astorcover.jpgNew York magazine has an extraordinary cover story on the life of Brooke Astor, months after the "doyenne" of the city's social scene passed away. It is a sordid tale of jealousy, greed, enmity, conflicting agendas, and familial conflict worthy of the most outlandish soap opera. Her son Tony is now under i investigation by a grand jury and control of her estate has passed to Astor's friend Annette de la Renta. The litany of shabby behavior runs the gamut.

  • Astor's British butler physically blocked her son and his wife from seeing the woman and saying goodbye on the verge of her death.
  • Tony Marshall, Astor's son by a prior husband, is accused of looting his mother's estate as she succumbed to dementia.
  • Marshall was also accused of neglecting Astor--limiting physician visits and allowing her living situation degenerate to the border of elder abuse.
  • Marshall's somewhat estranged son (Tony left Phillip when the boy was 8 years old) waged a public and legal battle against his father, accusing him of elder abuse.
  • Annette de la Renta, Astor's friend and daughter-figure, parlayed her friendship with Brooke Astor into the realm of New York's blue blood social set through her friend's philanthropy.
  • Astor passive aggressively belittled her son Tony and neglected him in favor of her husband Vincent, who is described as rather boorish. She was also disdainful of his wife Charlene, who left her Episcopal priest husband for Tony.

The feature will leave readers with a mixture of schadenfreude and sadness, contemplating privileged lives of wealth spent poorly--in the sense that almost everyone involved is embittered in the end. We imagine film treatments are already being drawn up, as Brooke Astor's life seems predestined for a screen as large as the city she lived in and endowed, personally and financially.