The beauty industry is mourning the passing of Evelyn Lauder, a pivotal member of the family team that built the Estee Lauder Companies into a leader in the global prestige beauty market. She died at her home in New York City on November 12 at the age of 75, following a long battle with ovarian cancer.
Mrs. Lauder is survived by her beloved family: her husband Leonard Lauder, Chairman Emeritus of the Estee Lauder Companies; son William, Executive Chairman of the Estee Lauder Companies; son Gary, Managing Director of Lauder Partners LLC, and his wife Laura, General Partner of Lauder Partners; and five grandchildren.
Officially, Evelyn Lauder was the Senior Corporate Vice President and Head of Fragrance Development Worldwide, the Estee Lauder Companies, but according to her son William, she was the company’s “creative compass and pillar of strength.”
A remarkable American success story, Mrs. Lauder was born in Vienna, Austria, and fled from Europe with her parents during the Nazi occupation. She joined the Lauder family business after marrying Leonard in 1959. Previously, she had been a New York City public school teacher.
She is credited with many company successes including giving the Clinique brand its name and being the mastermind behind fragrance classics such as Beautiful and Pleasures. She had many roles during her career, including New Product Director and Marketing Director and created the company’s brand training programs.
In addition, Mrs. Lauder is remembered for her tireless work on behalf of raising awareness of women’s health issues, a passion that stemmed from her own experience with early stage breast cancer. In 1992, she co-created the Pink Ribbon, now recognized as the worldwide symbol of breast health. In 1993, she founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) to provide much needed funds to researchers around the world. To date, BCRF (www.bcrfcure.org) has raised more than $350 million and supports 186 researchers globally.
A visionary, a true leader and a guiding light for women’s health issues, Mrs. Lauder will be deeply missed.