Goddard Riverside mourns the passing of longtime supporter Mary Higgins Clark

Author photo of Mary Higgins Clark in a bright red jacket

Mary Higgins Clark is well known as the “Queen of Suspense.” One of the best-selling authors of all time, she wrote dozens of gripping tales that were loved around the world.

At Goddard Riverside, however, she was equally renowned for her generosity. Besides donating to support our programs, Clark was the featured writer at multiple Meet the Author fundraisers. She signed books to draw crowds to the Book Fair and was a regular attendee at our annual gala. In 2017 we presented her with a special award for her longtime support.

Ms. Clark grew up, in her own words, as “a nice Irish Catholic girl from the Bronx.” Her father owned a pub. He died when she was 11, and the family’s finances took a turn for the worse. Young Mary got a job as soon as possible to help support the family. In her 2002 memoir she describes working as a switchboard operator in a downtown hotel at age 16, and walking down Fifth Avenue eyeing “the clothes I would buy when I was a successful writer.”

Later, as the mother of five young children, she was widowed by her husband’s heart condition. She wrote her first hit book at the kitchen table between 5 and 7 am before waking her kids for school. Experiences like these stayed with her even as she went on to live her dream, and shaped a lifetime of giving.

Ms. Clark’s support has enabled us to help thousands of New Yorkers who, like her, work hard every day to achieve their goals. Our hearts go out to her family, and to her fans all over the world.

 Photo: Bernard Vidal/Simon & Schuster