"It won't exist," Astor said. "It goes with me. Do you think that's selfish? It's all going to be given away. I mean it's not going to be ... you see my son, he's not an Astor."
Not an Astor. It's a phrase that Brooke Astor would often repeat about her son, Anthony Marshall. In 1997 she closed the Vincent Astor Foundation rather than giving it Marshall.
"She kind of dangled it in front of him for many years and, then, ultimately decided that he was not an Astor," Gordon said. "This was an Astor Foundation, and she didn't want to hand it over to him."
Although Marshall had distinguished himself in many ways -- fighting at Iwo Jima, becoming a CIA officer, ambassador, author, Broadway theater producer and businessman, who for years managed his mother's personal fortune -- he was never really part of Astor's social circle.
"He was her son, she loved him, but I don't think she found his company exciting," Walters of ABC News said when asked about their relationship.
Aside from the foundation, Astor still had a personal fortune worth tens of millions of dollars. But, according to her will, she also wanted most of that money to go to charity.
"As the money was made in New York City, I wanted to give it all back to New York City and I have given it practically all," she told Walters during an interview on "Nightline." "I just have a little bit left to still give and leave in my will."
Astor was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in December 2000. In March 2002, at her 100th birthday party, she told Lord William Astor, her distant cousin, that she was afraid she wouldn't remember anyone's name.
"She could stand up and perform, which she did, and she was great," he told ABC News. "But she, it was a real effort."
In her final years, she was plagued by confusion and disorientation that left her vulnerable to the alleged deception that brought the family to criminal court in a trial that lasted six months and left her son facing prison charges.
ABC News' Eric Strauss contributed to this report.