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Thomas Carroll, Prudential Auditor Who Romanced Star, Dies at 72

Thomas Carroll
Thomas Carroll, who retired in June after 15 years as chief auditor at Prudential Financial Inc. and had a brush with celebrity through his 14-year relationship with actress Stefanie Powers, has died. He was 72. Source: Prudential Financial via Bloomberg

Thomas Carroll, who announced his retirement in June as chief auditor at Prudential Financial Inc. and had a brush with celebrity through his 14-year relationship with actress Stefanie Powers, has died. He was 72.

He died on Aug. 12, according to a notice on the website of Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel in New York. No details were provided.

In 2001, during Carroll’s 15-year tenure as chief auditor and senior vice president, Newark, New Jersey-based Prudential became a public company following 125 years of ownership by policyholders.

He “was instrumental in supporting the demutualization of Prudential and ensuring that we manage our company in a manner consistent with what our customers and shareholders expect,” Vice Chairman Mark Grier said in the announcement of Carroll’s retirement. Prudential is the second-largest U.S. life insurer by assets behind MetLife Inc.

Carroll joined Prudential in 1999 from Bankers Trust Co., where he had been general auditor, managing director and partner. He was global chief auditor and a managing director at Credit Suisse First Boston from 1991 to 1996. He began his career in 1965 at the accounting firm that today is KPMG LLP, according to a news release announcing his move to Prudential.

Manhattan Meeting

It was in 2000 that he met Powers at a benefit concert held at an apartment on New York’s West Side where she was among the singers who performed, according to her 2010 memoir, “One From the Hart.” Powers, a television star since the 1960s, is best known for “Hart to Hart,” which aired from 1979 to 1984. In it, she and actor Robert Wagner portrayed glamorously wealthy husband-and-wife amateur detectives.

The host of the 2000 benefit fixed her up with Carroll, who was attending as chairman of the building’s board.

When they met at the apartment door, “I think I saw his smile before I saw his face,” she wrote. “It was a very attractive smile, and it belonged to a very attractive face. He was the all-American boy, healthy, fit, a Notre Dame Irishman. Clear-eyed, and unattached, he looked like a movie star in his suit and tie.”

They made a date to go sailing the following day.

Twice married and divorced, Powers said she initially resisted becoming involved again. But, she added, “There is an abiding decency in Tom that makes him a rare and special person.”

Kenya Charity

Carroll became a director of the foundation that Powers founded to honor William Holden, the Academy Award-winning actor who was her romantic partner until his death in 1981. The William Holden Wildlife Foundation, based in Beverly Hills, California, raises money to support a conservation and education center in Kenya, where Holden created a safari club in 1959.

A 2009 article in Prudential’s employee newsletter described how Carroll created a pen-pal program connecting students at Alexander Street School in Newark and Guara Primary School in Nanyuki, Kenya.

“I wanted to help inner-city students here learn more about the world and the environment directly from kids their age,” Carroll was quoted as saying.

Thomas Joseph Carroll was born on Aug. 30, 1941. His parents were Patrick Carroll and the former Mary Jennings, according to a 2012 death notice for his sister, Patricia Carroll Hayden.

He graduated from the University of Notre Dame and was an officer in the U.S. Navy.

According to the funeral home statement, he was a member of the New York Yacht Club and the Larchmont Yacht Club. His sailboat, the Siren Song, was the top IRC boat on Long Island Sound, Sailing World reported in 2011. He ran the New York City Marathon nine times, once finishing in less than four hours, according to the notice.

In addition to Powers, survivors include a son, Tom Carroll Jr.; a daughter, Cathy Locabucci; and three grandchildren.

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