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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/24/2011 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Millionaire woman dies a few days short of 105th birthday; lived reclusive life in hospital rooms

Huguette M. Clark, worth untold millions as the heiress to a copper fortune, has died a few days short of her 105th birthday. In spite of her unimaginable wealth, she chose to live in hospital rooms tended only by a few nurses in the last 22 years of her life as her mansions remained empty. Her most unusual life story fascinated the world, and many questions remain unanswered following her passing.

The last known photograph of Huguette M. Clark, pictured here was taken in 1930, on the day she ended her childless marriage of two years.

The last known photograph of Huguette M. Clark, pictured here was taken in 1930, on the day she ended her childless marriage of two years.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/24/2011 (4 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Millionaire, elderly, hospital rooms


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The criminal investigation into the handling of her money continues. An assistant district attorney was able to visit with her more than once. A state grand jury in Manhattan issued subpoenas for documents, and it could be months before the investigation's conclusion is known. Clark lived quietly into the 21st century, secluded in a Spartan hospital room for more than two decades despite being in relatively good physical health. Public interest in her unusual circumstances became a trending topic of searches on Google and Yahoo, as well as her being pictured on the cover of tabloids, with fan pages on Facebook, a biography on Wikipedia and her story read by tens of millions. The last known photograph of Clark was made in 1930, the day she ended her marriage of two years. Clark's eyesight had failed and her hearing was weak, and at times she had been unwilling to eat. She was moved in mid-April from her private room at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York up to its medical intensive care unit, then in mid-May to a room with hospice care. Clark had been living at the hospital under pseudonyms in a guarded room with full-time private nurses. Huguette Clark has been almost entirely alone, aside from her private nurse and occasional visits by her accountant. One of her attorneys represented her for 20 years without meeting her face to face, instead talking through a closed door. Clark was born in Paris on June 9, 1906, the youngest child of U.S. Sen. William Andrews Clark of Montana, known as one of the copper kings. Her father was described by The New York Times as either the richest or second-richest American, neck and neck with John D. Rockefeller. While serving in the Senate in 1904, the 62-year-old widower shocked the political and financial world by announcing that he had secretly remarried two years earlier, and that he and his 23-year-old wife already had a 2-year-old daughter, Andrée. A second daughter, Huguette, was born two years later. She was married in 1928, at 22, to William Gower, a law student and Clark family employee. The couple soon separated, had no children, and divorced in less than two years, in the summer of 1930. Why she chose to lead the life of a lonely invalid - with little to no friends or family, her many mansions remaining unoccupied while being rigorously maintained, seems to be a stinging example of the truism that money, truly, cannot buy happiness.  

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