A scandalous story of money, drugs, fast cars, high politics, lowly crime, hundreds of beautiful woman and one man, Porfirio Rubirosa from the celebrated author of RAT PACK CONFIDENTIAL.
The Dominican playboy Porfirio Rubirosa died at 8:00 am on July 5, 1965, when he smashed his Ferrari into a tree in Paris. He was 56 years old and on his way home to his 28-year-old fifth wife, Odile Rodin, after a night's debauch in celebration of a victorious polo match.
In the previous four decades, Rubirosa had on four separate occasions married one of the wealthiest women in the world, and had slept with hundreds of other women including Marilyn Monroe, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Ava Gardner, and Eva Peron. He had worked as aide-de-camp to one of the most vicious fascists the century ever knew. He had served as an ambassador to France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Argentina and Vichy. He had been a jewel thief, a forger, a shipping magnate, a treasure hunter. He had held his own with the world's most powerful and notorious men including John F. Kennedy, Josef Goebbels and Juan Peron. He ran comfortably celebrity circles, counting among his friends Frank Sinatra, Ted Kennedy, David Niven, Sammy Davis Jr., and fellow playboy Aly Khan.
He lived for the moment and, at his death, faded without a legacy: no children, no fortune, no entity – financial, cultural, even architectural – that bore his name. There will never be anyone else like Porfiro Rubirosa. Indeed, the really amazing thing is that there ever was. Shawn Levy – celebrated author of RAT PACK CONFIDENTIAL, and READY, STEADY, GO – has been given unique access to primary material including FBI and CIA files in his search for the last playboy.
‘An excellent, gossipy study…Levy has a kinetic prose style…Levy’s luscious, shimmering and titillating portrait is there for the world’ Sunday Times
‘[Shawn Levy] has a fascinating story to tell…This is undoubtedly a page turner’ Mail on Sunday
‘Shawn Levy has brought all his customary energies to this study of Porfirio Rubirosa’s life’ Daily Telegraph
‘A swish, always interesting collection of barroom tales’ Night and Day, Mail on Sunday
‘Levy is very thorough…This is a tale told with with great relish and style’ GQ
About the author
Shawn Levy is the author of King of Comedy: The Life and Art of Jerry Lewis, the bestselling Rat Pack Confidential and Read, Steady, Go!. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Village Voice, Movieline, Film Comment, and Pulse! He is a former senior editor of American Film.
Even readers who find the idea of a "playboy" somewhat questionable won't be able to put down Levy's biography of Porfirio Rubirosa (1909 1965). For one thing, there's delicious gossip: the women he courted (Eartha Kitt, Zsa Zsa Gabor), the men he prowled with (Prince Aly Khan, Sinatra, the Kennedys) and the fabulously wealthy women he married (Barbara Hutton, Doris Duke). There's also the story of his infamous penis Doris Duke described it as "six inches in circumference... much like the last foot of a Louisville Slugger baseball bat with the consistency of a not completely inflated volleyball." Plus, there's sports-car racing, polo ponies and nonstop nightclubbing. But Levy, film critic for the Portland Oregonian, goes beyond the glitz to see Rubirosa as a product of a particular time and place: dictator Trujillo's Dominican Republic. Like many Trujillo intimates, Rubirosa was well paid for his loyalty, not his labor. By the 1960s, when Rubirosa crashed his Ferrari in Paris's Bois de Boulogne, he was an anachronism at that point, even wealthy men were trying to have careers of some sort. All Rubi knew was how to enjoy himself, so this bubbly bio is a perfect tribute. Photos.