Huguette Clark Net Worth & Biography
|Huguette Marcelle Clark
|June 9, 1906
|Died on May 24, 2011 (aged 104)
|William MacDonald Gower (m. 1928; div. 1930)
Huguette Clark was a painter and philanthropist. She was most known as a copper heiress during her lifetime. She earned infamy due to her status as a hermit late in her life. Furthermore, she famously maintained several large properties that she never visited. Before becoming a hermit she spent her time painting and collecting vintage objects.
Early Life: Childhood, Family, Education
Huguette Clark was born in Paris, France, on June 9, 1906. She was the daughter of William A. Clark and his wife, Anna.
Clark’s father was a former United States Senator from Montana who had amassed a fortune in copper mining operations. He was also one of the men that founded Las Vegas, Nevada. Clark’s mother, on the other hand, was an aspiring singer and musician.
In addition to an older sister named Louise, Clark had five half-siblings from the first marriage of her father: Francis, Mary, Charles, Katherine, and William Jr. She spent the initial stages of her childhood in France, and later moved with the family to New York when she was five years old.
Clark attended the Spence School in New York City and lived in a six-story mansion, known to be the biggest house in the city back then. When her father died in 1925, Clark and her mother to a smaller apartment.
Professional Life: Art Career, Later Life as a Loner
As a painter, Huguette Clark exhibited her work at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. In 1929. Beyond her own creations, she also devotedly collected old-fashioned objects such as dolls and toys.
Occasionally, she attended Christian Dior fashion shows in New York. These shows inspired her clothing options for her dolls.
As she grew older, Clark became increasingly suspicious of other people, including her family, fearing they were after her fortune. By the early 90s, she had become severely thin and had several cancerous lesions defacing her appearance. As a result, she was admitted to a hospital where she had her tumors removed. She also underwent extensive reconstructive surgery. After her treatment, she remained in the hospital for the remaining part of her life.
Over the course of her nearly two-decade hospital residence, Clark grew close with her private nurse Hadassah Peri, gifting her more than $30 million in cash, property, and medical expenses. Although she had a net worth that was estimated at over $300 million, Clark was cash poor at that time, and sold possessions so that she could give these kinds of gifts to friends and strangers.
Personal Life: Marriage, Demise
Huguette Clark lived as a loner during the last years of her life. There is no record of any kids linked to her name. She married William MacDonald Gower in 1928 but divorced him two years later.
On May 24, 2011, she passed away just shy of her 105th birthday. A couple of days later, she was entombed at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, in her family mausoleum.
According to her last will and testament that was filed in June 2011, Clark left 75% of her estate to charity. It granted $30 million to her nurse Hadassah Peri, $8 million to the newly founded Bellosguardo Foundation, and $12 million to her goddaughter Wanda Styka. Several employees involved with her residences received $2 million, while Beth Israel Hospital received $1 million. Most of her distant relatives received a total of $34.5 million among them, and the remainder of her wealth went to the arts.
Huguette Clark Net Worth: Salary, Income Sources, Assets, Real Estate
At the time of her demise, Huguette Clark’s net worth was estimated at $300 million. She was a painter, copper heiress, and philanthropist who was earned infamy due to her status as a recluse.
Upon her death at 104 in 2011, she left behind a fortune of approximately $300 million, most of which was willed to charity after a court fight with about 19 of her distant relatives.
Among her notable real estate projects which she never visited during her time alive, Huguette Clark maintained her family’s 23-acre Bellosguardo estate in Santa Barbara, California. She also helped clean up the 42-acre marsh across the street. In 1928, she donated the sum of $50,000 to create an artificial freshwater lake there. This lake was named the Andrée Clark Bird Refuge in honor of Clark’s elder sister who had died of meningitis. When she moved back to her New York City residence, Clark expanded it so that it included the entire eighth floor of the building. She finally grew the residence to 42 rooms and created a library, living room, and drawing room as well. She continued to maintain the Bellosguardo with her mother until she fully inherited the property in 1963. In addition, she also had an estate in New Canaan, Connecticut known as Le Beau Chateau, which she had acquired for an undisclosed amount in 1952.