obtain a divorce, is the last known photo taken of the heiress.
This 1930 photo, taken when Clark traveled to Reno to obtain a divorce, is the last known photo taken of the heiress.   (AP Photo, File)
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