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Socialite Brooke Astor Improving in Hospital

Millionaire socialite Brooke Astor, whose well-being is at the center of a legal battle between her son and grandson, has been admitted to a hospital, where her condition is improving, her doctor said.

Dr. Sandra Gelbard, a specialist in internal medicine and critical care at Manhattan's Lenox Hill Hospital, told the Daily News in Thursday's editions that Astor's "condition has improved, and we are hopeful that she is going to go home in the very near future."

Gelbard said the hospital would issue a statement on Thursday. Hospital officials did not immediately return calls Thursday seeking comment.

In court papers filed last week, Astor's grandson, Philip Marshall, accused his father of ignoring the 104-year-old woman's health and safety "while enriching himself with millions of dollars."

"Her bedroom is so cold in the winter that my grandmother is forced to sleep in the TV room in torn nightgowns on a filthy couch that smells, probably from dog urine," Philip Marshall said in an affidavit.

The court papers, first reported Wednesday by the Daily News, seek the removal of 82-year-old Anthony Marshall as his mother's legal guardian and to have him replaced with Annette de la Renta, the wife of Oscar de la Renta, and J.P. Morgan Chase bank.

David Richenthal, who produced three Broadway plays with Anthony Marshall, told The New York Times that the allegations were "the most fabricated bunch of nonsense I've ever read."

Richenthal said Astor's doctors had diagnosed Alzheimer's disease several years ago and her condition has declined. He said Marshall "spends a good deal of his energy taking beautiful care of his mother."

Astor ran the Astor Foundation after the death of her third husband, Vincent Astor, in 1959. He was the great-great-grandson of patriarch John Jacob Astor, who made a fortune in fur trading and real estate and was the wealthiest man in America by 1840.

Brooke Astor gave millions to the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall and the Museum of Natural History. But she also funded smaller projects, such as new windows for a nursing home.