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Betsy Bloomingdale (1922 - 2016)

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Betsy Bloomingdale (1922 - 2016)

Betsy Bloomingdale, the widow of department store heir Alfred Bloomingdale and one of former first lady Nancy Reagan's best friends, died July 19, 2016, in Los Angeles, according to multiple news sources. She was 93.

Betsy Bloomingdale was well-known for her philanthropic efforts, hosting many lavish parties for charity. She also was regarded as fashion icon. She dispensed fashion advice to Nancy Reagan, and in 2009 she was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame.

She was born Betty Lee Newling Aug. 2, 1922, in Los Angeles. She married Alfred Bloomingdale in 1946; he was the grandson of department store co-founder Lyman Bloomingdale. Alfred Bloomingdale preceded his wife in death, in 1982.

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In a statement posted on Facebook, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, said it was "saddened by the news" of Bloomingdale's death. The foundation noted the she was "one of Mrs. Reagan's closest friends. … Speaking of that friendship, Mrs. Reagan described President Reagan's first inauguration in her book 'My Turn' writing, "Just before Ronnie appeared, I looked around and caught the eye of my friend Betsy Bloomingdale. She started to cry, and naturally I did too. ... I'll never forget Bets's face at that moment, and I'm sure she'll never forget mine. I know we were both thinking the same thought - that from now on it would never be the same again."

Melissa Rivers, the television host, fellow philanthropist and daughter of the iconic comedian Joan Rivers, also shared her condolences on Facebook.
"RIP Betsy Bloomingdale," Melissa Rivers wrote. "She and my mom shared a friendship for more than 30 years. Mrs. Bloomingdale was one of the true great, style icons. She will be missed. #MelRivers #JoanRivers"

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