Evelyn Lauder, who with her husband Leonard helped build the Estee Lauder Companies into a global cosmetics giant, has died at the age of 75, the company announced.
The New York firm said Evelyn Lauder, who also helped created the “pink ribbon” symbolizing the battle against breast cancer, died Saturday at the age of 75 from complications of non-genetic ovarian cancer.
“My mother carried the torch of our company heritage and the values that were passed to her by my grandmother, Mrs. Estee Lauder,” said William Lauder, her son.
“My mother and father were life partners as well as business partners. They nurtured the culture and growth of the Estee Lauder Companies, and as we grew, my mother was our creative compass and pillar of strength. Together my family and the company celebrate the beautiful person she was.”
Evelyn Lauder was born in Vienna, Austria, and came to New York when her parents fled from Europe with her during the Nazi occupation.
She graduated from New York City public schools and from Hunter College, part of the City University of New York. After receiving her college degree, she was a public school teacher in New York City for several years.
In college she met Leonard Lauder, the older son of Estee and Joseph Lauder, owners of a small family cosmetics company, and they married in 1959. That same year she joined the family business.
She had many roles including serving as new product director and marketing director. She also measured color standards in makeup, sold products in stores, and made numerous personal appearances.
Evelyn Lauder also worked for a number of philanthropic causes in health and human services, education and inner-city schools, the environment, women’s causes, and the arts and in 1992, co-created the Pink Ribbon, now recognized as the worldwide symbol of the fight against breast cancer.