Press "Enter" to skip to content

Richmond Connection to HBO’s Succession


The next to last episode of Succession was all about the funeral and interment of patriarch Logan Roy.  The fictional Roy’s mausoleum was a huge marble structure adorned with classical Greek columns and motifs.  It’s an interesting scene, because how can this film crew decorate the exterior — and even go inside — someone’s final resting place?  That’s because this particular mausoleum once belonged to William B. Leeds, but it has been unoccupied since around 2002.  

William Bateman Leeds was a Richmond native who joined with his childhood friend, Daniel Reid, to create a domestic tin plate industry, first in Elwood, Indiana, and ultimately becoming super wealthy along with Reid and his associates after their company was incorporated into United States Steel in 1901.  Leeds suffered a stroke and died in 1908 at the age of 46.  HIs second wife, Nonnie, used some of his riches to erect a magnificent mausoleum in Woodlawn Cemetery, in the Bronx, even today a very swanky location for burial.  Designed by John Russell Pope, who also designed the Jefferson Memorial and the main National Archives building, it is a work of art.  According to the New York Times description in 2009.  “It is fronted by a bas-relief by Adolph A. Weinman, [whose other workings include] the Supreme Court, and the door is a Gorham bronze.  On the eastern wall, a small marine glass window lets in rays of meditative sunlight.  The sarcophagus is of Italian Carrara marble; the lid alone weighs more than 3,000 pounds.”

Leeds was interred in December 1910 and remained the sole occupant for the rest of the century.

William’s first wife was Jeannette Gaar Leeds, whom he divorced in 1900 for a million dollars, an astonishing amount in those days.  The son of that union was Rudolph Leeds, longtime publisher of the Palladium-Item.  Mere days after the divorce he married Nancy (Nonnie) Stewart, also a recent divorcee, and these two had one son, William B. Leeds, Jr.  After William’s death, Nonnie pursued the wealthy lifestyle in Europe, and in 1920 married the exiled Prince Christopher of Greece in Denmark, which came with a title of Princess Anastasia.  William Jr. also married a member of the Greek royal family.  Nonnie died of cancer in 1923, and was buried in her parents’ mausoleum.  William Jr. was only 4 years old when his father died, and had no desire to be buried with him, opting instead to spend eternity in the Virgin Islands. 

William Jr.’s daughter, who was born nearly 20 years after her grandfather’s death, decided to sell the mausoleum.  She had William’s body removed from the marble sarcophagus, transported to Indiana, and buried in the ground next to his parents in Earlham Cemetery. 

His old business partner, Daniel G. Reid, did not build his mausoleum in New York City, but here in the town he always considered his home, ironically just across the road from the Leeds plot. 

The asking price for the mausoleum started at $5 million dollars, which is the price Logan Roy supposedly paid for it.  In reality, the price dropped to a mere $3.5 million, but even at that, it apparently remains empty, better used as a set for a TV show.