A famous heiress and author, who penned biographies of Bobby Kennedy and Edie Sedgwick, leaped to her death from the terrace of her 7,000-square foot Manhattan penthouse on Sunday.
Jean Stein, 83, plunged from the 15th story of 10 Gracie Square on the Upper East Side, in New York at 10.35am.
She landed on the an eighth-floor balcony below and died at the scene.
The apartment 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.’
‘She doesn’t go out too much,’ he told NY Daily News.
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 a biography of Robert F. Kennedy, entitled American Journey: The Times of Robert Kennedy.
Most recently, she wrote a cultural and political history of Los Angeles, West of Eden published by Random House in February 2016.
She also counts Norman Mailer and Joan Didion among her closest friends.
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 is survived by her two daughters; Katrina vanden Heuvel, now the editor and publisher of The Nation magazine and Wendy vanden Heuvel, an actress and producer in New York.
Source: Daily Mail