Michelle Kung
May 07, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Cosmetics queen Estee Lauder, 97, died of cardiopulmonary arrest April 24 in NYC. Born Josephine Esther Mentzer in Queens, N.Y., the future makeup mogul began her empire selling her uncle’s homemade face creams in the 1930s. She soon expanded her aqua-packaged products to various Fifth Avenue department stores and ultimately into a premier luxury brand that counted Elizabeth Hurley and Carolyn Murphy among its spokesmodels. Lauder, who once noted, ”There are no ugly womenonly women who don’t care or who don’t believe they’re attractive,” was the only woman on Time magazine’s 1998 list of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the century. The consummate saleswoman leaves behind a Fortune 500 company worth $4.7 billion and a legacy of elegant beauty. ”She was a pioneer woman in cosmetics,” says Stila Cosmetics creator Jeanine Lobell. ”If it wasn’t for her, I don’t think I or Bobbi Brown, or any of us, would be here.”

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