Thursday, September 21, 2017
I just learned of the death today of L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, 94, the world's richest woman. According to her daughter, she "went peacefully." But the last 10 years of her life were anything but peaceful as she found herself at the center of an epic legal battle triggered by her daughter's 2007 suit against Liliane's protégé, artist François-Marie Banier, accused and eventually convicted of swindling the heiress out of part of her $40 billion fortune. A sad end to a long and eventful life. But also a liberation from the fog of Alzheimers and from the grip of her daughter's guardianship, which in effect held Liliane a prisoner in her gilded cage, forbidden to see even her closest friends. Proof, once again, that wealth does not guarantee happiness.