Lee Radziwill Remembered for 'Beauty, Intelligence, Style' After Dying at 85

Lee Radziwill, the style icon and younger sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, reportedly died on Friday at the age of 85

Photo: Harry Benson/Express/Getty Images

Lee Radziwill’s legacy is being celebrated in the wake of her death.

Radziwill — the younger sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and mother-in-law of Real Housewives of New York alum Carole Radziwill — died on Friday in New York City, her daughter Anna Christina Radziwill told the New York Times. She was 85.

Radziwill lived a storied life, befriending some of the greatest and most stylish artists of her time. She counted ballet star Rudolf Nureyev, author Truman Capote, conductor Leonard Bernstein and Andy Warhol among her closest friends, and she was continually on the world’s best-dressed lists for her streamlined jet-set style.

As news of her death became public on Saturday, Radziwill’s family and friends, as well as members of the fashion industry, paid tribute.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the nephew of President John F. Kennedy, who married Radziwill’s sister in 1953, posted on Instagram, “Goodbye, Lee.” He added the dates of her life: “Lee Radziwill, March 3, 1933 – February 15, 2019.”


Fashion designers from Valentino to Giorgio Armani also paid their respects to the late style icon.

“RIP to the elegant #LeeRadziwill, now reunited with her sister Jackie Onassis,” Valentino wrote on Instagram on Saturday, sharing a photo of Radziwill with her sister.

“It’s a natural end of a marvelous life. She had everything a woman can desire… beauty, intelligence, style, fame… I am sure she had moments of happiness, too,” he added to WWD.

Radziwill once worked as a public relations executive for Armani, who recalled to WWD, “She was an extremely elegant woman. When I met her in the early ’80s, I had the impression that she represented a very contemporary irony about American aristocracy, which is almost impossible to define. It is one that combined ease and sophistication, spontaneity and respect for the rules.”

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“We have collaborated for a long period, choosing together those personalities who were able to represent the Armani style on the Hollywood stage,” he added, referencing her work for the fashion house. “She was very intuitive and well-respected. Maybe that was because looking at her it was impossible not to see in her fragments of the American history.”

Valentino brand ambassador Carlos Souza also paid tribute to Radziwill, captioning a photo of the sisters, “VERY ELEGANT SISTERS REUNITED, RIP LEE.” He added, “#ENDOFANERA.”

Designer Tory Burch, who once named a handbag after Radziwill, tweeted, “We are heartbroken and I will miss our dear friend. Rest In Peace, Lee Radziwill.”

“I’m sure everyone is saying this, but it’s the truth: Lee was one of a kind,” Andrew Saffir, founder of Cinema Society, told WWD. “There will never be anyone like her. Not only was she famously elegant and stylish, one of the world’s greatest style icons ever, but she was also razor-sharp. She read the papers every day, pored over every magazine, saw every play and every movie, and was up on all things current, more so than people half her age.”

“There will never be anyone like her, and as cliched as it may sound, it really does feel like the end of an era,” he continued. “We’ve lost one of the great style icons, a woman who radiated elegance and grace like no other, while remaining absolutely whip smart, right up until the end.”

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