Brooke Astor: ‘Rich People No Better Than Poor People’


In her final days, Brooke Astor was kept awake by terror that a man was in her house, intent on killing her and stealing her money. The aging society doyenne would wander her spacious Park Avenue apartment searching for the intruder, and when she could rest, sleeping with her money to prevent its theft. According to testimony from her nurse Minnette Christie yesterday, upon questioning, Mrs. Astor revealed that the man she feared was her son, Anthony Marshall. Marshall does not stand accused of trying to harm his mother, but he is currently on trial for trying to defraud her of millions by bullying her into changing her will. Later, according to the nurse, Mrs. Astor confided during a moment of lucidity in 2004: “I’m getting stupid in the head but not all stupid.” She made Christie swear not to tell anyone, but she “was made to do some things I don’t want to do by the man. Now you know, in case anything happens to me.” In another moment of clarity, she noted: “Rich people are no better than poor people — you give them a third and they want two-thirds.” This was on the very evening that her son convinced her to sign a will amendment handing him control of about $60 million of her estate.

Astor Feared That Her Son Would Kill Her, Nurse Says [NYT]
Earlier: The Horror of the Astor Trial