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Lee Radziwill, younger sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, is dead at 85

The socialite and style icon was born Caroline Lee Bouvier.
Lee Radziwill
Princess Lee Radziwill was born Caroline Lee Bouvier. She is pictured here in a photo from June 1967.Reg Burkett / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Lee Radziwill, the younger sister of former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and mother-in-law of "Real Housewives of New York City" alum Carole Radziwill, has died at age 85.

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The American socialite, born Caroline Lee Bouvier, worked briefly as an actress (promoted by her friend Truman Capote), an interior designer and most successfully, as a brand ambassador and public relations executive for Giorgio Armani, according to Women's Wear Daily.

The slender and elegant Radziwill was a fixture on the New York social scene in the 1960s and 1970s and attended Capote's famous Black and White Ball dressed in a silver and white sparkly column dress, one of her signature style choices.

Lee Radziwill
American novelist Truman Capote dancing with Lee Radziwill at his Black and White Ball at the Plaza Hotel in November 1966.Harry Benson / Getty Images

Her purchases in New York and Paris were closely followed and reported by the fashion press and she reportedly snuck Givenchy into the White House for her sister during a time when it was verboten to wear anything but American designers.

Lee Radziwill
Jacqueline Bouvier (later Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis), seated, with her sister Caroline Lee Bouvier (later Lee Radziwill), standing behind her, wearing ball gowns.Cecil Beaton

The daughter of Janet Norton Lee and John Vernou "Black Jack" Bouvier III, she was considered "the pretty one" next to her older sister Jackie and quickly became a style icon among the jet set. She was married three times: first to Michael Canfield, in a marriage that was annulled, next to real estate developer and aristocrat, Prince Stanislas "Stas" Radziwill, with whom she had two children, Anthony and Anna Christina, and finally to director Herb Ross. Her second and third marriages both ended in divorce, and her son died of cancer in 1999, shortly after the death of her nephew, John F. Kennedy Jr., in a plane crash.

Designers and those in the fashion world paid tribute to the style icon, including Tory Burch who tweeted: "We are heartbroken and I will miss our dear friend. Rest in Peace, Lee Radziwill."

In the accompanying photo, which was featured in T Magazine, Radziwill is pictured in her Paris apartment, but she also kept a home in New York City, where she passed away on Friday.

Radziwill will be remembered as a fashionable, witty and elegant woman who embodied the fashion-forward excitement of her era.