Brooke Astor Never Promised You an Azalea Garden

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Astor in 2003.Photo: Getty Images

Sunday’s Times brought a detailed look at Brooke Astor’s last will and testament, the “dark center of a legal battle” between her son Anthony and her grandson Philip. The article doesn’t specify how this center came to be so well illuminated — a “party” involved in the case has furnished the Gray Lady with a copy, we’re breezily informed in the story’s eleventh paragraph. The timing of the leak seems to be tied to Brooke Astor’s frail health — she is now 105 and in what the Times terms a “final decline.” So, not to be crass, but, um, who’s getting what? There’s no particular surprise as to where the lion’s share goes: to Anthony, who has redirected a bulk of the Astor fortune to himself in three controversial amendments to the 2002 document. There are, however, some pretty whimsical allotments on tap. David Rockefeller gets something! So does his (dead) brother Laurance! And NYU! And a garden. An itemization, after the jump.

• David Rockefeller gets a Buddha head.
• Laurance Rockefeller would get a head of god Hypnos (if he weren’t in the province of Hypnos’s twin Thanatos, having expired in 2004).
• Annette de la Renta gets four dog paintings.
• Frederick Melhado gets “the pair of cachepots in my Blue Room” (awww).
• Yet-unnamed public-school teachers will get $2 million for travel abroad.
• NYU gets $2 million.
• The New York Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art are in for major donations, too, but not nearly as lavish as in the original will.
• An azalea garden in Maine gets $100,000.

Finally, and rather touchingly, the will (written in 2002) expresses Brooke Astor’s wish that Philip Marshall “keep visiting his father,” Anthony — and that Anthony bequeath his estate to Philip upon his death. Somehow, we don’t see that happening — but let’s humor the nice old lady, shall we.

Will of Mrs. Astor, Now 105, Gives Millions to Family and to Charity [NYT]