Our Crowd

R.I.P. Elizabeth Ross “Libet” Johnson (1950-2017)

by Michael Gross Photographed by Patrick McMullan/PMc
Monday, June 5, 2017
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Libet Johnson with Frédéric Fekkai

Elizabeth “Libet” Johnson, 66, the Johnson & Johnson heiress, one of New York’s wealthiest women, and a high life fixture since the 1970s, died this weekend after a long period of seclusion. The cause of death was complications from Alzheimer’s Disease, several sources tell AVENUE.

Johnson married five times, dated many famous men, including the singer Michael Bolton and hair-dresser-turned-brand Frédéric Fekkai, and had four children.

Her grandfather was Robert Wood Johnson II, president and chairman of Johnson & Johnson. Her father, Robert Wood “Bobby” Johnson III, worked for Johnson & Johnson from 1941-1965 and was president of J&J from 1961–1965, until his father fired him. She had four siblings, two of whom pre-deceased her. In 1975, one brother, Keith, died from a cocaine overdose and another, Billy, was killed in a motorcycle accident. She is survived by her mother, Betty Wold Johnson, an older brother, Robert Wood “Woody” Johnson IV, and a younger one, Christopher Wold Johnson.

The three living siblings are, the New York Times has reported, “by far the wealthiest of the more than 30 people in the fourth generation of Johnsons.” Woody Johnson is the owner of the New York Jets and has been named President Donald Trump‘s choice for the post of United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom, but has not yet been officially nominated to the post.

Libet’s regular appearances in gossip columns recently gave way to more frequent mentions in real estate pages, as she listed several of the many luxurious homes she had accumulated over the years, including Millbrook’s Lightning Tree Farm–an 1850 manor house on 618 acres, complete with nine bedrooms, eight-and-a-half bathrooms, a movie theater, a ballroom, an 18 stall stable and riding ring, and several additional buildings–for $28.5 million, and an east side mansion once owned by Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt, for $55 million (it is currently listed as a rental at a hefty $100,000 per month).

A memorial service was held yesterday.


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