Top Ten American Hero Barbara Johnson Goes To Her Next Big Reward

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.