Philanthropist. Born in New York City, she was the only child of James Buchanan Duke, a founder of the American Tobacco Company and Duke Energy Company and his second wife Nanaline Holt Inman. Duke died in 1925 a few weeks short of Doris’ thirteenth birthday. His will left approximately half of his estate to the Duke Endowment with the remainder, estimated at around $80 million, to Doris. She was brought up in a townhouse at the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 87th Street by her mother. Doris was eventually forced to sue her mother for her inheritance. The legal fight brought Doris into the stewardship of her fortune very young. Doris founded her first foundation, Independent Aid, at the age of 21. In 1935 at age 22, Doris Duke married James Cromwell and embarked on a honeymoon tour of the world. They had one child, Arden, who died shortly after birth in 1940. Her marriage to Cromwell ended in 1943. In 1947, while in Paris, she became the third wife of Porfirio Rubirosa, a diplomat from the Dominican Republic and a notorious playboy. After her second marriage ended she never wed again. Doris created foundations and provided substantial monetary gifts to nonprofit organizations supporting the arts including jazz music, Islamic and Southeast Asian art and jewelry, the environment including wildlife preservation and orchid and other hybrid plant cultivation, medical research including various clinical research programs, child abuse prevention, and historic preservation. During her lifetime it is estimated that Doris Duke gave away $400 million to charitable organizations. At the age of 80, following a series of debilitating strokes, Doris died in 1993. She left virtually all of her estimated $1.3 billion estate, including her various homes, to the Doris Duke Foundation to continue with charitable works.
Bio by: Iola