Brooke Astor Dead at 105

Charity and society queen was victimized at the end of her life
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2007 4:40 PM CDT
Brooke Astor, 95, is seen at the Merchant's House Museum in New York in this May 1, 1997, file photo. Astor, the civic leader, philanthropist and high society fixture who gave away nearly $200 million...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Brooke Astor—philanthropist and former queen of New York society -- has died at 105. The socialite had been in the news for being abused and exploited by her descendants, but her enduring legacy was her tireless charity work. "Money is like manure; it’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around," she used to say.

Brooke Astor inherited $60 million for herself and the same amount for her foundation when her husband, Newsweek chairman Vincent Astor, died. She personally visited all of the causes that she donated money to to assess their worthiness. At 98, Mrs. Astor still wrote articles for Vanity Fair, musing sadly that men no longer wore hats and women no longer flirted.