A report by Peter Sblendorio for the New York Daily News.
Zsa Zsa Gabor’s death over the weekend renewed interest in her illustrious history of lovers — giving us the opportunity to revisit the thrilling, louche life of one of her most famous paramours, Porfirio Rubirosa.
Rubirosa was a Dominican diplomat, a high-speed luxury race car driver and a prodigious playboy whose infectious charm and ostentatious lifestyle became the stuff of legend in the 1950s and ’60s.
His jaw-dropping track record of romantic dalliances was unparalleled, with links to the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Joan Crawford, Judy Garland and even Eva Peron. And, of course, Gabor.
It’s an impressive list, for sure, but one that’s not particularly surprising for someone nicknamed “the human peppermill.” And no, that’s not a reference to Rubirosa’s prowess in the kitchen.
In fact, his above-average endowment below the waist eventually prompted waiters in France to refer to colossal peppermills as “Rubirosas.”
His exhilarating life began in 1909, when he was born into an upper-middle-class family as the third of three kids in San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic.
Rubirosa first connected with Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo 22 years later and officially became a diplomat for the Caribbean nation in 1936, serving at embassies in various global metropolises including Paris, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Rome, Brussels and Havana.
Trujillo famously once declared that Rubirosa succeeded in the position “because women like him and he is a wonderful liar.”
And women sure did like him. In addition to his fabled history of flings with Hollywood’s elite, he was married five times, though he never had a single known child. None of his marriages lasted more than eight years, and at least two of them ended with his wife accusing him of infidelity.
He conducted his infamous affair with Gabor — a woman known for her similarly lavish taste and lengthy dossier of lovers — during his marriage to fellow socialite Barbara Hutton, which only lasted 53 days between December 1953 and February 1954.
And those romps in the bedroom were far from the only indulgence Rubirosa permitted himself. He created and starred on a French polo team, often fielding a contending roster.
He also invested heavily in the sport of racing, collecting a series of high-priced vehicles — including multiple Ferraris — to compete on the French racing circuit.
His untimely passing at the age of 56 occurred when was behind the wheel of one of his Italian sports cars. He died after smashing his luxurious Ferrari 250 GT into a massive chestnut tree in the early morning after celebrating the night away at a Parisian nightclub following his team’s polo championship.
Rubirosa is widely speculated to be the inspiration for the Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World” — a long-running ad campaign featuring an older, multi-talented gentleman known for his outrageous, typically unfathomable achievements.
Gabor, who died Sunday, was married to nine different men during her 99 years on Earth. But none of them boast a resume quite like Rubirosa’s.