Doris Duke's Predicament

The New York Times
Friday, January 24, 1997


This was Doris Duke's predicament. She was worth $1.2 billion, but had no relatives or friends she particularly cared to enrish so massively when she died. So she decided with immodesty befitting one of the world's richest women, that her estate would go toward "the improvement of humanity," as her will said. Her money would allow dancers to dance, animals to escape the cruelty of people.

"We're here because of Miss Duke's personalities and eccentricities," said Don Howarth, a Los Angeles lawyer, explaining why the disposition of the estate had turned contentious. "This is a reflection of Miss Duke's vulnerability at not having close friends."