John Jacob Astor VI
Johnastor5 madeleines3.jpg
Born August 14, 1912(1912-08-14)
New York City, U.S.
Died June 26, 1992(1992-06-26) (aged 79)
Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.
Religion Episcopalian
Spouse Ellen Tuck French
Gertrude Gretsch
Dolores Margaret Fullman
Sue Sandford
Children William Backhouse Astor III
Mary Jacqueline Astor
Parents John Jacob Astor IV
Madeleine Talmage Force
Relatives Alice Astor (half-sister)
Vincent Astor (half-brother)
William Karl Dick, Jr. (half-brother)
John Henry Dick (half-brother)

John Jacob Astor VI (August 14, 1912 – June 26, 1992), known familiarly as "Jakey", was a member of the Astor family. He was born four months after his father, John Jacob Astor IV, died in the sinking of RMS Titanic.

Early lifeEdit

Astor's parents had married on September 9, 1911 and were returning home aboard the Titanic after about three months of honeymooning in Egypt and Europe. Madeleine Astor was five months pregnant when her husband put her in one of Titanic's lifeboats. She was rescued eight hours after her husband went down with the ship. The younger Astor is by some considered a Titanic survivor, albeit in utero.

Under the terms of her husband's will, Madeleine Astor received relatively little from an estate estimated to be as much as $100 million. Provided she did not remarry, the 19-year-old widow received the annual investment income from a five-million-dollar trust fund and the use of her late husband's homes on Fifth Avenue in New York City and in Newport, Rhode Island. No specific provision for the unborn child had yet been made, but a clause of his father's will provided that any surviving child other than his son Vincent and his daughter Ava would receive a bequest of $3 million, to be held in trust until the child reached age 21.[1] This amount eventually went to the younger Astor on his 21st birthday.

His stepfathers were William K. Dick and Enzo Fiermonte.[2]

John Jacob Astor VI graduated from St. George's School in Newport, Rhode Island.


Astor was originally engaged to Eileen S.S. Gillespie, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Lewis Gillespie of New York City and Newport, Rhode Island in December 1933.[3] However, she broke off the engagement two days before the wedding; reportedly, "She felt that he had grown up lonely ... He was a bit eccentric, and she felt he wasn’t mature enough to get married."[4]

He married Ellen Tuck French at Trinity Church in Newport, Rhode Island on June 30, 1934.[2] The couple was divorced in 1943; they had one child, William Astor.[5]

Astor then married Gertrude Gretsch, daughter of Walter Gretsch, in New York City on September 18, 1944.[6] The couple had a daughter, Mary Jacqueline (born 1949), but their marriage ended in divorce in 1954, though the Mexican divorce was ruled invalid in 1956. An American divorce soon followed.[7] Gertrude Astor remarried, in 1961, to Sonio Coletti-Perucca.

He married a third time to Dolores Margaret Fullman (born 1929) on 6 August 1954 but they separated soon after returning from their honeymoon and divorced.[8][9]

His fourth wife was Sue Sandford; she predeceased him, circa 1989.

John Jacob Astor VI had one son from the 1st, and one daughter from the 2nd marriage:

  • William Astor (born 1935), married Charlotte Fisk. They had 2 children: William Backhouse Astor IV (born 1959) and G. Todd Astor (born 1966), who has three children: Alexandra Astor, Rebecca Astor and Stephen Astor. William Astor died on September 24, 2008.
  • Jacqueline Astor (born 1949), married in 1984 to John R Drexel IV (born 1945) and they had one son, Nicholas.[10]


John Jacob Astor VI died in Miami Beach, Florida in 1992 at the age of 79. His body was returned to New York for burial with his parents in the Trinity Church Cemetery.[11]

Name confusionEdit

Some sources number him as John Jacob Astor V or as John Jacob Astor VI. John Jacob Astor, 1st Baron Astor of Hever (born 1886) was born first and should be John Jacob Astor V. Sir John Jacob Astor (born 1918), youngest brother of David Astor, is John Jacob Astor VII, and the 3rd Baron Astor of Hever is John Jacob Astor VIII. John Jacob Astor V is also sometimes referred to as John Jacob Astor III.

References in popular cultureEdit

Astor's name is shown on one of the page buttons on an apartment building in Mel Brooks' 2005 movie musical The Producers.



  1. "Son for Mrs. Astor; Named for Father." (PDF). New York Times. August 15, 1912. Retrieved December 26, 2009. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Mother Of Astor To Attend Bridal. Despite Illness, Mrs. Fiermonte Goes Alone to Newport for Marriage to Miss French. Former Husband A Guest. W. K. Dick to Be in Trinity Church Today. Rehearsal for the Ceremony Takes Place.". New York Times. June 30, 1934. Retrieved 2009-02-16. "Mrs. Enzo Fiermonte, despite her illness arrived late today at Chetwode, the home of her son, John Jacob Astor 3d, and will be present in Protestant Episcopal ..." 
  3. "John Jacob Astor To Wed Debutante. His Engagement to Miss Eileen S. S. Gillespie Announced by Her Parents. Came Of Age In August. Fiancee, Noted in Newport as a Tennis Player, Is From an Old American Family.". New York Times. December 16, 1933. Retrieved 2009-02-16. "Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Lewis Gillespie of this city and Newport, R. I., have announced the engagement of their eldest daughter, Miss Eileen S. S. Gillespie, to John Jacob Astor, younger son of the late Colonel John Jacob Astor, who was lost on the Titanic. The engagement is of wide interest not only in this country but in Europe as well. Miss Gillespie is a niece of Lady Camoys of London, England. The ancestors of both Miss Gillespie and Mr. Astor figured prominently in the early history of this country. She has the distinction of being the first debutante of this season to announce her engagement." 
  4. Bruce Weber (writer) (August 1, 2008). "Eileen G. Slocum, 92, Dies. Society Doyenne and Republican Stalwart". New York Times. Retrieved April 2, 2010. "Eileen G. Slocum, a doyenne of Newport, R.I., society who was a stalwart of the Republican Party both in Rhode Island and nationally and whose family history is dotted with connections to the most moneyed and powerful of the American aristocracy, died on Sunday in Newport. She was 92. ..." 
  5. "Mrs. John Jacob Astor 3d In Reno to Seek Divorce". New York Times. April 9, 1943. Retrieved 2009-02-16. "Residence has been established in Reno by Mrs. John Jacob Astor 3d, the former Miss Ellen Tuck French, preparatory to beginning a divorce action, according to a statement made yesterday at Mr. Astor's office, 30 Rockefeller Plaza. They have been separated for several years." 
  6. "J. J. Astor Marries Gertrude Gretsch. Son of the Late Colonel John Jacob Astor Weds Alumna of Finch at Her Home". New York Times. September 19, 1944. Retrieved 2009-02-16. "... of the Late Colonel John Jacob Astor Weds Alumna of Finch at Her Home The ... Mr. Astor is the son of the late CoL John Jacob Astor, who lost his life ..." 
  7. "Astor Seeking Dovorce. John J. Files Suit in Mexico Against Second Wife". New York Times. July 3, 1954. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  8. "John Jacob Astor Ousted from Social Register", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 27 November 1954
  9. "Married". Time magazine. August 16, 1954.,9171,820052,00.html?iid=digg_share. Retrieved 2009-08-10. "John Jacob Astor III, 42, whose fortune, inherited from his great-great-grandfather, is estimated at $70 million; and Dolores Margaret ("Dolly") Fullman, 26, blonde Miami divorcee; he for the third time, she for the second; in Arlington, Va." 
  10. Person Page 12670. (n.d.). Retrieved April 9, 2012, from
  11. "John J. Astor 5th, 79. Son of Builder of Hotel". New York Times. June 27, 1992. Retrieved 2009-08-10. "John Jacob Astor 5th, a descendant of one of America's most fabled merchant princes, died yesterday at his home in Miami Beach. He was 79 years old. His death was reported by two of his cousins, R. Thornton Wilson, and Stephen Spencer, who said they did not know the cause. Mr. Astor was born in New York in August 1912. His father was John Jacob Astor 4th, a businessman and inventor, who built the Astoria Hotel in New York City that was later combined with the hotel next door to become the Waldorf-Astoria. His mother was the former Madeline Talmage Force of New York City. She was pregnant with him when she and her husband sailed on the Titanic. ..." 

External linksEdit

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