Eccentric billionaire gave millions to her nurse

The unusual lives of the millionaires and billionaires

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Peri

Billionaire Haguette Clark was an unusual character. She thoroughly disliked being around other people - and even made her long-term lawyer talk to her through a closed door. Most of her relatives never met her, and she spent the last 20 years of her life in one room in a private hospital in New York City. She stayed in that room for 7,300 nights.

Perhaps her most unexpected move was to give her carer, Hadassah Peri (pictured), millions of pounds.

Her story was reported today, but details first emerged at the end of last year when it became the subject of a new book. Peri was an agency nurse, assigned to look after Clark. The pair bonded over many hours spent together in her hospital room, as Peri looked after her for 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

The truth about Clark's multi-millions emerged as the two became friends, and while she was alive she made some impressively generous gifts. It started with practical help - paying for medical help and tuition for Peri's family - and bailing them out when they had a surprise tax bill.

Over time she became more generous, buying Peri houses, a Bentley and offering her family a Cezanne painting and an antique violin. She eventually sold the last two items and gave her the money after Peri admitted she didn't have much use for either. In total she gave her £18 million of gifts over 20 years.

When she died in 2011, she gave Peri another £8.75 million in her will. Unfortunately her relatives objected to this generosity and launched a legal challenge to the will. The Daily Mail reported that they settled in September last year, when she agreed to give up the money she was left in the will and return £3 million of the gifts.

In the end the remainder of her fortune went to her relatives - most of whom had never met her.

Unusual tales of the mega-wealthy

It's a strange tale of the unusual things that the mega-wealthy have done, but there is no shortage of those. Here are five of our favourites:

1. We reported in January on the Chinese millionaire who inherited a property fortune, but still works as a street sweeper. She says she doesn't want to get lazy or set a bad example to her children.

2. Leona Helmsley, known as the Queen of Mean' decided to cut most of her family out of her will - and left millions to her dog, Trouble, instead. She originally tried to leave it $12 million, but a judge cut this to $2 million.

3. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is a fan of gold - so much so that he has had much of the contents of his private jet gold-plated - including the hand basins and the furniture.

4. Robert Clark Graham, a millionaire optometrist who invented shatter-proof lenses, spent his money in a truly odd way. In 1980 he opened the 'Repository for Germinal Choice', a sperm bank for exceptional people - which he hoped would create a master-race of super-geniuses. He died in 1997 at the age of 90 and the Repository closed soon after.

5. When Portuguese aristocrat, Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral da Camara, died in 2007, 70 strangers were informed that they had inherited money from him. He had picked their names at random from a telephone directory 13 years earlier.