The more I read about Huguette Clark, the reclusive, massively wealthy heiress who died yesterday at the age of 104, the more I want to know. For someone most people have never heard of, she led one of the most fascinating and bizarre lives that seems stolen from the pages of a fictional script.
Politics, wealth, greed, mystery, scandal -- it's all there in her life and death. Here are 10 things about Huguette Clark (even her name is fascinating) that would provide plenty of fodder for a must-see film:
1. Her father, William Andrews Clark, was a copper tycoon and at one point considered the second richest man in America.
2. Mark Twain despised her father, who served one term as a U.S. Senator. Twain wrote of him in 1907: “He is as rotten a human being as can be found anywhere under the flag; he is a shame to the American nation, and no one has helped to send him to the Senate who did not know that his proper place was the penitentiary, with a ball and chain on his legs.”
3. Huguette was born in Paris and grew up in a 121-room mansion in Manhattan. No, that's not a typo -- 121 rooms!
4. She was married once for two years, but then divorced. She had no children.
5. She preferred to be referred to as "Madame Clark."
6. Madame Clark loved, collected, and played with dolls throughout her entire life. (That alone is reason for a movie, no?)
7. For the last 22 years of her life, she cut herself off from friends and family. Even attorneys and other professionals were often made to speak with her through a closed door.
8. Her attorney and accountant are under investigation for mismanagement of her funds.
9. She lived in Beth Israel Hospital in New York for 20 years before her death Tuesday, though she was registered under a fake name.
10. She leaves behind a $500 million fortune (wowza!). Beneficiaries have yet to be named.
Do you find the life of Huguette Clark fascinating?
Image via Sherry's Rose Cottage/Flickr