October 27, 2010
Throughout his life my friend Porfirio Rubirosa made about five to ten million dollars by romancing women, and he married three of the world’s richest: Flor de Oro Trujillo, the Dominican strongman’s only daughter; Doris Duke, the tobacco heiress; and Barbara Hutton, the original “Poor Little Rich Girl.” Rubi spent money he’d earned in the bedroom on the good things in life: mostly other women, strings of polo ponies, and two very nice houses in France. He died in the early hours of July 5, 1965, driving home from a nightclub when he hit a tree in his Ferrari. We had been celebrating a polo victory together, but I had left Jimmy’s early to fly to Nice for a tennis tournament.
Rubi came to mind because of this Granatino man who just lost his case on appeal. “Granatino” sounds Italian, but he’s a wealthy French industralist’s son. The French are rightly proud of their gigolos, Thierry Roussel having held the record for years—$100 million out of Christina Onassis—until eclipsed by Francois-Marie Banier, who got more than a billion Euros from Liliane Bettencourt across the Channel. Poor Rubi, he was the only real man among them, and he got peanuts in return. When Rubi died he was almost dead-broke. His widow sold their beautiful house west of Paris for a large sum to Paul-Louis Weiller and has lived a comfortable life ever since. Rubi was planning a coup just before the accident. He had his eye on JFK’s sister Pat Lawford, but I’m not sure it was a good idea. The Kennedys are notoriously tight-fisted, and Rubi liked to live well, something the Kennedys never managed to understand or do.
Roussel sued me about twenty years ago, and a Greek court awarded him one drachma. He was always a lowlife but managed to get out of debt with his marriage to Christina Onassis, whom he ripped off mercilessly and unashamedly. He now lives in Switzerland off his winnings. Banier is a different kettle of fish altogether. Roussel has never opened a book and judges art by price. Banier is an artist and once left a book of his in my New York house with a beautiful dedication to the mother of my children. He also took the time to discuss painting with my son and was very sweet to my daughter. But he got greedy. Less than one billion is enough for anyone, unless we’re talking about lowlifes such as the owners of Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United. Banier should have stopped at that magic number, 900 million.
The irony is that La Bettencourt was a hell of a looker until 25 years ago. I saw her once at a ball and preferred her to most women there, although I had no idea she had a shilling or two. She was then in her fifties and stunningly beautiful. As is the German lady who has to pay 70,000 pounds every year until 2024 to Granatino, yet another gigolo who got greedy. Something Rubi never did. Nothing so vulgar as going to court over money for Rubi. All his ex-wives loved him because he was a tiger in the bedroom, a hell of an athlete outside it, and very romantic to boot. So they showered him with presents. La Hutton bought him 80 suits and 17 polo ponies. La Duke gave him a B-17, which he flew recklessly and without knowing how to navigate by asking friends such as me to follow the railroad lines from Deauville to Paris.
Roussel was no sportsman, just a greedy little nothing picking up crumbs. Banier is a charmer who has always lived off others but always chose the winning side. His picture next to Malraux during the 1968 demonstration against the students proves my point. Who the hell would have guessed in May of 1968 that lining up with Debre and Malraux was a winning bet? (There is a great pic of him in the current Vanity Fair during the demonstration.) Granatino, I am happy to report, I have never met. But I wouldn’t mind meeting his ex-wife, a real looker judging by the pictures. What I would like to do is have my friend Leopold Bismarck invite her to one of his parties—Germans sticking together and all that—and I’ll take over after a few toasts to the immortal Fatherland. Her ex seems a terrible fellow. He already had rich parents but wanted more. They met at Tramp, which is par for the course. Tramp is all about money and sex. This ridiculous Granatino worked for JP Morgan, where greed is taught in the manner horsemanship was taught in Viennese military schools. I am happy he ended up with little, although the gigolo did pocket one million quid. Not bad for bedding a pretty German, the lucky bum.
But back to Rubi. Once upon a time, gigolos were he-men. Now most of them are effete if not gay. And speaking of the latter, I’m happy as hell that disgusting Saudi camel driver got twenty years minimum for torturing his manservant to death. The media are ridiculous, calling these bums by their phony titles. They only know how to treat the poor badly, screw their camels, and abuse women. They make Granatino sound like a prince. Mind you, the camel driver will have plenty of sex for the next ten years, satisfaction guaranteed.