HELENA – The reclusive 104-year-old daughter of Montana copper king and former Sen. William Clark is staying in a New York hospital, according to a news report.
The whereabouts of Huguette Clark have been a mystery, with even Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer failing to find her this year in an attempt to solicit a donation.
But MSNBC.com reporter Bill Dedman said Thursday that he tracked Clark to an “ordinary” section of a hospital in New York, unexpected for a woman who inherited a fortune in railroads, copper mines, cattle, timber and banks.
“I went there, and it’s drab — patient names written on a board in the hallway. It couldn’t be more ordinary,” Dedman told NBC’s Today show.
Friends said Clark checked herself in to be more comfortable. The network declined to specify the hospital’s location.
“She wasn’t sick,” Dedman said. “She was reclusive. She made Howard Hughes seem outgoing.”
Clark’s mother was 39 years younger than William Clark, who set her up in a mansion on New York City’s Fifth Avenue.
Huguette Clark owns a $100 million mansion overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Santa Barbara, Calif., and an estate in Connecticut. She was married to bank clerk William Gower for two years.
She became reclusive, particularly after the death of her mother, according to her great-half-nephew, Andre Baeyens.
“Everything stopped for her when her mother died,” Baeyens said.
Schweitzer this year had tried to contact Clark to solicit a donation to build a new Montana Historical Society Museum after discovering she was still alive.
“She’s 103 years old, worth billions, and she’s still alive. I’ve been trying to get a hold of her,” Schweitzer said in March. Clark turned 104 in June.
Schweitzer spokeswoman Sarah Elliott said the governor has spoken with Clark’s attorney since then, but has not received an answer to his request.