For the upcoming Father’s day this Sunday, June 21, my blog revisits the swinging 60’s and looks at some of the famous playboys of the time. I’m not suggesting by any means that any of these men were great fathers, but they were men of notoriety and undoubtedly fathered children for better or for worse.
Initially the term ‘playboy’ was used in the eighteenth century for boys who performed in the theatre, and later it appears in the 1828 Oxford Dictionary to characterize a person with money who is out to enjoy himself. By the end of the nineteenth century it also implied the connotations of “gambler” and “musician.” By 1907, in J. M. Synge’s comedy The Playboy of the Western World, the term had acquired the notion of a womanizer.
One of the most powerful men in the Western world was also one of the greatest womanizers. Who knew ( at the time that is )
The term reached its full meaning in the interwar years and early post WWII years. Postwar intercontinental travel allowed playboys to meet at international nightclubs and famous “playgrounds” such as the French Riviera or Palm Beach where they were trailed by papparazzi (immortalized in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita) who supplied the tabloids with material to be fed to an eager audience. Their sexual conquests are rich, beautiful, and famous. In 1953, Hugh Hefner caught the wave and created the Playboy magazine. Here’s our list of famous Playboys of the 60’s!
Porfirio Rubirosa died at the age of 56 crashing his Ferrari into a chestnut tree.
Nickname: “Toujours Prêt” (Always Ready)
Cause Of Death: Crashed his Ferrari 250 GT into a chestnut tree.
Occupation: To Sammy Davis Jr. “Your profession is being an entertainer. Mine is being a playboy.” Also rumored to have been a spy.
Wealth: Married three of the world’s richest women
Notable Women: Dolores del Río, Eartha Kitt, Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Soraya Esfandiary, Peggy Hopkins Joyce, Joan Crawford,
Veronica Lake, Kim Novak, Judy Garland, Eva Peron, Flor de Oro Trujillo Ledesma, Doris Duke, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Barbara Hutton, Danielle Darrieux, Odile Rodin
Passions: Beautiful women, fast cars, polo
Age At Death: 56
Quotation: “Rubirosa was Cary Grant, Errol Flynn, Charles Boyer, Burt Lancaster and Tyrone Power all in one, and I was out on the town with all of them.” – Ertha Kitt
What To Learn From Rubi: If all of Paris refers to 16-inch pepper grinders as your last name, you can marry the richest woman in the world. Three times.
Sachs married Film Star Brigitte Bardot by proposing to her dropping 1000 roses from a helicopter on her home in St. Tropez. They were married 3 years and had no children
Nickname: “Sexy Sachs”
Occupation: Claimed to have never worked a day in his life.
Family: Mother was the daughter of Wilhelm von Opel. Father was Willy Sachs, sole owner of Fichtel & Sachs, a leading manufacturer of ball bearings, who committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.
Notable Women: Soraya Esfandiary, Anne-Marie Faure, Brigitte Bardot, Mirja Larsson
Passions: Photographer, author, industrialist, and latterly head of an institute that researched claims of astrology
Age At Death: 76
Cause Of Death: Suicide
Quotation: “The loss of mental control over my life was an undignified condition, which I decided to counter decisively.” (Sach’s suicide note)
What To Learn From Gunter: Roses won’t necessarily win over a lady like Bridgette Bardot, but a thousand, released over her home from a helicopter, might.
He had three sons from two other different marriages. No word on how their doing.
Gianni Agnelli was named by Men’s magazine ‘Esquire’ as one of the five best dressed men in the history of the world.
Nickname: ”The Rake of the Riviera”
Occupation: CEO, Principal shareholder of Fiat
Wealth: Richest man in modern Italian history. (Controlled 4.4% of Italy’s GDP, 3.1% of its industrial workforce, and 16.5% of its industrial investment in research)
Notable Women: Donna Marella dei principi di Castagneto, Pamela Harriman, Anita Ekberg, Jackie Rogers
Passions: Fashion, sailing, fast cars, skiing, horses
Quotation: ”Miracles can be made, but only by sweating.”
What to learn from Agnelli: Sprezzatura (“making the difficult look easy”). Esquire named Agnelli one of the five best-dressed men in the history of the world. He wore his wristwatch over his cuff, his tie askew and brown hiking boots under a bespoke suit, all of which appeared to be errors, giving the impression he did not care about the way he was dressed.
Francisco Pignateri slept only 4 hours a night and never put anything in writing.
Occupation: Metals, President of Laminação Nacional
Wealth: Heir to one of the richest families in Brazil
Notable Women: Marina Parodi Delfino, Inga Lindgren, Dolores De Rio, Selene Walters, Nelita Alves de Lima, Linda Christian, Soraya, ex-Queen of Iran, Vikki Dougan, Tracey Morgan, Melissa Weston, Jorginho Guinle, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Helen and Ann Merrill, Joanna Moore, Karen von Unge, Barbara Cailleux, Jackie Lane, Lucinda Sherill, Susan Cabot, Miiko Taka, Tina Louise, Princess Ira Von Fuerstenberg, Kathy Bonn, Maria Regina Fernandes
Bold Move: After thoroughly enjoying Andy Russell’s crooning in New York, Francisco “Baby” Pignatari sent him a 155-piece silver and 24-carat gold dinner service set which arrived via plane along with two guards.
Passions: Cabaret crawls, fast cars
Age at Death: 61
What to learn from Baby: “Baby never put anything in writing. He’s the only person I know who gives a girl a diamond bracelet without a card. And he only gets about four hours’ sleep a night.” – Richard Gully, social secretary.
Eccentric Billionaire Howard Hughes. He was a obssesive compulsive ‘germaphobe’. Who can blame him in this world.
Nickname: “The World’s Greatest Womanizer”
Occupation: Business magnate, industrialist, aviator, engineer, film producer, director, hotelier, philanthropist, CEO Trans World Airlines
Notable Women: Billie Dove, Bette Davis, Ava Gardner, Olivia de Havilland, Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Gene Tierney, Joan Fontaine, Jean Peters
Passions: “I don’t think Howard could love anything that did not have a motor in it.” – Gene Tierny
Quotations: “I’m not a paranoid deranged millionaire. Goddammit, I’m a billionaire.”
What to learn from Howard: “Wash four distinct and separate times, using lots of lather each time from individual bars of soap.”
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
American President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. I don’t know that the American public would have been as enamored with him had they known about his insatiable appetite for filandering. There was one thing for sure, JFK’s wife, Jackie knew all about it and was not happy a lady.
Nickname: “Prince of Camelot”
Occupation: Naval Officer, Senator, President of the United States
Wealth: Kennedy estate valued at $1 billion
Notable Women: Judith Campbell, Blaze Starr, Jill Cowan, Pam Turnure, Marilyn Monroe, Gunilla von Post, Mary Pinchot Meyer, Mimi Beardsley Alford
Passions: Diplomacy, Military, Literature
Age at death: 46
Cause of death: Assassinated
Quotation: To UK Prime Minister Harold Macmillan “I wonder how it is for you, Harold? If I don’t have a woman for three days, I get terrible headaches.”
What to learn from Jack: Be a good friend and your friends will lie for you.
Alfonso de Portago
Alfonso de Portago claimed he’d die of old age before he’d ever die in a car crash. He died at age 29, of a racing car crash killing five spectactors along with him.
Nickname: ”The madcap marquis”
Occupation: race car driver
Wealth: heir to the household financial fortune
Family: Father Antonio Cabeza de Vaca died during halftime at a polo match at the age of 28. Irish mother Olga Leighton’s first husband, Francis John Mackey, shot himself while terminally ill. Among his ancestors were an explorer, a governor of madrid and a war hero.
Notable Women: Carroll McDaniel, Dorian Leigh, Linda Christian, Crystal Pretty
Passions: Airplanes, racing horses, racing bobsleighs, sailing, fast cars, skiing
Age of Death: 29
Cause of Death: with forty miles to the finish line at the mille miglia grand prix, Portago blew a tire on his ferrari going 150mph, causing the car to go into the crowd, killing five spectators, then veered back across the canal and caused the deaths of five other onlookers on the right side of the road. Portago’s body was found in two sections.
What to learn from Alfonso de Portago: Wear a seatbelt and go easy on the curve.
Quotations: “All drivers are naturally chasing women around.”
This ‘playboy’ smoked cigarettes and opium almost every day as well as never working a day in his life. He at least appears to love his children.
Nickname: “Dado,” “World Most Handsome Man” ( Not by that photo )
Occupation: When asked why he never worked a day in his life, Ruspoli replied, “I never had time.”
Wealth: Mother was heiress to one of the largest fortunes in Brazil, died when he was 9.
Notable Women: Francesca dei Baroni Blanc, Nancy de Girard de Charbonnières, Debra Berger, Theresa Patricia Genest
Passions: Opium, world culture, poetry
Age of Death: 81
Quotation: ”I am a tree still full of fruit,” he liked to say, “when all around me I see so many withered vines.”
What to learn from Dado: Dado spent much of his life extolling the virtues of smoking tobacco and opium every day while condemning the use of heroin and cigarettes…
Prince Aly Khan
Prince Aly Khan and fabulous Rita Haworth were married in 1949. From all accounts it was a short tumultuous marriage.
Nickname: “The Love Prince”
Occupation: Pakistan’s representative to the UN, vice president of UN General Assembly
Wealth: $800 million
Family: Son of Aga Khan III, the head of the Ismaili Muslims, and the father of Aga Khan IV
Notable Women: Rita Hayworth, Hon. Joan Guinness, British debutante Margaret Whigham, Thelma Viscountess Furness, Pamela Churchill, Gene Tierney, French model Bettina
Passions: Military, diplomacy, horses, fast cars. Owned 900 thoroughbreds at stud farms in Ireland and France
Age at Death: 49
Cause of Death: Crashed his Lancia head-on into an oncoming car en route to a Paris party. Chauffeur, who he’d asked to sit in the back seat, lunged forward upon impact and broke Khan’s neck.
Quotations: On marrying Hon. Joan Guiness: ”I had been involved with several women. I was tired of trouble. Joan was a sane and solid girl, and I thought if I married her, I would stay out of trouble.”
What to learn from Aly: Keep your chauffeur in the driver’s seat.
The beautiful Princess Jasmine Khan, daughter of Rita Hayworth and the Prince Aly Khan. Yasmin cared for her Mother until the day her Mother died of Alzhiemers’. I met her once and we spoke of her famous mother and the heartbraking disease she was suffering from. Yasmine told me she had her Mom staying at her elegant townhouse in Southhampton New York, cared for by nurses and squirrelled away from cameras the public. This chance meeting inspired me to look after my own Mom in my own home until she died of Alzheimers four years ago.
The term ‘In like Flynn’ was derived from this man.
NATIONALITY: Australian & Irish
WEALTH: One of Hollywood’s highest paid stars in the 1930s and ’40s
NOTABLE WOMEN: Lili Damita, Nora Eddington, Patrice Wymore, Beverly Aadland, Nell Gwynne
PASSIONS: Sailing, Drinking, Boxing, Sex
AGE AT DEATH: 50
CAUSE OF DEATH: Heart Attack
QUOTATION: (On deathbed, re: mistress) “Don’t let poor Nelly starve.”
WHAT TO LEARN FROM FLYNN: Beat two statutory rape allegations and the world will adopt a saying with your name. i.e. “In like Flynn.
Jorge Guinle was born into a fabulously weather Brazilian family. Died bankrupt.
OCCUPATION: Hotel and Port Owner. Family built and owned Copacabana Palace Hotel.
WEALTH: Born into what was once Brazil’s richest family. Mission was to spend as much of that fortune as he could, and died bankrupt.
NOTABLE WOMEN: Rita Hayworth, Lana Turner, Veronica Lake, Susan Hayward, Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Kim Novak, Romy Schneider, Hedy Lamarr, Anita Ekberg.
PASSIONS: Author of the book “Jazz Panorama,” and helped finance some of the first bebop recordings in the 1940’s by musicians like Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Max Roach, Thelonius Monk and Oscar Pettiford.
AGE AT DEATH: 88
CAUSE OF DEATH: Aortic aneurysm
WHAT TO LEARN FROM JORGE: Even billions run out sooner or later.
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