Posted on November 30, 2008
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Porfirio Rubirosa Ariza, (January 22, 1909 in San Francisco de Macorís, Dominican RepublicJuly 5, 1965 in Bois de Boulogne, France) was a Dominican diplomat, polo player and race car driver who competed in the 1950 and 1954 24 Hour of Le Mans, but was best known as an international playboy for his jet setting lifestyle and legendary prowess with women. During his heyday, large pepper grinders were sometimes purportedly referred to as “rubirosas” in the fast international set.[1]

Born to a middle-class family, he was the son of an army general. He grew up in Paris, France, after his father was appointed the chargé d’affaires at the Dominican consulate in 1920. He returned to the Dominican Republic at 17 to study law but did not complete his schooling, instead enlisting in the military.

Rubirosa married Flor de Oro Trujillo, daughter of Dominican dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina on 3 December 1932. Trujillo dispatched Rubirosa to his first diplomatic post in Berlin. He later granted his daughter a divorce when it became obvious that Rubirosa had been unfaithful. Unable to return to the Dominican Republic, Rubirosa supported himself by selling Dominican visas to Jews seeking to flee Europe. Rubirosa soon got back into his former father-in-law’s good graces, and continued to receive government posts until Trujillo’s assassination.

He was linked romantically to Dolores Del Rio, Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Soraya Esfandiary, Veronica Lake, Kim Novak, and Eva Peron. He dallied with his ex-wife Flor during his marriage to Doris Duke, and with Zsa Zsa Gabor during his marriage to Barbara Hutton. He was named a co-respondent in at least two divorces, the husbands charging adultery. He was also famous for the rumored length of his sexual organ–Truman Capote, in Answered Prayers, described it as eleven inches long–and to this day the extra-long pepper mills in French bistros are called “Rubirosas.”

He married Danielle Darrieux on September 18, 1942. Duke (whom he married on September 1, 1947), and Hutton (whom he divorced just 53 days after their December 30, 1953 wedding) made him wealthy: Duke gave him $500,000, a stable of polo ponies, several sports cars, and a converted B-25 bomber, and gave him a 17th Century house in Paris in the divorce settlement; Hutton bought him a coffee plantation in the Dominican Republic, another B-25, and paid him a reported $3.5 million in their settlement. His last marriage was at age 56 in 1965 to then-19-year-old French actress Odile Rodin. After an all-night celebration at the Paris nightclub “Jimmy’s” in honor of winning the Coupe de France polo cup, Rubirosa crashed his Ferrari into some trees and died early in the morning on July 5, 1965.


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