Anthony Marshall, the once-respected soldier and diplomat who went to prison last year for looting the estate of his mother Brooke Astor, has died at age 90.
The death is confirmed in a cryptic and bizarre death notice purchased by his wife Charlene in this morning’s NYTimes (12/1).
Weirdly, Mrs. Marshall writes of her husband’s everlasting devotion to her children and grandchildren, but omits any mention of his own two sons or even his mother, the world-famous philanthropist Mrs. Astor. Before she died in 2007 at age 105, Brooke Astor had been the undisputed social queen of New York, and of America.
It was the concern of Tony’s son Philip about his grandmother’s well-being that led to an investigation culminating in Marshall’s indictment, conviction and incarceration on charges of grand larceny, conspiracy and possession of stolen property. (None of this is mentioned in Charlene’s hagiographic death notice, you may be sure.)
A year before Mrs. Astor’s death, Marshall and his wife Charlene had been ordered by a court to return $11 million in assets (art, jewelry,cash) they had diverted from his mother’s estate.
As details of Tony and Charlene’s mistreatment and neglect of his invalid mother became public (e.g., they had dismissed her trusted caretakers so as to retain autonomous control and secrecy), the term “elder abuse” became widely associated with the case. The bitter irony was the realization that if this could happen to the Dowager Empress of Park Avenue, it could happen to anyone. Along with her friend David Rockefeller (still active at 99), Brooke Astor was the pre-eminent philanthropist of the last half-century.
Charlene did find room in her tribute to Tony to trumpet, “Until his death, he remained a member of the prestigious Racquet & Tennis Club and The Brook”. In other words, these pillars of the WASP establishment didn’t kick him out just because he was an ex-con. Better left unsaid, no?
The sad epilogue on Tony’s life, which imploded under Charlene’s influence, is that the couple would have had plenty of money, and the luxury to enjoy it, if they had been patient and not begun plotting to divert assets meant for charitable institutions.
At Marshall’s trial, a friend of Mrs. Astor testified that she had once remarked, “I wish Tony had made something of himself instead of waiting for the money.”
* * *
Pataki & Silverstein Draw Blame for 2d-Rate 1WTC
The design of 1 World Trade Center is just plain awful, says The Times, and the chief culprits are ex-Gov. George Pataki, who gave away the store to secure a third term in 2002, and wily developer Larry Silverstein, who played everybody against everybody to get his way at every stage.
In a hard-hitting “architecture review” on Page 1 of the Sunday Times (11/30), Michael Kimmelman writes that the building is a “cautionary tale” that “speaks volumes about political opportunism, outmoded thinking and upside-down priorities. It’s what happens when a commercial developer is pretty much handed the keys to the castle.”
He finds the “widely respected architect David Childs” of the Skidmore firm to be less blameworthy because he faced a “nearly impossible task”. But the aesthetic appeal is not what it could and should have been, in the critic’s view.
“The building is the tallest in the Western Hemisphere, as if that ever meant anything, by virtue of a skinny antenna” that rises 400 feet. “Counting the antenna is like counting relish at a hot dog eating contest.”
The Times has a point. So does the antenna.
* * *
“Delusional Dinosaur” Pataki To Run for President: Daily News
In the kind of coincidence that amuses Orbmagazine, The Daily News has a story today (12/1) headlined: “Wacky Pataki! America Needs Me As President, ‘Delusional’ Ex-Gov Again Insists “.
Kenneth Lovett writes, “Even as political experts give him virtually no shot for the 2016 race, Pataki in recent weeks has traveled twice to New Hampshire and is also hitting South Carolina to kick off this week”.
Pataki’s longtime fundraiser Cathy Blaney insists, “He’s very serious. He’s talking to the right people”. [Lovett identifies these “right people” as GOP fatcats David Koch and Earle Mack. Incidentally, these are the same people who advised John Catsimatidis to run for mayor in 2013.]
“I don’t know how people obtain these delusions,” laughed highly respected commentator Larry Sabato. “I don’t take those drugs”.
Veteran GOP campaigner Ed Rollins adds, “I don’t want to say he’s a dinosaur, but in the world of politics, he is.”
Lovett speculates Pataki may be trying to drum up legal clients or wangle a cabinet post.
ORB SAYS: Go for it, Georgie Porgie. One of our favorite politicians was Harold Stassen, who ran for president ten times (1940, 1944, 1948, 1952, 1964, 1968, 1980, 1984, 1988, and 1988). You, Mr. Pataki, are still a neophyte.
* * *
Send for Susan—There’s a New Campaign
Susan Thomases, who was Hillary Clinton’s most intimate aide until Huma Abedin came along, warned Bill Clinton at the outset of his first run for president to keep it in his pants.
“I told him if I found him having sex on the campaign, he was dead, that I was leaving and taking everybody with me,” the delightfully candid Thomases told a U.Va. oral history project in 2006. “I said, ‘You’re stupid enough to blow this whole presidential thing over your dick.'”
Leonard Greene writes in The Post (11/26): “But the warning apparently had a statute of limitations, because before the Clinton camp could say, ‘Two-term presidency’, the White House was knee-deep in the Monica Lewinsky scandal.”
* * *
Even When Donald Loses, He Wins
People in the neighborhood fought for years to stop the Trump Soho hotel and condominium, pointing out it would be ugly and out of scale, but Mr. Trump strong-armed it through in 2010, then used his kids to market it.
Alas, two-thirds of the 391 condo-hotel units went unsold. Now its lender has acquired it in a foreclosure auction. Trump Management, which has a licensing agreement but doesn’t own the property, will continue to operate it.
* * *
Preserved in Aspic, Yes, But Looking Fine
You’re only as old as you admit you are, in the mind of Valentino. Onstage at the 92d street Y, Fern Mallis asked him what year he was born. He answered, “Don’t say it.” She then asked his age. He replied, “What?” On her third attempt, Val said he didn’t understand the question.
The Confidential column claims he is 82 and quotes an audience member saying, “He looks fab….but preserved.” (News, 11/20).