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The Last Playboy: The High Life of Porfirio Rubirosa [Paperback]

Shawn Levy
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Aug 2005

A scandalous story of money, drugs, fast cars, high politics, lowly crime, hundreds of beautiful woman and one man, Porfirio Rubirosa – the Austin Powers of his day – 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, Jayne Mansfield, Joan Crawford, Tina Onassis, 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, Holland, Italy, Cuba, 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, Juan Peron and Charles DeGaulle. He ran comfortably in circles of celebrity, counting among his friends Frank Sinatra, Ted Kennedy, David Niven, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Stewart Granger, fashion designer Oleg Cassini, and fellow playboy Aly Khan.

He was respected for his ruthlessness, his athleticism, his panache, his frank hedonism, his dark reputation and his prodigious physical endowment. 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.

Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (1 Aug 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007171064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007171064
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,302,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Praise for READY, STEADY, GO

• ‘Definitive … a remarkable book. Levy succeeds in pinning down a volatile movement, constantly reinventing itself.’ George Melly, Guardian

• ‘A strikingly accurate portrait of an astonishing few years when the world suddenly went from grey to technicolor.’ Ray Connolly, Daily Mail

• ‘A compelling tale.’
Independent on Sunday


• ‘Scotch-on-the-rocks cool’ Loaded

• ‘A compulsive account of five men with America in their pockets – and the money, power and sense to bleed every last moment of fun out of it. An immense book.’ FHM

Night and Day, Mail on Sunday

‘A swish, always interesting collection of barroom tales.’

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
How does one sum up Porfirio Rubirosa ? Diplomat, Lover, Chancer, soldier, sportsman and playboy. He was certainly all of these and so much more. Mr Levy does a pretty good job of giving us the details of his life, but for me this biography is a fairly straight forward retelling of the events of his life without ever really putting us into the soul of the man himself. He was without question a "play boy's playboy" and arguably the most opportunistic of them all. Having married the two most wealthy women in the world at that time (Doris Duke and Barbara Hutton) He managed to secure enough wealth to keep him living like a King.

We don't really gain much insight into Rubi's (His friends nickname for him) thoughts and feelings and it is also not clearly defined exactly what evil deeds he got up to whilst working for Rafael Trujillo. The FBI wanted to talk to him over at least two murders where he was suspected as the man who pulled the trigger for the Dominican Republic.

Rubi is portrayed most of the time as the man who had it all and enjoyed it. He died at the wheel of his Ferrari in Paris whilst full of champagne. At that time in his Mid fifties, he was probably at the end of the Playboy era and so capped a romantic, if tragic, conclusion to his story with his young wife "Odile" apparently grief stricken at his grave side.

A Competent biography but one lacking in real revelations and also, lacking in the exploration of his darker side and less likeable qualities. "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend".
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better, much better... 11 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Everything the other didn't do, this one does and it's got better prose. It has been a little researched and it is not very offensive. That's respect for the subject matter. Ruby wasn't the loveable husband type. But plain jealousy is not journalism.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rubirosa 8 Jun 2007
Fascinating insight into the high living decadence of the rich and famous in the 50's. If you think that this decade was the most stylish you will not be dissapointed with this book. Shawn Levy seems to have cornered the market in evoking this age, as this book follows closely on the heels of 'The Rat Pack', his homage to Frank and the gang.
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