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Famous New York author who penned books on Bobby Kennedy and Edie Sedgwick was worth $38.5 million when she jumped to her death - and left most her vast fortune to charity

  • Jean Stein plunged from the 15th story of her Manhattan apartment last month 
  • The 83-year-old author had assets worth $38.6 million at the time of her suicide
  • Includes $10m co-op, $15m personal property and $13.5m security investments
  • Majority of her vast wealth was left to her charity JKW Foundation, with donations to UCLA, the Jules Stein Eye Institute and the Whitney Museum 
  • Her daughters, magazine editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, and Wendy vanden Heuvel, were left a collection of jewelry, books and William Eggleston photos
  • They appealed to a judge after Stein's death to access their mother's apartment , sealed by the NYPD, to look for 'missing information' related to her estate
  • The MCA-Universal heiress was also famous author who penned biographies of Bobby Kennedy and socialite and Andy Warhol muse Edie Sedgwick
  • Her interviews, manuscripts and tapes went to the John F. Kennedy library 
  • Diane Keaton got a butterfly mirror which had belonged to actor Truman Capote
  • The building she jumped from was the former home of Gloria Vanderbilt and the location where her son Carter Vanderbilt Cooper also fell to his death in 1988 
  • A famous New York author who penned biographies on Bobby Kennedy and Edie Sedgwick was worth a staggering $38.5 million when she committed suicide last month - but has left almost all her money to charity.
    Jean Stein, 83, plunged from the 15th story of 10 Gracie Square on the Upper East Side, in Manhattan, on the morning of Sunday, April 30. She had landed on the an eighth-floor balcony below and died at the scene.
    Now it has been revealed that the celebrated author, who was suffering from depression, had assets worth almost $40 million, including her $10 million co-op, $15 million in personal property and $13.5 million in security investments, papers show.
    The majority of that vast fortune has been left to Stein's cultural charity, the JKW Foundation, while she also left donations to UCLA, the Jules Stein Eye Institute and the Whitney Museum. 

    Jean Stein who penned biographies for Bobby Kennedy and Edie Sedgwick, was worth a staggering $38.5 million when she committed suicide last month

    Her daughters; noted magazine editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, publisher of The Nation magazine, and Wendy vanden Heuvel, an actress and producer in New York, were left a collection of jewelry including an '18th-century diamond necklace stored in my vault,' books and pictures taken by famed photographer William Eggleston.  
    After their mother's tragic suicide, they had appealed to a judge to grant them permission to search Stein's apartment, which was sealed by the NYPD, to look for 'missing information' related to her estate. 

    She also left behind a treasure trove of celebrity gifts, antique jewelry and high-end art pieces. 
    Stein, who wrote a biography of Robert F. Kennedy, entitled American Journey: The Times of Robert Kennedy, left her interviews, manuscripts and tapes to the John F. Kennedy library.
    Her collection of letters, drawings and signed books from William Faulkner went to the New York Public Library.
    Her will also hinted at her life writing about the rich and famous. 

     Stein, 83, plunged from the 15th story of 10 Gracie Square (circled) on the Upper East Side, in New York on April 30. She landed on an 8th floor balcony of the building next door, at left

    'I give my pair of French mirrors in the shape of butterflies that belonged to Truman Capote to Diane Keaton, if she survives me,' Stein wrote in the 2015 will, filed in Manhattan Surrogate's Court. 
    Her granddaughter Lila Blue Coley, was given her Steinway piano, and her other granddaughter Nicola Cohen, was bequeathed a piece by the sculptor Ed Kienholz titled 'Kitchen Sink.'
    Stein's literary agent Bill Clegg also got an Eggleston shot, this time of the author at her desk at her parents' home. 
    It is not clear whether they found what they were looking for.
    Stein, born in Los Angeles to renowned parents. Her father Jules C. Stein was the founder of the Music Corporation of America (MCA), which was once the largest talent agency in the world and took over Universal, and he also founded Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA. Her mother Doris founded the Doris Jones Stein Foundation.
    Her childhood home was a Beverly Hills mansion known as 'Misty Mountain', once occupied by Katharine Hepburn in the 1930s. When Stein's mother died, Rupert Murdoch bought the home, which is now owned by his son James.

    She left the West Coast for school in New York, where she attended Miss Hewitt's now the pricey Manhattan girls private school the Hewitt School.
    She then spent two years at Wellesley College before attending classes at the University of Paris.
    While in Paris she met Nobel Prize laureate William Faulkner during a trip to St Moritz, when she was 19 and he 56, and she later said they had an affair.
    She then interview him and offered the interview in exchange for being made an editor at The Paris Review, according to the historian Joel Williamson.
    She later returned to New York and as an assistant to director Elia Kazan on the original production of Tennessee Williams's Pulitzer Prize winning play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
    Stein went onto write the best-selling book Edie: American Girl based on the life of socialite and Andy Warhol muse Edie Sedgwick, in 1982. A few years previously she wrote the biography of Kennedy. 

    Inside the castle in the sky: Glorida Vanderbilt raised her youngst two sons Anderson, left, and Carter in the same penthouse, seen here in 1976

    More recently, she wrote a cultural and political history of Los Angeles, West of Eden published by Random House in February 2016. 
    Stein was married twice, first to lawyer William vanden Heuvel in 1958,  who worked in the Justice Department under Robert F. Kennedy, and then to Torsten Wiesel, a co-recipient of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, from 1995 to 2007.
    She was unmarried at the time of her death.
    The apartment building from which she had leaped to her death from, was once home to heiress Gloria Vanderbilt and was where her son Carter Vanderbilt Cooper — the brother of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper — jumped to his death from in 1988. 
    Carter, who was two years older than Anderson, was 23 when he fell to his death in July 1988 as his mother tried to stop him.
    Gloria recounted in a memoir how Carter woke up from a late afternoon nap, appeared in the doorway of her room, asking repeatedly 'what's going on?', then sprinted upstairs to the roof terrace. Gloria watched as sat on the parapet then swung over the edge, letting go after a few seconds.
    Gloria then sold the duplex penthouse to Stein.
    The prestigious limestone building was completed in 1930, when residents could moor their boats outside. It has been home to old New York families from Whitney to Mellons, as well as Madame Chiang Kai-shek.
    And later Stein, an heiress to a Beverly Hills showbiz fortune who made a name for herself in Manhattan. 
    A doorman at Stein's building described her as a very nice person. 





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