February 13, 2014

Marion Davies

Marion Davies

But while admiring Marion, Hearst neglected to see the Great Depression coming. It hit him hard, and being vastly overextended he was on the brink of ruin. Creditors salivated at picking up his empire for portions of pennies on the dollar.

Yet everyone underestimated Hearst’s lover. When she learned her former protector was days away from losing everything, she sold her entire collection of gifts and wrote him a check in the amount of $1 million made out to cash. They went on together over another decade. Davies ultimately said of this extraordinary gesture, “It’s a funny thing. I started out a gold-digger and ended up falling in love.”

More recent is the example of Zsa Zsa Gabor. How easy to envision her as a cop-slapping, pseudo-prince-keeping caricature of Norma Desmond, whereas once she and her siblings were the most beautiful trio in Hollywood. It isn’t sparkling wit and luxuriant accents alone that entice men to the altar.

Neither does walking the aisle distinguish any female as a lady among mere women. Despite taking vows with several of the world’s most esteemed and established bachelors, she says she never took alimony from them. In later years, and apart from her quips, when asked why she bypassed those big paydays Gabor genially replied, “Why should I, dah-ling? It was their money. I didn’t earn it.”

This is in stark contrast to her notorious competitor in matrimonial statistics Elizabeth Taylor, who received settlements, numerous baubles from Richard Burton, and even enticed Michael Jackson into plying her with trinkets. It is no coincidence that while romantic rival Liz died alone, Zsa Zsa will be finishing her whirlwind days in the quiet company of a man who genuinely cares for and supports her.

Gabor may be far from a saint, but in the pantheon of slightly tarnished angels she has earned her own niche for a certain kind of (mah-velous) adulation.

Likewise, when a close friend of mine discovered his personal paramour, there was concern in his family that she was aware of his wealth. Given their relative ages, many urged caution (though he delighted watching her get carded when buying wine).

In any event, the girl’s brand was Tiffany & Co. and she received enough every few months that he sent updated insurance appraisals of her trifles. Imagine the shock weeks ago when he received a note from her stating, “Please do not bother with such foolish paperwork anymore as I have never considered these things mine but only yours with which to ornament me.”

Should any reader be blessed to discover a similar treasure, by all means have the good sense to look no further for your fortune.



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