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Leona Helmsley, Queen Of Mean, Takes Long Overdue Dirt Nap. 21.Aug.2007

If you think that's harsh, it's only because you don't know Leona. Anna Wintour has nothing on Leona - she wrote the book on dastardly bitch. Don't let that smile fool youLeona was the self-proclaimed queen of the Helmsley Palace, one of New York's premier hotels. It was (and still is) extremely swanky, and she helped make it what it is today. Unfortunately, she trampled the bodies of many to get there.

Leona and Harry lived in the penthouse suite at the Palace, an opulent abode that included its own indoor pool, where Leona would do her daily laps. Her motivation? A hotel employee crouched poolside with a platter of jumbo shrimp, which he would feed to her one by one as she finished each lap. If any cocktail sauce dribbled on the platter, the whole thing had to be cleaned and restocked, and it had better be done before she finished that lap.

Leona is probably best known for a quote she later denied making: "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes." However, contrary to popular belief, she did not fire people left and right - but that's only because the Helmsley is a union hotel. Those who did manage to toil under her watch without throwing themselves from the roof have told stories of Leona's cold-heartedness toward even her beloved Harry, whom she told, "I have all your money, Harry. You don't have it anymore. I have it," as he lay helpless in his bed after a series of strokes.

New York has lost its very own venemous reptile. Our only blessing is that there are no surviving offspring.