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Doris Duke Adopts 35-Year-Old Conservationist

November 12, 1988 GMT

SOMERVILLE, N.J. (AP) _ Reclusive multimillionaire Doris Duke has adopted a 35-year-old conservationist as a daughter, her lawyer said Friday.

Miss Duke, 75, adopted Chandi Hefner, who owns ″extensive property in Hawaii,″ and has been living with her for three years, attorney Donald A. Robinson said.

Miss Duke lives in a walled 2,700-acre estate in Hillsborough, and rarely attracted publicity in recent years until she posted bail for former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos a week ago. She flew Mrs. Marcos from Hawaii to New York in her lavish private jet to face federal racketeering charges.


The adoption proceeding took place Thursday before state Judge Wilfred Diana and went into effect immediately.

Robinson described Miss Hefner, a native of Maryland, as an ″environmentalis t, preservationist and conservationist″ who spends her time ″doing things as a good citizen as Miss Duke does.″

He said the two women met socially in Hawaii and New York, where Miss Duke also maintains homes.

He said Miss Hefner had been ″estranged from her family for a number of years.″ Miss Hefner has never been married and has no children, he said.

Robinson would not comment on whether the adoption meant Miss Hefner would be the heiress of Miss Duke, who has been married twice and has no other children.

The daughter of James B. Duke, the tobacco and electric power magnate and the benefactor of Duke University, Miss Duke’s wealth is estimated by Forbes magazine at $800 million and by her former business manager at $2.5 billion.

″This was an adoption on both sides of love, deep affection, respect, companionship and common interest,″ he said. ″It has nothing to do whatsoever with economic advantage.

″Miss Hefner in no way needs any economic advantage,″ he said, adding that she owns a 300-acre horse ranch among other property.

In joint court documents filed by Miss Duke and Miss Hefner and read by Robinson over the telephone, Miss Hefner said: ″This adoption will enable me to work with Doris to continue my participation in the kind of fulfilling and intimate relationship that only a daughter and her legal mother can enjoy.″

Miss Hefner is not related to Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy Enterprises, a spokesman at the company told The Courier-News of Bridgewater.