When it comes to Divas, there are the ‘good, the bad and the ugly’ behavior types. Celebrities, singers and starlets alike can easily be all three, then comes the Ladies.
Brooke Astor is a class in and of her own. Née Roberta Brooke Russell in 1902, she acquired this famous last name after marrying her 3rd husband, Vincent Astor, in 1953.
The Astor name is quintessential with New York City’s history and society, but also the RMS Titanic (John Jacob Astor IV perished with the ship), the Waldorf-Astoria hotel (John Jacob Astor IV built it), the Astoria neighborhood in Queens, New York (a developer hoping to get them to invest named the neighborhood after the Astors; they didn’t), and the beaver fur trade (the initial source of the Astor fortune).
Brooke Astor, who was partially raised in China, Santo Domingo and Haiti, was the beacon of New York society until her death in 2007, at 105. What makes her an amazing individual is how she oversaw the dispersal of her husband’s massive fortune after his death in 1959 to various philanthropic organizations.
These ranged from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to The New York Public Library, the Lighthouse for the Blind, the Maternity Center Association, the Astor Home for emotionally disturbed children, the International Rescue Committee, the Fresh Air Fund, and the Women’s Auxiliary Board of the Society of New York Hospital, amongst many others.
Mrs. Astor loved a good party, and always managed to bring a sense of fun and levvity to her serious philanthropic pursuits. When it came to dressing, she was the epitome of “fashionable elegance” and her fashion cues such as her gloves and her love of fur were legendary.
In a time when greed and arrogance make continuous headlines in newsprints and 24 hours news channels, it shows that humanity has its champions too. For that, Brooke Astor is a Diva we love.
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