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Evelyn Lauder Obituary

Evelyn Lauder (AP Photo)
NEW YORK (AP) Evelyn Lauder, the daughter-in-law of cosmetics magnate Estee Lauder who helped create the pink ribbon symbol for breast cancer awareness, died Saturday. She was 75.

Lauder died at her Manhattan home from complications of nongenetic ovarian cancer, said Estee Lauder Cos. spokeswoman Alexandra Trower. She had been diagnosed with cancer in 2007.

Lauder worked for more than 50 years for the beauty products giant, holding many positions and helping to develop its lines of skin care, makeup and fragrance. She came up with the name of its popular Clinique brand during the 1960s. Most recently, she held the title of senior corporate vice president.

But she is best known as a powerhouse champion of breast cancer research and for helping to create the pink ribbon campaign in 1992 with Self magazine editor Alexandra Penney. Those ribbons were first distributed at Estee Lauder makeup counters around the country.

In 2005, she told a New York-based cable news channel that when she first began talking about breast cancer, it was "taboo to discuss it."

"If a woman had it, she didn't tell anybody except her close friends," she told NY1.

She raised money to establish the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, which opened in 1992.

Lauder was also the author of a book of photography and "In Great Taste: Fresh, Simple Recipes for Eating and Living Well."

Born Evelyn Hausner in 1936 in Vienna, Austria, she fled Nazi-occupied Europe with her parents; they settled in the U.S. She attended public schools in New York City and Hunter College, part of the City University of New York.

As a college freshman, she met Leonard Lauder, the elder son of Estee Lauder and whose family owned what was then a small cosmetics company.

"We had five products in the line, we only had two or three colors in our lipsticks," she told NY1 in 2005. "It was a baby company."

The young couple married in 1959. Leonard Lauder is now chairman emeritus of the company, whose revenue is $8.81 billion. Estee Lauder died in 2004 at 97.

Leonard and Evelyn Lauder's son William is executive chairman of Estee Lauder Cos. Another son, Gary, is managing director of Lauder Partners LLC, a technology investment firm.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press