Actress and socialite Lee Radziwill, sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, dead at age 85

February 16, 2019

Actress and socialite Lee Radziwill, sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, dead at age 85

Actress, socialite and fashion icon Lee Radziwill, the stylish younger sister of late First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, has died in her Manhattan home at the age of 85.

No other details were released about the Friday death of the globetrotting Radziwill, whose coterie of friends included Truman Capote, Rudolf Nureyev, Leonard Bernstein and Andy Warhol.

The ever-elegant Radziwill’s fashion sense was best illustrated by her work as an interior decorator and her time spent in a variety of positions working for Giorgio Armani.

“We are heartbroken and I will miss our dear friend,” tweeted fashion designer Tory Burch, an unabashed admirer. “Rest in Peace, Lee Radziwill.”

She was a 1996 inductee to the International Best Dressed Hall of Fame. And Radziwill released two books of photos depicting her world travels, tony homes and famous friends.

“She was the height of elegance, a true icon — an incredibly attractive woman who always adapted to whatever the circumstance,” said Mathilde Favier, public relations director in charge of VIPs at Christian Dior, to WWD.

“She was never overdressed or underdressed . . . She was incredibly elegant and inspiring, and always ahead of her time because she was a fashion visionary. It’s very sad. It’s the end of an era.”

Caroline Lee Radziwill was considered the “the pretty one” and her sister Jackie as “the smart one” as the pair were growing up. In her memoir “Happy Times,” Radziwill recounted her childhood admiration for her older sibling.

With the 1961 arrival of President Kennedy in the White House, Jackie and Lee reigned as the world’s best-known sisters — America’s new “It Girls.”

She was married three times, with her wedding to Polish aristocrat Prince Stanislaw Albrecht Radziwill turning Radziwill into a temporary princess and a mother of two. Their 1959 marriage came between her unions with publishing executive Michael Canfield in 1953 and film director Herbert Ross in 1988.

The first marriage was annulled, and the latter two ended in divorce.

Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy is followed by her sister, Princess Lee Radziwill, as they leave the princess’s London home on June 6, 1961, for a look around London.  (AP Photo)

Her sister Jackie passed away at age 64 in 1994, and her son Anthony died of cancer in 1999 — barely a month after the plane crash death of his cousin John Kennedy Jr.

In a 2013 interview with The New York Times, Radziwill bemoaned the loss of so many people throughout her life.

“When I was young, I used to think that everyone should die at 70,” she said. “But my closest friends, like Rudolf and Andy and to an extent Capote, let along most of my close family, didn’t even reach that age.

“There is something to be said for being older, and memories.”

-- Larry Mcshane, New York Daily News