Friday, November 29, 2013
Five-time Tony Award-winning Broadway star Julie Harris died in August at age 87. Friends and former employees are now stirring up some drama over her estate. They claim minor soap-opera actress Francesca Rubino “wormed” her way into Harris’ life, took control over Harris’ medical and business affairs, and kept Harris away from her son, Peter Gurian.
Harris named Rubino co-executor of her estimated $10 million estate. Rubino stands to make up to $200,000 in commissions in addition to the $50,000 she inherited outright and the ten items of Harris’ tangible personal property she is permitted to select. Although Harris left the bulk of her estate to Peter, she included an unusual codicil that says Peter will receive nothing if he were harass Harris or any of her friends. It just so happens that Rubino took out a harassment prevention order against Peter three years ago. Because of this order, Peter had no contact with his mother in the last three years of her life even though he lived right next to her.
Peter claims his mother’s will and codicil were the product of undue influence and that his mother lacked testamentary capacity to make them. Rubino claims these accusations are merely rumors circulated by disgruntled former employees.
See Michael Riedel, Battle of Wills After Julie Harris’ Death, New York Post, Nov. 22, 2013.