The death of the richest woman on this planet, as the tabloids dubbed Liliane Bettencourt, brought back some vivid memories, mainly of the gigolos I’ve known and their disgraceful pursuit of the fairer sex. Although my great friend Porfirio Rubirosa acted the gigolo at times — he married three of the world’s richest women, and two of the most beautiful for love — he was also a man’s man, a pistolero, an ambassador, a racing driver, boxer and polo player, and a great seducer of beautiful women. He died on 6 July 1965 at the wheel of his Ferrari.
After Rubi, the whole business took a nosedive. Thierry Roussel, French, effete and greedy as hell, took tens and tens of millions from Christina Onassis, and then dumped her for his regular mistress. Just as bad as Roussel — or worse — was Francois-Marie Banier. But before I get to that particular leech, a few words about a friend of mine who actually went through a Rockefeller fortune, the Marquis Raymundo de Larrain.
Raymond, as his real name was, was a marquis alright, but of his own making. His demonic charm seduced both very rich men of that persuasion and high-born women. He went after me like gangbusters in Paris when I was not yet 20, but once he got the message he remained a good friend until…well, I’ll tell you in a jiffy. Raymundo was birdlike, had impeccable manners, and out of the blue managed not only to become a ballet dancer in the Marquis de Cuevas (another dubious title) corps de ballet, but also a choreographer and a designer of ballets. He was Cuevas’s lover, but also the lover of a leading Parisian society hostess. He once told me that he was about to marry Douce Francois, a niece of the fabulously rich Arturo Lopez-Willshaw, assuming that she would inherit her uncle’s estate (he was gay and lived with Alexis de Rede).