Lucy Doheny Battson, 100; Family Made Fortune in Oil


Lucy Smith Doheny Battson, reigning matriarch of Southern California’s pioneering, petroleum-wealthy Doheny family, has died at the age of 100.

Mrs. Battson died Friday at her home in Los Angeles.

The former Lucy Smith of Pasadena was married in 1914 to Edward Laurence Doheny Jr., only child of Edward L. Doheny, who struck oil in Southern California and in Mexico. The couple had five children, Lucy, now of Washington, Edward III of Honolulu and William, Patrick and Timothy of Beverly Hills.

The young Dohenys built the legendary Greystone mansion next to the former Doheny Ranch in Beverly Hills. The Tudor-style estate, with garages, stables, kennels, service buildings, swimming pool, two tennis courts and English- and Italian-style gardens cost $3.1 million in 1928, excluding the 19 acres of land.


The mansion, which required a household staff of 15 and a grounds crew of 20, was designed by architect Gordon Kaufmann.

Mrs. Battson lived in Greystone for 26 years. But in 1954, she sold the 410-acre Doheny Ranch to Paul Trousdale, who developed it into Trousdale Estates. She built a smaller mansion nearby and sold Greystone in 1955 to a Chicago industrialist for $1.5 million. The estate became a Beverly Hills city park in 1965, and the American Film Institute occupied the house from 1969 to 1982.

Mrs. Battson’s first husband, known as Ned Doheny, lived in the house less than a year before he was fatally shot by his secretary on Feb. 16, 1929. The secretary then killed himself. The young widow served as administrator of Doheny’s estate of about $14 million in stock in the Petroleum Securities Corp.

Three years later, she married Leigh M. Battson, a San Francisco and Los Angeles financier.

Mrs. Battson was a founding member and several-term president of the Junior League of Los Angeles, and during World War II was a leader in Naval Aid. She was active in the Los Angeles and Eldorado Country Clubs.

In addition to her children, Mrs. Battson is survived by 14 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.


Services will be private. The family has asked that any memorial contributions be made to the Edward Laurence Doheny Jr. Memorial Library at USC.