Out of nowhere, or Monaco, comes the sad news that Barbara Piasecka Johnson, who was the maid to and then third wife of J. Seward Johnson I (born 1895!), has now died, far too young at the age of 76.
Ms. Johnson was busy until late out-surviving the six children of her husband from his first two marriages. Upon his death, in 1983, the Johnson and Johnson heir left all his money — $402,824,971.59 — to her instead of them. They sued; the courts gave them 12% of their dad’s inheritance (they all had trust funds anyway! It was just spite!) and everyone moved on happily ever after, rich as fourteen Bush families in a crockpot.
In any event, it looks like a number of the kids, who weren’t that much older from their Polish stepmother, have survived her. The artist J. S. Johnson II — Michael Douglas’ first cousin, never forget! — lives on; he is around 83.
I have mislaid my Johnson family tree. But I did just notice the other day that Ms. Johnson’s husband’s grandson, young Jamie Johnson, recently had a new project, called “Black Sweater” (they make good sweaters, which I suppose is a reasonable transition from making documentaries), but it is now no longer carried on the shelves at Bergdorf Goodman. Hmm.
Bless you, Barbara Johnson, embodiment of the American dream.