In a Lifetime that Lasted 104 Years, She Spent 80 in Seclusion

Imagine living to the ripe old age of 104….and spending eight decades of that long life in virtual seclusion. I read a column called Remembrances tonight in the WSJ about Huguette Clark, a society girl who made her debut at age 20, and then married at 22. Yet despite being one of America’s wealthiest women, she spent a lot of her life living with her mother in a 42-room New York City apartment. The rest of the time she preferred living in a hospital, away from anyone.

It’s wasn’t as if she didn’t have options…besides the apartment, which was the largest on Fifth Avenue, she also owned a $100 million California mansion and a Connecticut estate worth a mere $24 mill.

She had family, but refused to see them. Her sad and long story came to light in a msnbc report last year questioning how her vast fortune was being handled.

The big money came from her father, William Clark, who made the dough owning copper mines in Montana, and later became a US senator. She was the last child he had, born in Paris, where he liked to go to collect art.

Ms Clark leaves a fortune of $500 million, and is said to have signed a will. Yet what wanted was to be left alone, as a recluse, away from the trappings of wealth, which she once described as a menace to happiness.