Butler: Astor's Mind Was Gone
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2009 11:37 AM CDT
Anthony Marshall and his wife Charlene, talk in court, April 28, 2009. Butler Chris Elys says Brooke Astor told him she hated Charlene, saying, "She has no class, and she has no neck."   (AP Photo/Marc A. Hermann, Pool)
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(Newser) – Brooke Astor spent her final years in a haze as her faculties deserted her, her butler testified yesterday at the fraud trial of Astor’s son Anthony Marshall. As early as 1997, Astor’s memory started to fail her, leaving her unable to recall her servants’ names or even what a squirrel was, the New York Daily News reports. “She would point out the window and ask, ‘What animal is that?’” recalled Chris Ely.

Ely said the staff used stuffed animals to communicate with Astor and recalled her utter bewilderment at 9/11. She would sit alone, counting money. “She would have $100 in twenties, and she would try, but she couldn’t count it. And I’d count it for her,” he recalled. “Then I’d come back, and she’d be counting it all over again.”