Porfirio Rubirosa was a Dominican jet-setter and diplomat throughout the 50s and 60s. He was also well known internationally as a Playboy, racing car driver and polo player, and can be considered one of the first persons to be famous for being famous.
Origins and Life
Born in San Francisco de Macoris in the Dominican Republic to a middle-class family. His father similarly known as a Playboy and jetsetter had managed to receive an assignment as Chief of the Dominican Embassy and so Rubirose grew up in Paris.
At age 17 he returned to the DR and enlisted in the military. In 1931 he met then-dicator of the DR Rafael Trujillo and a friendship began. Trujillo made him lieutenant in his Presidential Guard, which was only the beginning of his rise to Diplomatic stardom.
Rubi knew how to play Trujillo and not only managed to get himself a diplomatic posting to various embassies (Berlin during the 1938 Olympic Games and later Paris) but also managed to marry his daughter.
In his capacity as diplomat he had access to governmental funds and knew how to employ them to his benefit, mostly for his romantic escapades.
Rubi became an accoplished womanizer and lover. He had a sexual prowess equal to few (according to Truman Capote who knew him it was due to his large... well, you know) as well as a good liar, and his romantic conquests are too numerous to list.
Rubi's marks were mostly women of money and power. Beginning with Trujillo's own daughter he married and divorced:
- Flor de Oro Trujillo (1932-1937)
- Danielle Darrieux (1942-1947)
- Doris Duke (1947-1951)
- Barbara Hutton (1953)
- Odile Rodin (1956-1965)
In between he had various affairs, most notably with Zsa Zsa Gabor. A few other luminaries that he was linked with romantically (albeit there is no definitive proof):
- 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
Through his marriages -- and particularly his divorces -- he became very wealthy, owning various houses, mansions, apartments, cars, horses, yachts, airplanes and even a fishing fleet. However, since he abhorred working he would only use them temporarily and then convert them to cash to further his lifestyle.
Another side effect of his many links with the rich and famous was that he quickly came to the attention of the boulevard press. He soon graced the gossip papers all over the world and became well known for his affairs and for his lifestyle -- a 1950s version of Paris Hilton if you will.
Knowing the gossip press we can assume that reports about him are romanticised and at times exaggerated. Besides as a tremendous lover he was also labeled a spy and assassin for the Trujillo regime -- some even suggest he may have been the inspiration to James Bond.
Rubi and Zsa Zsa
Rubi died as he lived: fast and violently. Early morning July 5, 1965, he crashed his silver Ferrari 250 GT into a chestnut tree in Paris, after an all-night party to celebrate a polo win. He was only 56 and at the time married to French actress Odile Rodin, 28.
Rubi is seen as the epitome of what a Playboy should be like. To this day he is celebrated as one of the most iconic players in history, and (especially in the Dominican Republic) is seen as a macho role model. His unequaled conquests made him go down in history as possibly the greatest lover who ever lived.
His larger than average member even inspired Parisian waiters to name gigantic pepper mills “Rubirosas”.