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'Queen of Mean' Helmsley dies at 87

Leona Helmsley definitely earned the moniker Queen of Mean. The hotelier landed on the cover of NY tabloids for her mistreatment of employees and grand lifestyle.  (WABC):

Leona Helmsley, the hotelier who went to prison as a tax cheat and was reviled as the “queen of mean,” has died.

…Helmsley helped her husband, Harry, run a $5 billion real estate empire that included managing the Empire State Building.

Back in 1989 she was tried on tax evasion charges in a sensational trial that included testimony from disgruntled employees who said she terrorized all those around her at her homes and hotels.

But what really sealed her image was when a housekeeper testified to hearing Helmsley say: “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.”

Helmsley denied having said it, but those words followed her the rest of her life.

You have to watch Suzanne Pleshette (love her gravely voice!) in this clip as Leona in the TV movie “The Queen of Mean”, screeching about water droplets on her lettuce in a “no more wire hangers, ever!” moment.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding