Social and Ocean Liner History: Brooke Astor sailed on scores of ocean liners from the 1910 into the 1950s. This video looks at some of these great ocean liners.
Roberta Brooke Astor (née Russell, previously Kuser and Marshall) (March 30, 1902 – August 13, 2007) was an American philanthropist and socialite who was the chairwoman of the Vincent Astor Foundation, which had been established by her third husband, Vincent Astor, son of John Jacob Astor IV (who died in the sinking of the RMS Titanic) and great-great grandson of America’s first multi-millionaire, John Jacob Astor.
She was the last of the American branch of the Astors, a family whose financial and social prestige was once synonymous with the wealth and power of the Rockefellers and the Morgans. The family’s holdings at various times included the St. Regis Hotel, the Empire State Building’s site and Newsweek magazine. One of the Astors died on the Titanic.
Astor was “an energetic, charming but level-headed municipal fairy godmother, who found and made adventure out of conventional upper-class life until some curious fate gave her the magical power of the Astor money,” the New York Times said in a review of her 1980 memoir, “Footprints.”
She faded from public view after a lavish 100th birthday party organized by David Rockefeller until 2006, when a feud over her estate thrust her back into the limelight. Her grandson, Philip Marshall, filed suit seeking the removal of his father as Astor’s guardian, saying she was a victim of “elder abuse.”
The court filing alleged Anthony Marshall, then 82, had “intentionally and repeatedly” ignored his mother’s health and personal well-being “while enriching himself with millions of dollars.”