Astor's story began with his parents' fateful voyage on the Titanic in 1912. His father John Jacob Astor IV, one of the richest men in America, perished when the ship sank. Astor's mother Madeleine, five months pregnant at the time, courageously survived. She gave birth to John four months later, earning him the nickname "The Titanic Baby."
Raised in luxury at the family's Newport mansion, Astor VI grew determined to create his own legacy beyond just his inheritance. He graduated top of his class from St. George's School and went on to Harvard. Though known as a handsome playboy in his youth, he worked hard to build on the Astor fortune through savvy business deals.
Astor VI's life was not without personal struggles. He endured messy public lawsuits against his elder half-brother over their father's inheritance. He also went through multiple failed marriages to prominent socialites like Ellen Tuck French before finding some stability with his fourth wife Sue Sandford.
Beyond the boardroom and gossip columns, Astor VI was a patron of the arts and sciences, generously donating to museums and institutions. He provided housing for wartime veterans and single mothers. Though the press fixated on his wealth and romances, Astor devoted much of his life to philanthropy.
When Astor VI died in 1992, he left behind a legacy of business acumen, personal resilience and charitable giving. His fascinating life story embodied both the extravagance and industriousness of the iconic Astor name. Through perseverance and ingenuity, the man known as the "Titanic Baby" charted his own course and left his own mark on the world.