Chapter Seven – 1967-1971
London – People, Parties, and the End of IOS
(Equivalent to 125 Pages)
Moments from Chapter Seven
George Hamilton kissed me!
Lauren Bacall opened the door!
Diamond Lil asked, “Can I wear sapphires on the beach?”
“I’d just eaten at Troisgros!”
Bernie Cornfeld arrived with a blond on each arm; they were twins!
“And I threw Rudolph Nureyev out of the house!”
John Galliher was the most successful hooker in the world.
IOS was in big trouble!
I said, looking straight at the bewigged judge, “Not in that way!”
Lights out on the “Red Boy.”
Fired from ILI/IOS, I help save the company in the U.K.
Goodbye, Capt. Geldt
• “Edward is an English given name. It is derived from the Anglo-Saxon form Éadweard, composed of the elements ead "wealth, fortune; prosperous" and weard "guardian, protector".”
• My ninth great-grandfather, William Bradford, came over on the Mayflower; he was the first governor of the Colonies.
• In the English style, I was given two middle names: Gardner Leonard (the first and sur-name of my mother’s brother). Edward Gardner Leonard Carter – a mouthful, but it conveys a presence – useful in English society.
• My Dad’s father, Dr. E.P. Carter, was an eminent American physician who pioneered in bringing the cardiograph from London to Johns Hopkins. During the year spent in London on this project, he and my grandmother lived at The Savoy; my father boarded at Dulwich College.
I have English roots:
From Wikipedia: Dulwich College is a boarding and day independent school for boys in Dulwich in southeast London, England. It was founded in 1619. It currently has about 1,500 boys, of whom 120 are boarders. It is a member of both the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference and the Eton Group.
• A cousin, Sir Ronald Lindsey, was the British Ambassador to Washington while another cousin, John Hay (Jock) Whitney, was the American Ambassador to the Court of St. James.
• You might have seen Sir Ronald depicted in Chariots of Fire, jumping hurdles. Here is Sir Ronald’s House, Stepleton, near Blandford in Dorset, England:
Mother writes: My grandmother’s cousin’s daughter’s first husband’s father is President of the U.S.A. (FDR).
Then, about Sir Ronald and Jock Whitney: My grandmother’s aunt’s son-in-law was the English Ambassador to U.S.A. (Sir Ronald) – while my grandmother’s cousin’s daughter’s second husband was the American Ambassador to the court of St. James (Jock).
My mother’s grandfather came over from Dornoch, Scotland and established a thread mill in Cohoes, New York, near Albany. My father’s mother was initially put off by his wanting to become engaged to my mother, saying that the Sutherlands and Leonards were “in trade!”
This is my great, great, great grandfather’s house, now an hotel.
The reverse of the above post card:
With these connections, and the fact, thanks to my father, that I didn’t have a very strong American accent, I was looking forward to living and working in London.
So, in September 1967, I put Pat Minihan in charge of Northern Ireland (I would continue to get overrides), packed the Stasha Halpern and the Burmese Buddha into the Jaguar, put my furniture in storage, and left for London.
Roy Kirkdorffer, General Manager of ILI/IOS U.K., had been building a huge sales organization throughout the U.K. with offices in 17 cities; two in London. Not wanting to meld into the existing army, I needed to come up with a strategy.
It was well known that I had had remarkable success in Malta and Northern Ireland, so I conceived the rationale of my coming to London…
“to develop a competing organization within the existing UK operation as a means of demonstrating the recruitment, training, and management techniques I had developed in other countries, to drastically up-grade the quality of the U.K. operation.”
My recruitment mission statement: My team’s criteria were more stringent, our vetting was tougher, our training was better, and our supervisory standards were superior. Join our group and be outstanding!
Roy assigned me to work under Albert Moth. Albert’s office was in Croyden, a large community some ten miles south of Charing Cross - 20 minutes by train from central London. Like Bernie in 1964, who assigned me to a man in Libya who would have little time or interest in supervising me directly, Roy was giving me the space and the rope to hang myself or excel.
Albert Moth (now deceased)
But Albert was a good choice. He was a highly educated, erudite Brit with a cheery sense of humor and a large belly laugh (to match his large belly). His family had established the American National Cash Register Company somewhere in South America, thus they were internationally experienced and successful. I liked him enormously; he left me to my devices.
I found an attractive two-bedroom flat in The Watergardens, a new complex in the center of the West End on Edgeware Road.
I was the first tenant in my unit. Gordon Shelford, from Roy’s office, helped me organize the painting, wallpapering (Thai-style, grass-cloth in my bedroom – I needed a suitable background for the Burmese Buddha), and carpeting. He even arranged the finance plan for all of it and the shipping of my furniture in storage in Belfast – it was the first of dozens of container trips that would cart my stuff around the world.
I started running recruitment ads in the Daily Telegraph:
Who just won’t work for a Salary, and has a Sense of Humor.
Who Demands the Freedom to Earn as Much as Possible as Fast as Possible, and Who wants to be in the Fastest Growing Company in
the Fastest Growing Industry in the World,
Providing an Essential and Unique Service?
Please telephone Edward Carter for an interview, 629-1234.
Are you of the rare breed?
I had great response and people were coming and going through my flat every day. They responded to my mission statement. As I didn’t see myself doing very much "handcuff" supervision, I was very tough on vetting. I needed self-starters
I didn’t have time to drive in London – it took too long looking for a parking place; taxis were the answer, and, of course, London taxi drivers are the best in the world. I think it takes them three years on a motor scooter to learn London well enough to pass the test. Not only do they have to know how to get to your destination, but also the best route, traffic-wise, at any time of day.
I remember when I was a teenager in New York; all I’d have to say to the cabbie was “Abercrombie and Fitch, please.” And, momentarily, we’d be there. Today, you’re lucky if they speak English, and fugedabout knowing what Abercrombie’s is.
London is a different world. Of course, today, London cabs are probably the most expensive in the world, but if you want to arrive calmly and quietly, it’s worth it.
So, I sold the Jag and… bought a COBRA! Out of my mind! What kind of logic is that?!
I drove it in the country for one weekend - scared David Parfrey to death doing wheelies all over someone’s field and traded it in for a 1948, Hooper-bodied, Rolls-Royce, Silver Wraith, limousine.
I took it to Radford’s (the best automotive specialty firm in London) where they restored it completely and painted it midnight blue. It looked black after dark, beautiful black… but not funereal; and with wonderful blue highlights during the day. Peter Seller’s Mini was getting worked on next to it.
Now I needed a driver.
I was introduced to Graham Thompson. Graham had been in the Navy and was the chauffeur to Princess Margaret’s children. I explained that there was little routine in my habits, and most of his work would be from 1:00PM to 1:00AM. I could provide him with a small bedroom in my flat, but that he could not entertain there, and the salary was twenty-five pounds a week. He accepted the offer, and moved in.
I must have been nuts giving up the only guestroom in a two-bedroom flat, but he did have his own bathroom, and it was better than waiting downstairs in the car until I needed it. Did I have an ulterior motive for having him in the flat? No! One never messes with the staff! But he was cute.
Graham, before The Watergardens.
The car’s interior was designed to be tall enough for men to wear hats… Now, I needed a hat.
I went to Lock & Co., natch. Established in 1662, they’re the oldest hatters in the world.
I think regular bowlers (derbies in America) look asinine:
On the other hand, it depends on the wearer; and notice the flair in the brim below:
I would never attempt to wear a round bowler. In the shop, I made a beeline for a square one. It’s called the Cambridge. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was popularized by Winston Churchill. During Churchill’s 1952 visit to the U.S., American newspapers described his hat as “Pickwickian” and a “sawed off stovepipe.” The New York Times said it was a look to be “had by anyone who is willing to pay $9.10 and who does not mind a reputation for eccentricity.”
I’ve been called eccentric on more than one occasion, and I liked it, and it liked me; I used to have a photo, but I can’t find it.
Here’s another photo of Sir Winston.
Can you see why it is extraordinary? The top picture, his famous gesture – V for Victory (palm toward you). The bottom picture... I’ve never seen another one like it… anyone who knows English parlance (palm hidden), knows this gesture means – Up Yours! Look at the squint and grin!
I wore the Cambridge in London and, much later, a Homburg in New York. I like hats; I especially like women in hats.
What ever happened to veils? My mother often wore a veil and I’m not talking about a burqa.
These were days of great excitement:
• I put together teams and ran training sessions every evening. The team started making sales right off the bat.
• I went to Harrods, bought, and took delivery of first color TV in the country. John Paul Getty had ordered one at the same time but mine got delivered first.
• On the 20th of September – The RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 (the QE2) was launched at Clydebank by Queen Elizabeth II, using the same pair of gold scissors used by her mother and grandmother to launch the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary respectively. (We’ll be travelling on her in Chapter 15.)
• Parliament decriminalized male homosexuality in England and Wales with the Sexual Offences Act.
• 30 November – British troops left Aden, which they had occupied since 1839, enabling formation of the new republic of Yemen. Roy recruited the head of the Royal Marines unit into ILI/IOS. – great P.R.!
One of my new trainees, Edward Childress, was a balletophile (my word). He took me to Covent Garden to see the last Swan Lake to be performed by Margot Fontaine and Rudolph Nureyev. Now, that’s a hell of an introduction to ballet!
I started going to the ballet several times a week. I especially liked a couple of guys in the Royal Ballet chorus, and met them for drinks after performances. I also got to know the remarkable Wayne Sleep.
Wikipedia: Wayne Philip Colin Sleep OBE (born 17 July 1948) is a British dancer, director, choreographer, actor and panellist. He was a Principal Dancer with the Royal Ballet and has appeared as a Guest Artist with several other ballet companies. He was a judge on the ITV entertainment series Stepping Out.
At only 5'2", Sleep is famous for being the shortest male dancer ever admitted into the Royal Ballet School. Because of his diminutive stature many directors were reluctant to cast him in traditional male lead roles. As a result, many roles were created for him by noted choreographers including Ashton, MacMillan, de Valois, Layton, Nureyev and Neumeier. Sleep is often chosen for character roles because of his unusual physique. In 1982, Andrew Lloyd Webber adapted his Variations album as the second half of stage show Song and Dance for Sleep. Sleep created the role of Mr. Mistoffelees in Lloyd Webber's musical Cats in London's West End, at the New London Theatre, on 11 May 1981.
In 1973, Sleep established a world record by doing an entrechat-douze – a jump with twelve beats of the feet. This record still stands to this day.
Childress would follow the Royal Ballet Touring Company as it toured the country. In Scotland, he would meet up with ILI/IOS Manager, Graham Johnson, and take him to the performances. The camaraderie in ILI/IOS was great fun!
As my first Christmas in London approached, I planned a party at The Watergardens. I invited the Royal Ballet Company and the Touring Company. After an hour or so, with only a pink silk square over one lamp, the darkened room was squirming with taught bodies… the doorbell rang. It was Nureyev!
Of course, I hadn’t invited him; I’d never met him!
He preened into the room; some were shocked, others air-kissed him from the floor, still others ran to hug him. I watched, then got him a glass of Champagne.
Suddenly, from a dark corner, came a bitchy cat call.
Rudolph hurled his champagne, it struck a silk lampshade, and I threw him out of the party!
How to make friends and influence people, and become the talking stock of the town in one second. From then on, I was on everyone’s list, and my social life in London took off.
With the New Year, I needed some new clothes to go with my new hat. Doing the rounds of the gay clubs, I had run into Peter Brown. Peter had been Brian Epstein’s boyfriend. Brian managed The Beatles – racy crowd.
Now, Peter was promoting Tommy Nutter, a very cute kid who was breaking into the bastions of Savile Row.
Old Mr. Packer of Huntsman cut my first proper, bespoke suit. I was introduced by Gil Phillips, an IOS-er, when I was still in Malta (where I had had a suit cut by Gieves – Military tailors; now Gieves & Hawkes of No. 1 Savile Row), but it wasn’t “proper” as it wasn’t made in Savile Row, proper).
As you know, I came back and forth to London in my early IOS years for meetings and conferences. I met Gil, who was working in London, and admired his tightly-waisted, flared-skirted, tweed jackets.
He ushered me into Huntsman – Established 1849, at 11 Savile Row. (This was decades before they became chic, and had trunk shows to the United States, and later around the world, to take remote-controlled orders and have local fittings – in my mind, still not proper).
Being fitted for a proper, Savile Row suit is a wonderful experience. It’s like visiting the old family doctor who seems to know more about you than anyone could. Choosing the fabric, discussing whether to have turn-ups or no, pleats or no, center vent, twin vents, no vent, waistcoat or no, watch pockets, sleeve linings, jacket linings, sleeve lengths, real sleeve button holes, etc., etc. On which side do you dress, sir? Does your man know how to sponge a suit, sir? Shall we have our first fitting next Thursday, sir?
Next Thursday, the jacket is a mass of threads. Old Mr. Packer rips off the collar and resets it! Why do they do that? It’s happened to me for years. They are the pros, they set the collar, why, first thing, do they rip it off? I think it’s marketing.
Anyway, five or six fittings are normal the first time. The trousers are made in another street by another man. Fitting them is a whole different show.
Finally, it’s done. In those days, it was about 300 pounds; last I heard, it was $8000, and that was twenty years ago. Of course, the pound is much cheaper now. But cheap is not a word one would associate with the art of living well, especially with such accoutrements one finds in Savile Row, or Modena for that matter.
I took to visiting old Mr. Packer about once a month… then I met Peter Brown, Tommy Nutter, and Mr. Fish!
Mr. Fish worked at Turnbull & (Up your) Asser, as I called it. He was a wonderfully-quaint, Cockney-speaking, ‘barrow boy’ with taste, a wild sense of humor, and great good luck. That’s how he ended up at Turnbull & Asser.
Wikipedia: Turnbull & Asser is a gentleman's bespoke shirtmaker, clothier and tie maker established in 1885. The company has its flagship store on Jermyn Street, St James's, two more stores in London, and one in New York City. During the 1960s, Turnbull & Asser even had been known for catering to the Swinging London set, with vibrant colors and "modern" designs. In 1962, Turnbull & Asser began to outfit the cinematic James Bond as first portrayed by Sean Connery, whose dress shirts had turnback cuffs fastened with buttons as opposed to cufflinks, referred to as Portofino, or cocktail cuffs, or James Bond cuffs.”
“Michael Fish is a British fashion designer famous for designing many of the notable British looks of the 1960s and 1970s, such as the kipper tie. Michael Fish was born in Wood Green, London in 1940. His Mother Joan, worked in a chemist shop in Winchmore Hill, his father, Sydney, was an on-course bookmaker.”
Turnbull had only one shop in the 60s – Jermyn Street. It was Michael that helped create, and catered to, the “Swinging London set.” I swung too.
Here he is with Sean Connery in the shop…
Michael made me two suits: a blue velvet cutaway with silver embroidery on the lapels, sleeves, and ankles – knock-out; and a gold jacket and Nehru-collared waistcoat that I originally wore to Hair, the night of the opening on September 27, and danced on the stage afterwards…
A note from Roy Kirkdorffer – “reminds me of the evening that B and I went to see Hair and at the end of the show, people flocked to the stage to dance to the tune of Age of Aquarius. And there was Ted Carter, bobbing and weaving with the rest--none of whom seemed to be connected to one another. You have led an interesting life.”
Here’s the jacket:
While Mr. Fish’s outfits were great for a party or a laugh (At $1000 apiece in 1968), the chicest designer of the day was young, Tommy Nutter.
I thought he was great looking, and I loved his designs that, in part, were a throw-back to the thirties and a throw-forward to a fusion concept.
Tommy and his cutter, Edward Sexton, made many suits and shirts for me. My closet here in the wilderness of Thailand is full of them! I haven’t worn them since coming to Thailand in 2003. While perfect for New York, London, or Rome, they’re rather extreme for Bangkok’s conservative ex-pats, shy natives, and oppressive heat!
No, he never made me one of those, but admire the details – the form of the shoulders, the transition through the waist, the fall of the trouser over the shoe… wonderful!
Here are two of the suits he made for me:
And a silk jacket he cut for me:
This was my Brussels-issued passport photo. Brussels? - you may wonder.
Well, the entire time I was living in the U.K., I was on a tourist visa. I naturally travelled a lot, especially to and from Geneva for meetings, but the Immigration Officers at Heathrow were very tough. And as my passport would get filled with in-and-out stamps, the officials would get more and more inquisitive.
So, from time, I would “lose” my passport, or “spill ink all over it,” and head for Brussels where our Embassy staff were rather naïve and eager to please. Sometimes, they’d give me a new passport simply because I didn’t like the photo. In any event, it kept the pages relatively empty, and Heathrow Immigration quiet.
A few years later, during the Carter Container years, I once seriously overstayed by about 5 months. The Heathrow Departures Immigration Check pulled me aside for questioning. I explained that I had arrived three days previously; “I took the train from Dublin to Belfast.”
The officer looked at me with such cynicism, the glare was almost curdling. “You’re lying through your teeth but there’s no way I can prove it.” He said.
I knew there was no passport control between the Republic and Northern Ireland; I had a virgin, Brussels passport with no stamps; and I knew there was no way he could prove I hadn’t come into the U.K. that way. Anyway, I was exiting the country – an easier scenario.
My life was filled with recruiting, training, and sales meetings. We were doing well.
Gil Phillips said he went to Cannes every year for the month of May. June there was a madhouse with the Film Festival, so if you wanted to get some sun after the bleak London winter and have some fun, May was the time to go.
He drove, I flew, and met him at the Hotel Edouard VII, at the western end of the Croisette away from The Carlton Hotel, and Nice beyond. The Croisette runs along the shore of the Mediterranean with beaches on one side and expensive shops, restaurants, and hotels on the other.
The Carlton Hotel
The town is known for beautiful people, and the individual beaches cater to many different segments of this crowd. Below: Waterskiing off The Carlton’s pier.
The Ondine Beach, recognizable by its yellow umbrellas, is where the boys go. We went. This is not Gil’s scene, but he was playing Auntie Mame to me, to make sure I got off on the right foot.
Gil had a four-door, 1959, silver-grey, Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I. His fantasy would be to take the rear doors off, line up American sailors, and have them parade, not quite the word, through the back, while he “admired” them.
It turned out that the American Fleet visited Cannes in May – that was the reason he came; not one other!
The Ondine was my scene. The Carlton Hotel, the scene of lots of festivities during the film festival is on the left, below.
The Ondine Beach. The Carlton Hotel is on the left.
The Ondine was renowned for gorgeous guys and appreciative gentlemen usually “of a certain age.” The guys were young, lithe, some athletic, all street-wise.
They would check in to the Majestic Hotel, also on the Croisette, for the summer. They had no money, but the management knew they would pay at the end of the summer - that was the tradition. There was almost a union, and the “stewards” would see the boys met their obligations or they would never want to be seen in Cannes again.
The cuisine at the Ondine was excellent. The restaurant, cuddled against the street, was air-conditioned and elegant, except… one could dine in a bathing suit – the smaller, the better. I ate at my beach chair on the sand.
The Ondine was one of those places where, sooner or later, you would see everyone you had ever known… especially in the gay world. Those days, being gay was chic. It was like being in an exclusive, international club. There were only so many places around the world that catered to beautiful, well-mannered, educated, and sophisticated gay people.
Today, like Trump’s populism, all the goodness has gone out of it; but at the end of the sixties and well into the eighties, being gay was fun and exciting. It needn’t be fussed over, or be paraded; it had nothing to do with “pride;” it was natural, and a world that opened fabulous doors to more fabulous adventures.
There were one or two gay bars in Cannes, but, in truth, there were so many gay people in town, every establishment was virtually gay. One of the bars was covered with murals of come-hither, young men. Sex on a stick!
The next day, outside The Carlton, a man was selling pictures of similar boys. He turned out to be:
Biography: Antonin Ivanovitch Soungouroff
The following biographical information has been provided by David Kwiat, researcher:
Antonin Soungouroff (1894 - 1976) was born in Russia but settled in France where he became well known for his portraits of attractive young men, particularly young fisherman around Cannes. Indeed, Soungouroff was quite well known as a gay artist who unabashedly dealt with themes and images relating to gay life and culture. He became friends with many prominent writers and artists including Jean Cocteau, Christian Berard, and Roger Peyrefitte.
And his Untitled, Etruscan-red, pencil drawing, is, right now, hanging to the left of my desk.
The Edouard VII was a “find.” Gil found it several years before. It was run by a sweet couple. I don’t remember how many rooms there were, but mine looked out on the sea, had a fridge, an armoire, and a comfortable bed. The best thing - it was cheap.
Gil kept cheap, white, bubbly wine in his fridge – the sailors thought it was Champagne.
I ran into an American friend from London. He was young and blond and behaved rather outrageously. He was “married” to an academe from Williams College. We were on the beach; he asked me, showing off his new watch, “Can I wear sapphires on the beach?”
His nickname became “Diamond Lil.” I named a sparkly boat after him ten years later.
Another American lad appear on the beach one day. Oh my, he was green. We took him to the muraled bar to show him the ropes.
We sat at the bar; an older guy offered him a drink. He rushed to down it.
I put my hand on his arm and said, “Do you know what it means if you drink that?”
Thinking of me at The Top of The Mark in San Francisco in 1960, I said, “Accepting a drink indicates that you are accepting everything that may follow. Are you willing to go that far?”
He turned it down. Live and learn.
Gil and I decided that the end to a perfect day in Cannes was to walk up into the old town, pick one of Le Maschou’s eight checked-clothed tables, preferably one on the sidewalk, and tell the young waiter, “entrecote,” “poussin,” or “côtes d’agneau.” You see, everything at La Maschou comes grilled over a hardwood fire.
Once seated, you are brought a good, inexpensive claret, and a virtual cornucopia of crudités with a soft, slightly bitter homemade cheese, and an anchovy dip. This is accompanied by a baguette that has been toasted over the hot coals.
Next, some homemade jambon du pays (a salt-cured raw ham) and melon, and some more bread.
Finally, you get either a perfectly grilled steak, baby chicken, or lamb chops, served with a potato roasted in its skin from deep inside the embers. Finish this with a crême caramel.
Deceptively simple, and deliciously memorable, Le Maschou is run by an older man and his much younger boyfriend.
[Returning thirty year later, I discovered a similar pair running the place… except the older man had been the much younger one I knew, and there was a new, much younger boyfriend stoking the fire!]
At the end of May, Gil wasn’t feeling very strong. He had angina. His Silver Cloud is a heavy car and it’s a long drive on Route Nationale 7. I was tired and looking forward to a big scotch and a decent dinner.
Gil suggested we pull into the next town. Hardly a town, the village consisted of a railroad station and a teeny inn across the street. He looked at me and said, “Never mind, they have a couple of clean bedrooms and a pleasant dining room.”
We checked in at a diminutive desk overshadowed by a huge, grinning man wearing a chef’s toque. He winked and said he’d seen us coming through town and was sure we were heading for his place. “There aren’t that many Rolls-Royces around here.”
Showered and changed, I met Gil at the top of the stairs; I couldn’t wait for that scotch. The check-in desk was now the bar; I asked for a double Dewar’s on-the-rocks.
The man’s grin vanished, “Not if you’re dining here tonight, but you can have a dry sherry.”
Gil kicked me before I could say anything, and introduced me to Jean somethingorother (I didn’t get his last name).
We dined in a plain white room with sparkling crystal, shining silver, and stiff linens. Dinner was sublime, but, at less than ten dollars a head including wine, I wondered how they could ever have a future.
Strolling in the summer air after dinner, I picked out the sign on the train station... Roanne.
I’d just dined at Troisgros!
From Wikipedia: Since 1957, Jean and Pierre Troisgros have played a significant role in the history of French cuisine. Pierre's son, Michel Troisgros, has played a major role since 1983. Michel Troisgros is the owner of the restaurant now called "La Maison Troisgros," in Roanne. The restaurant has been awarded Three Michelin stars since 1968 and was named the "best French restaurant in the world" by Gault Millau.
We rolled into London, and the rest of the year sped by in a flurry of recruiting, training, and sales meetings. My team always sat in the front row at Albert’s or Lionel Schiff’s (Albert's direct supervisor), or Roy’s sales meetings. We sat apart; we were the elite… anyway, that was my slogan.
I was interviewing recruits every 45 minutes all day long, and running training classes in the evenings every week. No wonder we were growing.
In time, Associates became Supervisors, and they took over the interviewing. I continued to teach the first night of every training class – “You and ILI/IOS,” otherwise known as “Happy Hour,” and Wednesday nights – “Closing the Sale.”
My life developed a whole new rhythm. I asked my men what they expected of me. They said, “Just live life the way you do, that will recruit ‘em.”
So, as the Supervisors took over, I moved around town in my square bowler and Rolls-Royce; lunching at Arethusa on the King’s Road, getting my hair tweaked every day at Sweeney’s (very cute guys and good coffee), a fitting at Nutter’s, a few shops on Bond Street, a gallery or two, and a stroll through Harrods.
One Saturday on the terrace at Arethusa’s, I got kissed on the back of the neck.
Turning around, as others clapped, I smiled at George Hamilton who had arrived with Bernie Cornfeld. I air-kissed him back.
After dark, I often dined at AD8, run by Mark McCormick, and one of England’s first male to female sex changes, April Ashley.
If their business was quiet, I’d slip a 20 pound note in Mark’s pocket. April was sweet.
She had an accident once, and lost a foot. But she recovered, and, when asked, said, “I’m back on my foot!”
Another favorite was La Poule au Pot – good French bistro food and a charming maître - Marc. I took my mother there once for lunch. Knowing well her habits, I whispered, “Please don’t embarrass me by asking for a doggie bag.” She did!
Loved Joe Allen’s for real American hamburgers, and Trader Vic’s at the Hilton. Those days, my ultimate romantic dinner for courting a new guy, would be to go to Vic’s. Their exotic drinks were fun. I loved their “Scorpion” with a gardenia blossom floating in it.
A friend had a flower shop in the Hilton. I bought a gardenia bush for the flat. The aroma was marvelous. The next month, I had a hot date, and off we went to Vic’s. I told him he’d love the “Scorpion.” The drinks arrived with… carnations!
“What happened to the gardenias?” I pouted.
“Some bloody Yank bought the bush.” the waiter spat.
Weekends: Julie’s in Portland Road, or very gay, La Popote were great fun for Sunday lunch.
As the year drew down, I hosted Christmas dinner at The Carlton Tower (they knew how to do an American, Christmas dinner) for friends from my many haunts – a bartender from The Rockingham, another from Yours and Mine (sometimes called The Sombrero), a waiter from Vic’s, another from Joe Allen’s, the hat check boy from the A & B Club, the assistant maître from The Ritz, some kids from the Royal Ballet, Wayne and his friends whom I first met in 1963, and so on. We had a gay old time!
Highlights of 1969:
My driver, Graham, left on January 21.
[I don’t remember the circumstances but, as we are in touch on Facebook, I’ll ask for the details. I remember he had a relationship with a very attractive French guy, Jean-Luc, and together, they built up a successful company selling unique sneakers called Kickers. After I returned to the United Sates, we lost track of each other until just a few months ago on Facebook.]
Graham, after The Watergardens
I hired his replacement the same day – Mr. Grey. He was rather dour but professional. I know he was wary of my capriciousness. Later, my father chastised me for calling him Mr. but I didn’t know how to backtrack to just Grey. Grey lived out.
I also hired a black butler from Jamaica; he moved into the guestroom Graham had just vacated.
He was a good cook, skilled with knives… he used to put one under his mattress “to cut the pain.” When he left, he left a “Bombe Surprise” in the oven – apt!
January was dominated by the beginnings of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. Pat Minihan was nervous, but sales were still very good. Having made a big investment to build the operation there and wanting to justify continuing to receive overrides, I flew over to give moral support.
Albert Moth and his brother came along. We had a great sales meeting and dinner at The Culloden Hotel near my old home in Crawfordsburn and, decided to make a flying day-trip to the Republic the next day… with me piloting in the left seat!
Albert is big, his brother is bigger; we hardly made it off the ground in Enniskillen – the sheep were running faster than we were.
February 1969. I decided I wanted a dog; Saxon arrived tripping over his ears - he was a Basset Hound. Of course, I didn’t have the time to properly care for and exercise him, so, eventually, I gave him to Grey.
Besides going to Sweeney’s for daily pampering, I used to have my hair cut in the flat by a man just starting out in business in town. He was opening a salon and a school; his name was Vidal Sassoon. Life was like that.
March 1969. A keen pilot, I started taking multi-engine training at Elstree. After the clear skies of Ireland, flying near London was no fun. I bought a special radio to listen to the flights I could see from my balcony. On March second, I watched and listened to the maiden flight of the Concorde.
Roy invited me to teach at the upcoming Supervisors Conference to be held at Pembroke College, Oxford University on March 23-26. We had come up with the idea of using college residences to house our delegates. So, I became a lecturer at Oxford – I think it is still on my C.V.! Each faculty member was given a silver cup; mine now holds my toothbrush here in Thailand.
I started working on organizing one at Queens College, Belfast, and another manager was trying to organize something at Oxford.
Douglas Clark, ILI/IOS Divisional Manager for the Midlands, organized a conference at Manchester University; the keynote speaker was the CEO of Rio Tinto Zinc. That’s on my C.V. too.
I met a young real estate broker, John Stock. I love to move – name’s “cart-er” isn’t it? I wanted an address in tune with my growing presence; a place that would help recruitment, and “impress the natives.”
John got to work and came up with the perfect place. On April 4, I moved from The Watergardens into the ground floor flat at 18 Grosvenor Square.
During the Second World War, General Dwight D. Eisenhower established a military headquarters at 20 Grosvenor Square, and lived in number 18. Between my living room windows, there is a blue historical plaque so certifying.
During this time, the square was nicknamed "Eisenhower Platz."
Also, almost in front of my front door is the only statue in the world depicting President Roosevelt standing. As you know, he had polio, and could only stand with the aid of metal braces under his trousers.
Let me pause in my story for a moment.
The following influenced the rest of the time I lived in London: 1969-1971, 1973-1979, and 1986-1989. I have emboldened places I have lived.
Who owns London - The Great Estates
Who owns leasehold London?
London is a singular city in many ways, not least because the bulk of its most expensive leasehold property is owned by just a handful of families.
The Grosvenor Estate
Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, the 6th Duke of Westminster is London’s wealthiest landlord. He and his family own around 300 acres of land, including some of London’s most exclusive addresses, which make up part of the Grosvenor Estate. The estate is most famous for its landmark residential properties in Mayfair and Belgravia. The best known of Grosvenor’s properties in Mayfair are in and around Mount Street, Grosvenor Street, North Audley Street, Duke Street, and Park Street. In Belgravia, Grosvenor owns freehold properties in Eaton Square, Motcomb Street, Elizabeth Street, Pimlico Road, and Ebury Street.
The Cadogan Estate
The 8th Earl of Cadogan comes a close second to the Duke of Westminster in the London property stakes. Cadogan Estates Ltd is particularly associated with the area around Cadogan Square, Sloane Street and the King’s Road in Chelsea, where the company owns the freehold on a mix of residential, retail and commercial property. It also owns property in London’s exclusive Knightsbridge.
The Howard de Walden Estate
The Howard de Walden Estate owns, manages and leases around 92 acres of property in Marylebone. This covers the streets running east to west from Portland Place to Marylebone High Street and north to south from Marylebone Road to Wigmore Street. The Estate’s portfolio is largely made up of Georgian property, including Harley Street and a mix of residential and retail space particularly in and around Marylebone High Street.
The Portman Estate
To the west of Marylebone High Street, are the 110 acres of London land owned by the Portman Estate. With a history dating back to the 16th century, the Estate covers Oxford Street from Marble Arch to Orchard Street, from the Edgeware Road in the west to Baker Street in the east and north almost to Crawford Street. It includes Portman Square, Manchester Square and the residential properties located in Bryanston and Montagu Square.
The evolving role of the Estate
Each of these great London estates has survived for more than 200 years despite dramatic changes in society, the swings to right and left of government policy, two world wars and financial booms and busts as well as changes to the tax regime, landlord and tenant legislation, and successive town and country planning acts. This is a testament to the business dexterity of the families that own these estates and their ability to change with the times, as well as their undoubted desire to ‘keep it in the family’ and provide for future generations.”
While there are “freehold” properties in London, those that one can buy outright, most of London is owned by the four estates detailed above. They do not sell their properties. The properties remain in the estate but you may live in them if you pay the asking “ground rent.”
The flat at 18 Grosvenor Square had three years to run on its current 21-year lease. Whoever had been occupying it, had vacated before the lease had expired - probably left the country and did not have time to market it themselves.
John had good contacts within the Grosvenor Estate and negotiated on my behalf to pay a higher than asked-for ground rent (still a negligible 800 pounds per year) in return for a new 21-year lease in my name.
I met the head of the Grosvenor Estate legal department, Paul Littlewood, and signed the deal. Little did I know it then, but this was the beginning of a long and profitable relationship.
To give you a clue to what’s coming, when I moved out, there were many years yet to run on the lease, and I could realize a twenty-one thousand-pound premium for it. Later, the man who bought it, sold it on for fifty thousand pounds. And so goes the London property market, then and now.
Importantly, the U.K. Government does not charge a tax on the premium, as long as it involves one’s primary residence. Now, isn’t that a pretty penny – more like a million, if one stays at it long enough and doesn’t mine carting their goods from place to place, paying more ground rent than asked, and thereby gaining a new lease. In later years, it turned out to be a new lease on life!
Back to April 1969:
18 Grosvenor Square was on the north side of the square, cattycorner from the U.S. Embassy which was on the west end.
The Embassy has a huge eagle on its cornice.
I used to say that in the event of trouble, it would flap its wings and the whole building would take off. Trouble came soon enough!
The flat consisted of a large entrance hall that extended straight ahead toward the bedrooms. Entering the front door, one turns left, and the wide hall extends to the living room on the left, and the dining room on the right. Through the dining room was the butler’s pantry and kitchen. Out the back of the kitchen, one would be in the hall again, narrower now, that went past the library, master bathroom, master bedroom, guest room and bath, and on to three maid’s rooms and bath.
The living room, with fireplace, looked out through twin windows, onto the square.
On the left wall was what looked like a Carot – an oil painting that went floor to ceiling and took up the whole wall - 9 feet high x 15 feet long! It was a landscape in the French Barbizon School style, and came with the flat (I don’t think one could get it out, anyway.)
The hall was so wide, it could easily accommodate a receptionist’s desk, and the living room was large enough for a secretary’s station just inside the wide entrance.
It made a perfect office, and the dining room could be a conference room.
On May 2, I hired a couple - a cook/housekeeper and a houseman/butler. Grey was still my chauffeur.
On the eighth, I flew to Manchester for three days of Executive Council Meetings while the couple painted the guestroom a very dark blue, and installed blackout curtains – my parents were coming to visit in less than a week, and the teeniest light would keep my father up all night.
I ran the usual recruiting ad every month. While Supervisors were doing the interviewing, I rotated them so their personal sales wouldn’t suffer. The team was now generating £200,000, sums assured (face amount), per month!
The average sale was a £1000 Dover Plan; it provided £1000 of guaranteed life insurance cover, which, upon death or surrender, would be augmented, or not, by the value of the underlying equity units. It required £100 of premium per year, most which was used to acquire the equity units. Therefore, £200,000 of sales, represented probably 200 individual new clients per month. I needed an assistant and a secretary!
I started interviewing secretaries and finally hired a charming, sophisticated, highly educated woman, Elizabeth Hooker. She started on May 5 at a salary of £25 a week (the same as my chauffeur; three times what a shop assistant earns). Among her many social connections – her parents were certainly of the manor born – her sister-in-law was Elizabeth Taylor’s personal assistant in Beverly Hills.
My parents came to visit for a week on May 13, and that afternoon, Grosvenor Square was full of marching mobs protesting the Vietnam War. We had “ring-side seats” without leaving the living room!
On the 19th, I gave a dinner at the flat for my parents, Roy and Buthaynah Kirkdorffer, and Brian Taylor (A new ILI/IOS Associate who inherited a London wine business and has the most amazing “nose” I’ve ever come across – he can identify wine, vintage, and from which part of the estate it came.) and his mink-coated, American wife, Marlene. The flat worked perfectly, guest flow was smooth, and the new couple did a great job.
Ken Baruch, an American, be-wigged, abstract painter/IOS Associate, and his Chinese wife, Jennie, who had shared the house with John Herbert, Tony Scott, and I in Koza, Okinawa, came to say hello. They were now living and working in A’dam. Ken had found an excellent wig maker on Bond Street - a great excuse to come visit. Here they are with mother and me.
My parents moved on, the crocuses were coming up in Hyde Park, and it was time for me to get out of town to the sun.
On May 24th, I flew south and checked into my old haunt, the Edouard VII in Cannes.
Next day I was at the Ondine, under a yellow umbrella, when a yellow bikini walked by. Wow!
“Itsy Bitsy, Teenie Weenie, Yellow, Polka Dot Bikini!" The flip side was, “Don’t Dilly Dally, Sally.” I didn’t…
I lunched, wined, and dined, young André for a week. Finally, he stayed over, and we breakfasted too. The Edouard VII has yellow awnings, so everything matched.
He was so cute, I wanted to take him home.
His father was a chemical engineer with his own company based in Cannes. I was 29, Andre was 18. I spoke high-school French with a Genevoise accent. His mustachioed father was wearing a white laboratory coat; he was short, stern, frightening, and Catholic.
“Andre want to be a designer,” I laid out my case. “He needs to go to a good school. The best international school is the Inchbald School of Design in London. I have a successful business in London and will ensure he goes to school and behaves himself.”
The father sat back in his swivel chair and looked at me. He looked at his angelic son.
“Very well,” he said. And that was that.
Andre and I thought my visiting his family in the Dordogne would be the best next move. He could come to London after that. I went back to London, Andre went home to the Dordogne.
I hired an assistant; the younger brother of an interviewee. He was 24. Two months later, he had a heart attack and sought less strenuous work.
For some, June in London means Ascot!
I guess the benefit of having cousins who were the British Ambassador to Washington, and the American Ambassador to the Court of St. James, was that one could easily have access to the Royal Enclosure at Ascot.
I went to Moss Bros. (from whom one rented all sorts of dress) and was appropriately suited for the 18th. On the day, I drank lots of Champagne, munched strawberries, and talked horses, but more importantly, that evening, I dined with Billy McCarty for the first time.
Billy McCarty Cooper was a long-necked, long-torsoed beauty from Florida. He was a budding designer; I had designs on him. While we never became more than “kissing cousins,” we were good friends, and once, I left a suit in his closet!?
Billy’s tale is long and curious, and certainly not long enough.
He became one of the most prominent decorators in London in the 1960's. He moved here 1963 to work for David Hicks. Two years later, he opened his own firm, William McCarty Associates, to design interiors and furnishings. There were many commissions forthcoming for Rothschild drawing rooms to Vidal Sassoon salons in Beverly Hills.
Billy made a hit wherever he went to the extent that, in 1972, he was adopted by Douglas Cooper, the great British historian of the Cubist period, and a very wealthy art collector. The proceedings took place in France, where, by law, a son is automatically entitled to at least one half of his father's estate.
Douglas bought him a flat in London (along with one for himself right next door) and, later, two apartments on New York's Upper East Side. Financial assistance was provided by access to a Swiss bank account.
The Cooper art collection was extraordinary. I visited Douglas to see the famous Picasso wall at his Château de Castille – a magnificent country estate in Argilliers, Gard, France.
After Cooper sold the Castille, he bought two apartments — one for him, one for Billy — in Monte Carlo. Billy decorated them and Cooper moved in in 1977.
On April 1, 1984, with Billy at his side, Douglas Cooper died in a London hospital; he was just past 73. The New York Times listed his "adopted son, William McCarty-Cooper" as his sole survivor.
Everyone was speculating on how much the "boy" got. Billy’s share was appraised at $34,563,530.
At first, he wanted both the money and the collection. But soon it became apparent the collection would have to go. He began selling large portions.
He sold the apartments in London, and took a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel ($5000+ a week) until he found a house so grand that even the guesthouse had its own pool.
A sense of urgency seemed to pervade Billy's spending and entertaining. We wondered why. In 1984, just a few months after he'd inherited Cooper's fortune, we learned that he was HIV+.
In 1986, Billy donated an important proto-Cubist Picasso painting, Three Women Under a Tree, to the Picasso Museum in Paris. For which, he was awarded the Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Government.
In the late fall of 1989, he got a nosebleed caused by a tumor in the sinus cavities. The dangerous operation required a squadron of surgeons and took many, many hours.
Undaunted, he was back in Beverly Hills by February 1990, looking frail but still vigorous. For the next few months, he continued his full life.
Then in February 1991, his health declined steeply. The Cooper Collection was at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in a show that was to end in late April 1991. I went to see him there. He was wearing a bright-red bandana to cover the baldness resulting from his medical treatments, and he was as enthusiastic as a pal could be.
In mid-May, he suffered a stroke, and on the 30th, Billy McCarty-Cooper died “of complications from AIDS.” He was 53 years old.
The estate he'd inherited had grown in value and he was very generous to his friends and relations. John Galliher, who played a major role in my life, and whom you will meet later in this chapter, was left an annuity of $50,000 a year for the rest of his life.
Back at Grosvenor Square in June 1969:
The staff couple turned out to be not so good as couples go, and, as couples go, they went. I hired a German housekeeper. I didn’t need a cook much - I ate out every night.
I had quite an entourage; I didn’t like to be alone, and I didn’t think it looked right. My favorite haunts were Mandy’s, a bar near Covent Garden, and The Sombrero, otherwise known as Yours & Mine.
So, every evening, a small group would gather at 18 Grosvenor Square for drinks around 7:30 for 8:00 (as the English say), then we’d pile in my Roller and go to AD8, or La Poule au Pot, or La Popote, or Joe Allen’s, etc. I didn’t love touristy places, or the really swell joints that took several days or weeks or months to get a table. My favorites usually held back a table every night until past 10, so I was always sure of a good place to dine. (I usually picked up the tab, thus a place in my group was always in demand. My English friends were successful in their own rights, but in 1969, few earned the kind of money one could earn with ILI/IOS.) I didn’t mind it a bit, but if I got the slightest whiff of being taken advantage of, that groupie was out, fast.
After dinner, if there were just a couple of us, we’d head for Mandy’s. Along the way, I’d somehow grown out of the A&B Club and The Rockingham. Soho was much less attractive these days, and Grey had difficulty maneuvering the narrow streets, let alone finding a space in which he could wait.
Mandy’s was just a bar, good music but no dancing, and with very friendly people. I never knew anyone there, so every time was a lottery. This time, I won! Moving around the crowded floor was a beau blond. Abercrombie & Fitch tweed jacket; blue, button-down, Brooks Bros. shirt – heaven.
Of course, he was American; of course, he came from Westchester County… and he was attracted to me! He was with another American traveler. They were moving on; we exchanged telephone numbers on the fly – Richard Herst, White Plains 9-1107, oh my! Let’s see what happens. What can happen? He lived in White Plains, New York, where I took drum lessons at the age of ten.
After dinner, if there were several of us, we’d go to Yours & Mine. It was down Kensington High Street - look for the neon sombrero. I don’t know why it had two names – Yours & Mine and The Sombrero, but I loved it and made it mine for many years.
The routine was simple. We’d pull up in the Roller, Grey would open the door. Inevitably, there would be a line of fifty guys waiting to get in through the doorman. We’d get out of the car and, paying no attention to the line, immediately descend the stairs to the door which was opened with glee.
In time, the management built a large banquette for me and my gang. It was to the left of the entrance and could hold a dozen of us. It was held for me every night until midnight. I’d often arrive just past midnight, and all the people who’d just been seated would be shooed away. Not the way to make friends, but I had my friends with me. I was drinking double Dewar’s and the boys behind the bar would keep them flowing. Again, I picked up the tab.
Often, upon arriving, my favorite waiter would tell me that I had left without paying the night before. (How would I know?) So, the evening would start with my paying for last night, and running up another big tab tonight. I’m sure he was usually right. When I felt like leaving, I’d climb over the back of the banquette and be gone up the stairs and into the car before anyone realized. Often with a lad in tow.
Of great interest to me, was that Yours & Mine attracted all the “slants” (my affectionate nickname for lads from the Orient), probably because anyone who liked boys from the Far East or Southeast Asia, went there looking for them - the two groups attracted each other. And me with my car, my group of attractive friends (who did not share my penchant for slants – I was well-known for it), and banquette, had the advantage; even over the likes of Tennessee Williams who had the same penchant. I saw him there quite often, as well as other stars of “stage, screen, and radio.”
To explain my penchant for boys from the East is still a guessing game for me. I suppose because I got my start in this style of life while I was 12, and reinforced it at prep school when I was 14, I must have a leaning toward youthfulness. But I have never been a pederast. Nor have I ever gone to bed with someone older than me.
Let me explain something by example. I was living in Coconut Grove, Florida. I was 34, and new in town. One night, I wore an immaculate beige suit, and tie, to the local gay disco, and the most stunning boy in the room made a beeline for me. I took him home and when he took off his shirt, he was covered with thick matted hair. Ugh!
I tried to explain that that was a total “no, no” for me. I couldn’t help it, it just was. In fury, he twisted the TV antenna off the trunk of my car before disappearing into the night.
99% of Orientals have virtually no body hair, and most don’t even shave. Therefore, no creepy crawlies, and very little to capture sweat, and thus, smell; just velvety smoothness that delights me.
Some people refer to Orientals as Asians, and, in the gay world, vice versa, depending upon the search engine - not in my book. The Orient is the eastern and southeastern part of Asia. The Orient includes countries and regions like Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
Most “slants” have a preponderance of Chinese genes. Those are the genes that seem to discourage body hair and encourage smooth skin.
On the other hand, “Asians” come from Asia, and Asia is a much larger continent which includes places like India, Pakistan, Tibet, Nepal, and most of Russia. These peoples are often characterized by substantial body hair. As is said in scientific circles: “not my type!”
And, of course, I’m just talking physical preferences here. In any event, it’s sort of difficult to get much beyond the physical when the music is so loud you can’t hear yourself think!
Those were my nights; my days were devoted to my other passion – the world of ILI/IOS. For me life was simple – bed or business!
It’s June 30, 1969 and Cecil is coming to London tomorrow.
It is virtually “de rigueur” in international café society to know the story of…
Les Deux Cecils
Unknown to the world in general, in his day, Cecil Everley was a well-known name in international society. 1969 was “in his day.”
Cecil started out life as a very young and naïve, English footman in a great English house belonging to the 7th Earl of Beauchamp.
One houseparty weekend, the guests included Count Pecci-Blunt, also called Cecil, who was an American, very stylish, and married to a woman of great Italian wealth.
At the first dinner, Pecci-Blunt was smitten by the sight of the young, blond, willowy footman - Cecil Everley, performing his duties passing the tray.
In time, Pecci-Blunt took the footman under his wing, swept him off to the Riviera, gave him his villa, La Rondine, on Cap-d’Ail near Monte Carlo, and a house in California.
He also began introducing his young man around to the hostesses who dominated the social world of Europe in the 1930s. One of them was the very rich Daisy (Mrs. Reginald) Fellowes, an heiress to the American Singer Sewing Machine fortune.
One day Daisy sent Cecil Pecci-Blunt an invitation to a ball she was giving in Monte Carlo. In his acceptance, Pecci-Blunt asked his hostess if she might also invite his friend, Mr. Everley. She rejected the request - she “didn’t have a place at table.”
However, a few days later, a male dinner guest suddenly cancelled, and she telephoned Pecci-Blunt to say Mr. Everley could come.
Daisy told her friends that “Les Deux Cecils” would be attending together. Ahem.
(By way of background, Mrs. Fellowes had recently decided that she could no longer afford to maintain her ocean-going yacht, the Sister Anne.)
The glamorous night came and the young, former footman, Mr. Everley, was excited at the prospect of dining as a guest of the rich and famous Daisy Fellowes.
A couple of hours into the evening, Everley, who was known as good looking but boring, approached her table and after exuberantly praising the party, asked Daisy: “Do you miss your yacht?”
To which she replied, with frosty hauteur, “Do you miss your tray?”
- That’s the story. –
The relationship of Les Deux Cecils somehow endured even in the face of the younger’s silly sissiness. Cecil began to paint, and became known in art circles. When Pecci-Blunt died, he left Everley a substantial sum to support his soigné lifestyle, and he augmented his income by selling his pictures in galleries in Paris, London, and America.
He may have been shallow and silly to many of that crowd, but his rose-colored viewpoint gave him a somewhat endearing, and romantic innocence; and Cecil had a certain style.
Every year, the Hotel St. James and Albany in Paris would remove its furniture from a suite, and move Cecil’s furniture and furnishings, up from the basement, where they had been stored all year, and hang his paintings and arrange his silver in the suite for the month of August – very stylish!
Cecil lived into his seventies. I visited him at La Rondine in 1986 with James (whom you will meet in 1979 in Chapter Fourteen).
Ted Carter and James Myhre at La Rondine, Cap d'Ail 1986
Cecil’s partner was a man always described as “a hairdresser from Florida” in a tone of voice that would make Daisy Fellowes sound positively generous. Ailing at the end of his life, Cecil was attended to by George. When Cecil died, he left everything Count Pecci-Blunt had left him, to George who sold everything then and there, took the money, went back to Florida, and was never heard from again.
George, Cecil, and James at La Rondine, Cap-d’Ail 1986
Now you know, and… Cecil arrives tomorrow, July 1, 1969, at my flat in Grosvenor Square.
Another aside: We’ve not talked about drugs. I don’t take drugs… unless you consider poppers a drug.
Poppers (amyl nitrite) is a non-addictive inhalant, and certainly is fun! I was introduced to it in 1967 by an American kid who worked at Christie’s Rockefeller Center. I was very put-off at first; I was very hard-on soon after. But, not knowing what they were nor where to get them, they remained out of my periphery until 1969.
Wikipedia, 2017: In the United Kingdom, poppers are widely available and frequently (legally) sold in gay clubs/bars, sex shops, drug paraphernalia head shops, over the Internet, and in markets.
I don’t like grass. I like much less the American habit of sharing a joint. Elegant dinners I’ve been to, have two joints placed above the horizontal dessert spoon and fork. I’m told Mrs. Jack Kennedy set that fashion. But I still don’t like grass. I find it is an anti-social downer.
Hashish is the opposite. Morocco, handy, is a good place to acquire the taste. Yes, taste - one eats it as readily as smokes it.
Wikipedia, 2017: Hash is an extracted cannabis product composed of compressed or purified preparations of stalked resin glands, called trichomes, from the plant. It contains the same active ingredients as marijuana—such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids—but often in higher concentrations than the unsifted buds or leaves from which the marijuana is made. Hashish may be solid or resinous depending on the preparation; pressed hashish is usually solid.
But, know this, I have never smuggled. I shop domestically to provide the hospitality my guests deserve, and… Cecil’s arriving tomorrow.
Now, the only things that are straight about Cecil are his laces – he is nearly the most straight-laced person I have ever met! I need to do something about that.
The German housekeeper hasn’t a clue; she’ll do as I tell her.
I send Grey to pick up Cecil at Heathrow, and call La Popote that we’ll be two for dinner.
Cold artichokes vinaigrette, cold salmon mayonnaise, hot crème brûlée; lovely dinner.
Home for a demitasse before going dancing.
The housekeeper makes hash coffee; I make small talk. I don’t tell Cecil that there’s anything special in the coffee. No need; there’s no effect.
This is my first try, demitasse-wise… still no effect.
I ask her to make two more cups. Just as I’ve had the first sip of my second demi, the first one hits!
Cecil is doing a soft-shoe dance in the entrance of the living room while singing into a make-believe microphone.
I am on the floor, doubled up with laughter.
This continued for an hour. We didn’t go dancing.
Cecil was staying at the Connaught; he came over for breakfast.
“Not funny; shouldn’t have done that; no warning, not funny.” – the laces got straighter and straighter.
Then a wink, then a giggle, then… “Can we do that again tonight?”
That night, there were eight of us. We never made it to Yours & Mine.
The hashish we had was a tablet-size chunk, about 5 inches by 7 inches and ¾ of an inch thick. It lasted a long time. I don’t think I’ve had any since.
Red wine’s been my drug of choice for many years.
July 2, 1969 - The phone rang at 4 AM. It was Richard. Richard Herst from Mandy’s… from White Plains; Brooks Bros.-button-down Richard! Touching base. We bantered and joked for an hour. I nicknamed him, “The Hard-Hearted Hooker from Houston – HHHH.”
Next day I gave lunch to new buddies, Maggie Whigham (Margaret, the Duchess of Argyll,) and Barone van den Bosch, the Belgian Ambassadress: Bloody Mary’s; Cold artichokes – “like a good investment, there’s more left over than when you began;” my own hot, quiche Lorraine and spinach salad with bleu cheese dressing; and fresh strawberries soaked in orange juice and kirsch.
Wikipedia: Ethel Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll (née Whigham; 1 December 1912 – 25 July 1993) was a British socialite, best remembered for a celebrated divorce case in 1963 from her second husband, the 11th Duke of Argyll, which featured salacious photographs and scandalous stories.
In 1928, David Niven had sex with the 15-year-old Margaret Whigham, during a holiday at Bembridge on the Isle of Wight. To the fury of her father, she became pregnant as a result. Margaret was rushed into a London nursing home for a secret termination. "All hell broke loose," remembered her family cook, Elizabeth Duckworth. Margaret didn’t mention the episode in her 1975 memoirs, but she continued to adore Niven until the day he died.
“I had wealth, I had good looks. As a young woman I had been constantly photographed, written about, flattered, admired, included in the Ten Best-Dressed Women in the World list, and mentioned by Cole Porter in the words of his hit song "You're the Top". The top was what I was supposed to be. I had become a duchess and mistress of an historic castle. My daughter had married a duke. Life was apparently roses all the way.”
Photograph of the Duchess by Allan Warren
Independence Day – I guess Maggie wanted more. She picked me up at 6 PM and we went black-tie partying!
On July eighth, I took my new men on a tour of the ILI Administrative Headquarters at Wembley. The company had just taken delivery of the latest, huge, IBM 360 computer which was housed on its own climate-controlled, specially sprung floor. Today’s desktops have more computing power!
On the tenth, I took Cecil to the airport. He’d be at the St. James and Albany in Paris all next month.
[As life would have it, Cecil discovered that his property in Cap d’Ail had been part of the tobacco plantation that had served the Royal family of Monaco, and… the conditions were perfect for growing cannabis! ‘Nuff said!!]
On July 15, Tom Boyd from Northern Ireland arrived for his first visit to London. You’ll remember from Chapter Six, that I met Tom at the Ulster Flying Club. He’s a dignified, middle-aged man who owns a newspaper in Armagh, a town in the center of the country. He was a very smooth pilot, and we flew together often.
Unmarried, he was expected to, and did, live with his mother. As with many terribly conservatively-brought-up Northern Irishmen, Tom was totally unsophisticated and guileless. From our constant double entendres, I knew my life intrigued him and I believe he felt I could somehow set him free to discover himself for the first time. A not un-responsible undertaking, I was going to show him my London. He joined my group.
I gave a party on July 20. We gathered around the TV…”Eagle has landed!”
Apollo 11 astronaut, Neil Armstrong, became the first man to walk on the moon.
Tom and I joked for years that there were "trans-lunar injections" going on all night long in my flat. I especially remember a stunning, blond lad from South Africa who was so happy to be there. I asked him, “Happy enough to shave off your mustache?” He did! Memorable night!
August 3-11, 1969 - The Annual IOS Managers Meeting in Geneva.
Bernie Cornfeld at his best – preaching to his choir.
The atmosphere was electric. This was our moment in the sun. We were on the verge of our $110 million public offering - the largest IPO in European history, and the third largest in world history.
Bernie announced that by the end of the year,
the Corporate Statistics for 1969 would be as follows:
• Sales: Over $3 billion
• Corporate Assets: $66 million
• Mutual Funds: $2.5 billion in assets
• Life Insurance: $1 billion in force
• Real Estate: $260 million in assets
• Banks and Finance: $200 million
• 30 General Managers responsible for 25,000 career salesmen, and
• $30 million projected as year-end profit.
We were living proof that there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.
This year’s triumphal series of meetings, speeches, and celebrations included a visit to Bernie’s latest passion – his castle, the Château de Pelly de Cornfeld.
(The wine wasn’t SEC at all, this is just a jab at the
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.)
Lovely; now I had to return to reality.
Journeying from one castle to another, I went to the Dordogne to visit André and his family. It was an important house. There were vast attics with huge beams holding up very steep roofs.
Dinner en famille was almost medieval. Mother and father sat opposite each other at the center of the long sides of the forty-foot dining room table; the children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, and dozens of cousins ranged toward either end by relation and age. At the ends, the nannies were the overseers.
There was only one jarring note – the Louis XV chairs, in fact everything that was upholstered, was covered with “Rayco plastic seat covers.”
André and I came back to London together. I saw that he was properly enrolled at Inchbald, rented a nice room, and got started on a studious life. A romance was not on our cards.
[I saw him from time to time. After he graduated, he worked for a time at Alistair Colvin on the King’s Road. Alistair was a Swiss friend who, in 1976 was helping me do up my townhouse in Hyde Park Gardens. I think that was the last time I saw André. But look at him now…!]
From: The New York Times Style Magazine
Extract – “In 1969, Dubreuil left France for London to study at the prestigious Inchbald School of Design. After completing his course work, he took a series of jobs dealing antiques, which helped him cultivate a passion for furniture and design. … from an early age, the 62-year-old French furniture designer… Today his pieces can command six-figure price tags, his clients include Chanel and Louis Vuitton… These days he is content to run his business from an old converted barn on the estate. Here, Dubreuil works alongside five assistants and is very much involved in every aspect of the creation of each work — whether it’s a museum-worthy piece or… He refuses to be referred to as a designer — he sees himself as more of an artisan. But then he reconsiders even that.”
In August, due to my team’s efforts in London, combined with the Northern Ireland operation, and my cumulative group and personal business, I became an ILI/IOS Divisional Manager!
Also in August, British troops were deployed in Northern Ireland to restore law and order.
Roy invited me to speak at the upcoming Supervisors Conference to be held, this time, at Churchill College, Cambridge University September 14–17. So I became a lecturer at Cambridge – It’s still on my C.V. too!
With the conference over, I launched a major recruiting and training push – Elizabeth was scheduling appointments every 30 minutes, six days straight!
In October, my parents revisited. Again, there were large demonstrations in the square against the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. The protest became violent.
On the ninth, I flew to Gleneagles in Scotland for 2-day Executive Council Meeting and, on the 21st, I spoke at a Rotary Meeting in Hastings for one of my supervisors, Barry Fletcher.
Providentially, Tom Boyd returned to London on the 30th because on the 31st of October, “The Hard-Hearted Hooker from Houston – HHHH” - Richard Herst arrives! We had dinner à deux at Indigo Jones, then chez moi for a big “Welcome to London” party for Richard.
As Richard, ostensibly, was going to work for ILI/IOS, he attended my training class that commenced November 3rd and threw himself into the spirit of things.
We were getting to know each other; in fact I was falling head over heels in love!
On the 14th, we reprised our meeting at Mandy’s, and were joined by Tom Boyd and Graham Johnson, and his friend, Peter Welsh, a fey banker who affected yellow kid gloves; both were down from Edinburgh. We went on to Yours & Mine.
The next evening, Saturday the 15th, I threw another party at Grosvenor Square, and gave a lunch at La Popote on Sunday the 16th for the group. After drinks that evening, Graham and Richard left together “to go dancing” and didn’t return.
The morning of the 17th, devastated and in tears, I flew to Paris.
The 18th, Elizabeth calls, reports that HHHH has moved out, and I return home.
On the 22nd (JFK’s), braving it, I meet Graham and HHHH at Trader Vic’s for dinner. Graham says he is taking HHHH under his wing. So be it. Graham is too good a friend to stay mad at him for very long.
But I am upset and, like the Austin-Healey in Okinawa, “need a new hat.” I call John Stock and ask him to find me a change of scene.
On November 26th, he shows me a 2-storey with basement, townhouse, at 30 Montagu Square. Even though it’s “north of the park” (less salubrious in some people’s opinion), I think it has great potential.
Peter Schlesinger, who I met at Yours & Mine, comes by with his boyfriend, David Hockney. I remember meeting David in Glasgow where he had been a poster painter. Peter is the boy who appears in some of David’s paintings. In one, he is standing on a diving board looking into the swimming pool.
Wikipedia: David Hockney, OM, CH, RA (born 9 July 1937) is an English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer. An important contributor to the pop art movement of the 1960s, he is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century. In summer 1966, while teaching at UCLA he met Peter Schlesinger, an art student who posed for paintings and drawings, and with whom he was romantically involved.
They joined me the next day for Thanksgiving dinner with friends, Anthony Redmile and Harold Levy.
The next day, I fly to Belfast and meet Graham, flying in from Edinburgh, who is going to speak at my sales meeting the next day. We have a very motivational sales meeting – Graham is at his peak – and that evening, celebrate Tubby Dash’s retirement from the Ulster Flying Club.
On the 30th, Graham and I fly to London, and dance the night away at Yours & Mine.
December 1, I join Graham and HHHH at San Frediano for Graham’s going away dinner – he’s off home to Australia tomorrow. I don’t ask where HHHH is staying.
I told John Stock I would buy Montagu Square as soon as he could sell my Grosvenor Square lease.
It was done in a day. I sold Grosvenor Square for twenty-one thousand pounds. I hadn’t paid anything for the tail-end of the old lease, but offered five hundred pounds more per year for the ground rent in return for a new twenty-one-year lease. (Six months later, the man to whom I sold it, proudly told me he’d sold it on for fifty-thousand! Such is the property market in central London.)
Montagu Square cost thirteen thousand pounds for the fourteen-year lease.
Interviewing and training continues at Grosvenor Square until the 15th. The movers pack me up, and I move into Montagu Square on December 16th.
[I never knew it was such an interesting square until researching this today (April 2017) and came across the following:
34 Montagu Square, Marylebone
is the address of a London ground floor and basement flat once leased by Beatles member Ringo Starr during the mid-1960s. Its location is 1.3 miles (2.09 km) from the Abbey Road Studios, where The Beatles recorded. Many well-known people have lived at the address, including a British Member of Parliament, Richard-Hanbury Gurney, and the daughter of the Marquess of Sligo, Lady Emily Charlotte Browne. The square was named after Elizabeth Montagu, who was highly regarded by London society in the late 18th century.
Paul McCartney recorded demo songs there, such as "I'm Looking Through You", and worked on various compositions, including "Eleanor Rigby". With the help of Ian Sommerville he converted the flat to a studio for Apple Corps' avant-garde Zapple label, recording William S. Burroughs for spoken-word Zapple albums. Jimi Hendrix and his manager, Chas Chandler, later lived there with their girlfriends. Whilst living there, Hendrix composed "The Wind Cries Mary".
For three months, John Lennon and Yoko Ono rented the flat, taking a photograph that would become the cover of their Two Virgins album. After the police raided the flat looking for drugs, the landlord of the property sought an injunction against Starr to prevent it from being used for anything untoward or illegal. Starr sold the lease in February 1969. In 2010, Ono unveiled a blue marker plaque at the site, making it an English Heritage "building of historical interest".
Starr leased Flat 1 in 1965, shortly before his marriage to Maureen Cox. It consisted of the ground floor and lower-ground floor (the cellar/basement in the original house), and entrance was gained by walking down the steps leading to the lower-ground floor door, or the front door at ground level. The ground floor had an en-suite bathroom (with a pink bath sunk into the floor) a bedroom and a sitting room. Downstairs was a kitchen, a bathroom and a bedroom/sitting room, which had its original fireplace. A resident of the square, Lord Mancroft, welcomed Starr, saying to a journalist, "We're a very distinguished square, and I'm sure we'll welcome such a distinguished gentleman and his lady."]
The next evening, Roy throws the Annual ILI/IOS Christmas Party at Grosvenor House (hotel).
Mrs. Barry Schwartz, Roy Kirkdorffer, A.N. Other, John Owen, and Ted Carter
Tom Boyd arrives on the 19th for Christmas fun, and checks into the Cumberland Hotel at Marble Arch, very nearby.
Along with a new home, I buy a new car, and hire a new driver, Baxter.
I used to make regular visits to Frank Dale & Stepsons, the world's oldest independent classic Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialist. Along the way, Ivor Gordon, Chairman and stepson of the founder, helped me acquire some wonderful cars.
I traded my 1953, Hooper-bodied, Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith for a 1949 Roll-Royce Silver Wraith that had a much more pleasing body, and traded that for IND ONE, the long-wheelbase version of the same car. In fact, I am told it is the longest Silver Wraith ever constructed. It was built for the High Commissioner of India in London, and one could almost have a cocktail party in the rear. Here it is with my father and me, and Baxter in front of 30 Montagu Square.
I also bought a little, red Austin Mini for Baxter.
The house was originally a four-storey, single family residence with basement. Somewhere along the line, the top two floors had been hived off to make a flat, and No. 30 became a two-storey flat with basement. Coming in the front door, one can go straight ahead down a corridor leading past a teeny, suede covered alcove on the right, a door on the left that leads to a bedroom and bath, and finally down stairs into a cavernous “playroom.”
Or, coming in the front door, one can go left into a hall with the dining room on the left with two windows looking to the park in the square, the kitchen on the right, then further on the right, an office; then up the curving staircase to, on the left a door into the master bedroom with ensuite bath, and straight ahead into the large, three-windowed drawing room, at the end of which is a Steinway, Concert-Grand piano (came with the house!).
The basement was terrific. It extended under the sidewalk - originally three coal stores, now bedrooms with skylights, accessed from a corridor parallel to the street. Next, going toward the rear, was a 20’x20’ empty room; then, through a door, the cavernous “playroom.”
I get started cleaning up the house. The basement is first on the list. Word spreads, and HHHH calls up to see if there is anything he can do. I can’t imagine why he is still in London, and am still raw about his dumping me. I tell him to get some paint and get to work on the three little bedrooms under the sidewalk.
The weather suddenly turns and it begins to snow – unusual for London, perfect for me… HHHH cuddles up to me and asks to move in. I took great pleasure throwing him out in the snow; I didn’t see him again for years!
Tom and I organised a Christmas tree and had an open house all day Christmas. Lots of kids and IOSers came to call, have eggnogs, and dance. Tom and I left the party for a drink with friends at a cozy pub nearby, and when we returned, a group of policemen were just going to knock – the neighbors thought the noise was a bit loud. We invited them in, and when they left, two kissed me goodnight!
Harold Levy, a retired, American ex-patriot who had lived in Mexico City until the peso was devalued, and in Rome, and now in a magnificent house in Belgravia’s Chester Square, came for lunch on the 30th. I was cooking for the first time since moving in, and discovered too late that the oven didn’t work!
On New Year’s Eve, the piano turner came. No wonder the glorious Steinway came with the house – its spine was fractured. In any event, we had a terrific New Year’s/House Warming Party.
January. Everyone was feeling great. The IOS Underwriting had been a success, and we were looking forward to dynamic growth and lots of celebrations.
I wanted to turn the basement of the new house into a disco, and started by enlarging the doorway between the two rooms. As the crew began removing bricks, Elizabeth’s office floor started to give way. A few steel beams solved the problem. In the end, I put a stage at one end of the cavernous room, built a 5-metre bar in the smaller of the two rooms, and left the corridor to the coal-store bedrooms as it was.
Someone gave me a real, American jukebox to put in the bar, and I made a deal with Pinewood Studios to borrow props and partial sets to decorate the space. The first party had bits from the original Little Shop of Horrors!
I visited the Valbonne, one of the top London clubs, to get ideas. Not my style but it was huge, had several rooms each with different music, and a terrific steel band with whom I made a deal. They were off on Sunday nights, and they agreed to come to me for ten pounds a head for four sets of 30 minutes each.
Part of the construction crew working on the basement were two brothers from the east end of London. They spoke Cockney, were cute, and kept saying they wanted to come to parties when the job was done. Turned out they had five more brothers and I found something for each of them to do. Two tended bar, one tended the door and bounced if necessary, one kept an eye on the bedrooms, one constantly cleaned up, one oversaw the tape machine and jukebox, and one rolled joints. At ten pounds a head, they were a terrific team.
While we had parties every Sunday night (most people worked on Monday so they wouldn’t over-stay), the most memorable one for me was the
Purple, Passion-Sunday Party on March 15, 1970.
Wikipedia: Passion Sunday is either the fifth or sixth Sunday of Lent. In 1970, it became "Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord".
I had cards printed:
I think you are very attractive and I’d like to go to bed with you.
If you agree, please smile.
If you agree or not, you are invited to a party
of the most attractive people in London.
Sunday, March 15
30 Montagu Square, W1
Free drinks, Live Bands, and Dancing ‘til Dawn
If you can’t come, please give this card to someone you like.
This card is the ticket of admission
I handed out cards wherever I went: to people on the street, in pubs, restaurants, and my favorite clubs. This was going to be some party!
I hired two local pop groups to augment the Steel Band, and primed the jukebox and my reel-to-reel, studio tape-player.
I hired a Chelsea Pensioner, in uniform, to be the Coat Checker, and covered the right-hand wall of the entrance hall with a large square piece of Perspex so revelers could “sign in” with magic markers.
The crowd gathered around 10 PM and my local police boys were on hand to add a bit of decorum. I was upstairs in my drawing room playing chess with
Long John Baldry
Long John Baldry when Bernie Cornfeld signed in. He arrived with a blond on each arm; they were twins from the Netherlands, I think.
Wikipedia: John William "Long John" Baldry (12 January 1941 – 21 July 2005) was an English blues singer and a voice actor. He sang with many British musicians, with Rod Stewart and Elton John appearing in bands led by Baldry in the 1960s. He enjoyed pop success in the UK where Let the Heartaches Begin reached No. 1 in 1967 and in Australia where his duet with Kathi McDonald You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' reached number two in 1980.
I was still upstairs when one of my “East-Ender’s” came up to say that there was an American gentleman in the disco who wanted to meet me.
I went downstairs and a silver-haired, very elegantly-dressed, American gent was introduced to me.
He was John Galliher, well known in international society columns as “The world’s best looking extra man.” We exchanged pleasantries and I left the crush to go back upstairs.
The bands played, the jukebox rocked, the seven brothers found seven “brides,” and the party was a blast… still talked about today!
The next day the phone rang. It was Mr. Galliher. Would I like to come to lunch? Ingenuously and stupidly rudely, I asked who else was going to be there.
A momentary pause, “Well YOU’RE not!” and he hung up.
A month later, April, he called again. Would you like to come to lunch? “Yes please, thank you.” I said.
He lived on Chester Street in Belgravia. I rang the bell of number 13. Lauren Bacall opened the door!
“I’ve come for lunch.” I smiled.
“Oh. Actually, John’s not here. I mean, I rent this house from him from time to time. He lives in number 23, down the street.”
I pushed the bell. The door lock buzzed open and, through the little loudspeaker, John said, “I’m upstairs dressing. Go in to the living room and make yourself a drink.”
I went across the hall and down a few steps into the living room. At the far end, reclining on a yellow, leather sofa, cigarette holder in hand, was Sir Noël Coward; I knew it had to be… the morning papers had been full of the photographs of his investiture by the Queen yesterday!
I approached. He glared at me and said, “I know who you are! You are that brash young American who was invited here last month and dared to ask who was going to be here. Well, I was here, the Duchess of Westminster was here, Andy Warhol was here, Truman Capote was here, and…YOU WEREN’T. It’s a fucking good thing you didn’t ask what the menu was or you’d never be here today. Now, go make yourself a drink and sit down.”
So began one of the most interesting periods of my life.
John Galliher was the most successful hooker in the world. He came out of the U.S. Navy as, just about everyone in the world agreed, the best looking young guy anywhere. He was known as a “great dancer” with any sex. Diana Barrymore, with whom he lived in Los Angeles after the Navy, described him as being “well-bred and well… everything else.”
John never had a job other than being “the best looking extra man in the world.” His family was undistinguished but, with an IQ of 160 and a photographic memory, he was a great card player, and made his living and had his fun playing gin rummy with the richest and most glamorous ladies of the world. John had perfect manners, the promptness of Royalty, and a rapier wit.
John was a living legend in both café and Nescafé society all over the world. His pals included: Noel Coward, Jimmy Donahue, Daisy Fellowes, Rita Hayworth, Lena Horne, Barbara Hutton, Aly Khan, Arturo and Patricia Lopez-Wilshaw, Cole Porter, Alexis de Rede, Porfirio Rubirosa, Elsa Schiaparelli, Fulco Verdura, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Bobby Short, whom he “invented” after discovering him in a small Parisian night club.
John had two houses in London, an apartment in Manhattan, and another in his name in Paris. He had had affairs with many of the world’s most fascinating people from Coco Chanel to Hubert Givenchy. He believed, quite rightly, that he could have anyone he wanted… except me. What was his interest in me, or was he simply a collector of moments, like me?
Turns out, he had fallen in love with me; perhaps the first real love of his life!
John was twenty-six years older than I, and there was no way I was going to be physically intimate with him - that’s something simply not possible for me; I can only go to bed with guys my age or younger.
John took my reticence as ingenuousness; really!
We wined and dined daily. We held hands. He surprised me with a strawberry and Champagne picnic in Green Park. He introduced me to many of his friends, and I became a fixture in his life. Totally discreet, he never introduced me as his “partner” or boyfriend; he wouldn’t be so silly as to tempt that fate. His friends knew the significance, however – he had never been as attentive before.
I continued to fend him off - it only increased his ardor. I guess I was learning how to be a good hooker too! It was fun being with society’s superstar. It was fun trading barbs – his obvious IQ and honed wit was an exciting challenge. I loved his mind; and, above all else, he was a gentleman.
In May, John invited me to accompany him to Cap d’Ail, next to Monaco, to stay with his pal, Countess Margot Aliatta. Margot was Argentinian, I believe. She had a lovely house; she smoked cheroots, and kept her diamond necklace in the mirrored box that supported her living room coffee table.
The second evening we were there, she gave a small dinner party for the Mayor of 06, that part of France, and his companion; David Niven (with a temperature of 102) and his companion, an extra lady, and John and me. I had to speak French, of course, but managed an interesting conversation about the Riviera with the Mayor.
The next day, we three went to the Hotel de Paris in Monaco as guests of the Patiño’s (tin billionaires from Peru) and sat under a white awning, trackside, to watch the Monaco Grand Prix!
That evening, we wandered the Monte Carlo Casino – I played a martingale that lasted more than twenty minutes and didn’t cost me too much, and listened to Frank Sinatra, live, down in the club.
After a day in the sun, the next evening we went to Rosemary Kanzler’s and met her new boyfriend - a cute, young Swiss banker.
We again heard the tale of Cecil Everley and his tray vs. Daisy Fellow’s yacht; seems Rosemarie was at that party too.
From The New York Times: Mrs. Kanzler, who was married five times, was said to have made the original introductions that led to several famous marriages. Henry Ford II met his second wife, the Italian-born Cristina Vettore Austin, at one of Mrs. Kanzler's homes. Mr. Ford's daughter, Charlotte Ford, met Stavros Niarchos, the Greek shipping tycoon whom she later married, at the Kanzler residence in St. Moritz. Over her lifetime, Mrs. Kanzler decorated and lived in 23 residences throughout the world.
John and I flew back to London. IOS was in big trouble!
The $110 million offering had been the largest in European history and the third largest in world history. Offered at $10, the shares quickly rose to $19. It is said that 103 IOS executives and managers became millionaires - Bernie’s take being $8.2 million. Another $50 million went into the IOS coffers.
However, we now learned that a questionable adjustment in certain land values held through the Fund of Funds had created an extraordinary management fee, and this fee of $10 million was the corporation’s only profit in 1969. The company had been saying the profit was going to be $30 million!
The IOS share value decreased from $18 to $12. Bernie tried to prop up the value by forming an investment pool with some other investors, but they lost when the share value dropped to $2.
IOS was running out of operating money!
Despite the problems in Geneva, the state of ILI (U.K.) in May was good. We were enjoying $25 million a month in sales, and the sales force numbered 4500… not for long.
The British press is the toughest on earth, and the many newspapers were haranguing IOS every day. It took an ILI/IOS salesman extraordinary courage to set out every morning to give financial advice and try to create new clients – appeasing his old ones was becoming a full-time job! The UK sales force was deserting in droves.
I had little difficulty with my teams after they understood that IOS’s problems were not ours. They told me to take my usual Spring vacation. If I didn’t, they said, people might think ILI (UK) was in trouble too.
Then I had a problem. Baxter had become unreliable. I was told he was picking up passengers on the side; I let him go. He kept the Mini.
I hired a young man, Michael, to be my driver. The next afternoon, the Birmingham police called to say that he had been arrested. He had an old passport of mine, and was trying to pass himself off as me. I didn’t even know the car was gone!
I didn’t want to press charges – he was obviously a bit mad, but the prosecutor wanted his day in court, and, obviously, I was called to appear. John Galliher came with me.
A British courtroom is a daunting place. It’s very difficult to follow the procedures and soon I was in the stand being sworn in.
The prosecutor’s case was that John Michael had stolen the car after a fight between two homosexual men living together “in that way.”
I said, looking straight at the bewigged judge, “Not in that way.” John rolled his eyes.
I don’t remember what happened to Michael but I think he went to jail. I never heard anything about any of it again.
It’s June and John invites me to go with him to stay at Mrs. Gilbert Miller’s house, “Es Moli” (The Mill), in Mallorca. Kitty was an international society shaker-and-mover, and such an invitation was extremely rare. I gushed my acceptance (getting to be an even better hooker!).
The houseguests were the great, interior decorator, Billy Baldwin (the gentleman jockey from Philadelphia); Diana Vreeland, the indomitable Editor-in-Chief of Vogue (USA); Prince and Princess Rupert Loewenstein, he was an aristocrat, banker, and the financial manager of The Rolling Stones; Tom Parr, one of the U.K.’s great decorators; Bat Stewart, a Cobra-driving pal of Johnnie’s; and Johnnie and me.
Days were spent touring the island, going into Palma for an al fresco lunch, or swimming.
Evenings were spent dining next to the pool, then playing games. I grew up playing “The Game” – Charades, during Adirondack summers with my cousins, and was good at it. The most vivid memory of that week at Es Moli was me, on hands and knees, roaring at Diana Vreeland, also on hands and knees, until Kitty got it – “Daniel in the Lions’ Den!”
Johnnie and I were sharing a room; things almost got awkward. If I had been him, I would have sent me back to London straight away. As it was, he put up with my recalcitrance, and we had a great time with everyone.
The world-renowned gossip columnist, Suzy Knickerbocker, wrote:
“Quite a Little House Party, Yes?”
Wikipedia: Kathryn Bache Miller (1896 – October 15, 1979) was an American art collector and philanthropist. Bache was born in 1896. She was the daughter of investment banker Jules S. Bache and was known to her friends as Kitty. In 1927, she married the theatrical producer Gilbert Miller in Paris, France.
In 1926, while in Paris at the art gallery of Joseph Duveen, she fell in love with the painting by Francisco Goya, Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga, commonly known as the "Red Boy". Her father then purchased it for $275,000. The painting was hung prominently in her living room. Her interior decorator, Billy Baldwin, described her attachment to it as if it were a living being. Her father bequeathed the painting to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but it was allowed to be shown periodically in Miller's apartment until she died in 1979.
A well-dressed society figure, she became a permanent member of the Fashion Hall of Fame, class of 1965, along with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. She was known for having lavish New Year's Eve parties that supported charities. In particular, she supported Roosevelt Hospital with millions of dollars.
In 1988, the Miller Theatre at Columbia University was named in her honor.
Wikipedia: William Baldwin, Jr. (1903- 25 November 1983), known as Billy Baldwin and nicknamed Billy B, was a New York interior decorator, characterized in an obituary as the "dean of interior decorators." He was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1974.
Starting in 1935, he was employed by Ruby Ross Wood, and when she died in 1950, he took over the firm. In 1952, he formed his own firm, Baldwin and Martin, with Edward Martin. They designed the homes and apartments of many well-known people, including the White House of John F. Kennedy. His clients included Cole Porter, Mary Wells Lawrence, Billy Rose, Rachel Lambert Mellon and Paul Mellon, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Mike Nichols, Harvey Ladew, William S. Paley, Barbara Hutton and Diana Vreeland.
Baldwin retired in 1973.
Wikipedia: Diana Vreeland (September 29, 1903 – August 22, 1989), was a noted columnist and editor in the field of fashion. She worked for the fashion magazines Harper's Bazaar and Vogue, being the editor-in-chief of the latter, and as a special consultant at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1964.
In 1955, the Vreelands moved to a new apartment which was decorated exclusively in red. Diana Vreeland had Billy Baldwin (1903–1983) decorate her apartment. She said, "I want this place to look like a garden, but a garden in hell". Regular attendees at the parties the Vreelands threw were socialite C. Z. Guest, composer Cole Porter, and British photographer Cecil Beaton. Paramount's 1957 movie musical Funny Face featured a character—Maggie Prescott as portrayed by Kay Thompson—based on Vreeland.
In 1960 John F. Kennedy became president and Diana Vreeland advised the First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in matters of style. "Vreeland advised Jackie throughout the campaign and helped connect her with fashion designer Oleg Cassini, who became chief designer to the first lady." "I can remember Jackie Kennedy, right after she moved into the White House...It wasn't even like a country club, if you see what I mean-plain." Vreeland occasionally gave Mrs. Kennedy advice about clothing during her husband's administration, and small advice about what to wear on Inauguration Day in 1961.
Wikipedia: Rupert Louis Ferdinand Frederick Constantine Lofredo Leopold Herbert Maximilian Hubert John Henry zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg, Count of Loewenstein-Scharffeneck (24 August 1933 – 20 May 2014)
was a Spanish-born Bavarian aristocrat and the longtime financial manager of the rock band The Rolling Stones. His affectionate nickname was "Rupie the Groupie." Loewenstein was named to the International Best-Dressed Hall of Fame in 2001.
The Telegraph, Obituary: Tom Parr: who has died aged 81, was one of England’s leading postwar decorators (a term he proudly preferred to “interior designer”), working first with David Hicks and then for 35 years at Colefax and Fowler, of which he became chairman.
His social grace gained him an entrée to the grandest and most amusing salons; and it was while visiting the Agnellis that Parr met the great Sicilian jeweler Fulco, Duke of Verdura, who was to become his companion and influence for many years.
New York Social Diary: John Galliher was known to his multitude of friends down through the decades, as Johnny, Johnny Galliher (pronounced Gal-yer), or occasionally Johnny G. He was a most unusual man -- a unique combination of characteristics and qualities – easily said but rarely so in life -- difficult to define.
He was exceptionally gentlemanly, the kind of man who if he didn’t have something nice to say (or amusing, which might be more like it with him), he said nothing. Ever. Yet he navigated skillfully for more than sixty years through a world where bitchery and malice can be commonplace and lethal. Instead, for him there was often a smile on his face, or if not, then the obvious promise of one. He wasn’t so much secretive as he was inclined to be discreet in a way that is almost unknown in today’s world. There are many who make the claim but few who actually accommodate the title. John was one of the very few. That discretion was reflected in his dress, his décor and his social behavior. He was always a “gent” in his attitude and bearing toward others, always unfailingly courteous and kindly toward everybody. He did not divulge or break confidences, and he had many to keep. One might learn how he felt about someone or something only by observing his reaction carefully, if he were to laugh, or lower his chin and turn his face away with a wave of the hand – a very characteristic action. He was also not one to reveal or express judgment about the private behavior of others. All of that was very “tiresome” and “disagreeable” to him.
His life always seemed as organized as it was unique. He made everything look effortless including the natural burden of growing old. It must have at times taken great effort on the part of a man who lived, like his friend and mentor Cole Porter, what appeared to be the life of a hedonist. He loved life and it loved him back — with grace, many good friends and many good times.
First Class Hotel Selections Guide, British Airways: Edward G. L. Carter (August 16, 1940 - ) As the creator of The Point, one of the most extraordinary small hotels in the world; former International Delegate of Relais et Chateaux for the United States, Bermuda, the Caribbean, and Mexico; and the creator and author of his famous travel monthly, Dr. Carter is respected internationally as an arbiter of style and taste.
I found this blog while researching this chapter. It’s relevant.
Hello, I’m Rebecca Collins. Join me in being not shallow.
I’m a writer, people watcher and art lover. I’ve been known to hang out at thrift stores, ride my bike, take photos and draw. I love to tread water. No, really.
I live in south Minneapolis with my husband Keith (frequently mentioned on this blog), our dog, Freja (also frequently mentioned) and our cat, Jones (not mentioned nearly as much).
Want to chat? You may contact me at reebs73 at gmail dot com or find me on twitter @NotShallow.
Understanding the Olden Days: Café Society
If you’ve heard the term “café society” you may not know that it references a society and a time period, mostly in Europe, from about 1920 to 1960 and not just hanging out at coffee houses.
You may then assume that café society was made up of writers and artists who hung out in Paris during this period (you know, the ones we always hear about) and you would be somewhat correct – many of them moved in this circle, or at least on the periphery of it – but mostly this society was closed to people like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald and more open to writers like Truman Capote and Noel Coward. Why?
Because Capote and Coward devoted a fair amount of their time to being charming, going to the right parties and befriending the very wealthy in order to better their stations, which is a big part of what café society was all about.
“Café society” was first a term given to the “bright young things” who gathered in cafés and restaurants beginning in the late 19th century in places like Paris, New York and London. So that’s the “café” angle. They were not always part of the Establishment but rather people with money and therefore no need to work or artists who had attracted the attention of society for being brilliant, witty, charming or all of the above.
Café society was made up of sets of people – circles within circles, if you will. The main group was the noblesse oblige, also known as the “Windsor Set” after the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (aka Prince Edward and Wallis Simpson). These were people of means who went to each other’s dinners and balls, went yachting and traveling together and basically tried to keep from being bored by throwing parties, gossiping and having weekend stays at each other’s country houses.
A second group was comprised of socialites and society figures who served to set the tone. They weren’t necessarily the “big guns” in terms of birth or wealth but they had money and definitely went to the right places, hung out with the right people and sometimes made good marriages that bettered their station.
A third set was comprised of artists, writers, photographers, magazine editors, etc. who were very talented and so had caught the eye of the movers and shakers in the scene who often became their patrons, providing them with money, commissions and places to stay. These were people like Cecil Beaton, for a time Truman Capote (before he lost his footing), Jean Cocteau, Noel Coward, etc.
The fourth circle was made up of escorts, seducers, Don Juans and gigolos. It was not a bad thing, necessarily, to be an escort on the café scene. What this meant was that you were either the long-term lover of a married man or woman and therefore had your own station in life or that you were a favored, platonic friend who received benefits like an apartment or invitations to the right parties. Escorts sometimes started out as someone’s gigolo and then became a trusted adviser and friend. The origins and pedigrees of many of these people were often unknown – they simply came onto the scene and gave it everything they had.
It was maybe better to be an escort than to be in the fifth circle – fashion icon. These were people with no background or standing whose sole purpose in life seemed to be to be seen in the magazines and at society events. Think reality TV stars, if you want a comparison within today’s world. Kim Kardashian, Lauren Conrad, Paris Hilton and Heidi Montag would all fill this role.
Café society was the point in history when social classes did start to mix and one was more likely to find an eclectic mix of people at the parties but it was also marked by snobbery not often based on wealth. It was a time period and group of people often described as chic, romantic, tragic, snobby, cosmopolitan, superficial, louche (which is a word that doesn’t get used often enough in general) and depraved.
To understand café society, one must understand the worldview of the very rich during this time period. Many of the top members of this society were people who inherited money and had never worked a single day of their lives. This group included Europeans, American and South Americans. Some of the people in café society were aristocrats with titles but many were what was called the nouveaux riches – people with new money and lots of it.
The nouveaux riches served a great purpose for the aristocracy – they pumped in much-needed cash from enterprises like pewter mines and sewing machine empires, in exchange for noble names. Many American heiresses married princes and dukes for this express reason. Some socialites “worked their way up through successive nuptials until they managed to cast off all financial cares.”
How did one spend one’s time in café society? A lot of hours went into planning and attending balls. These balls were themed and often required elaborate costumes.
Also, taking up one’s time in café society: speed boating, car racing, hunting to hounds in England, skiing in Gstaad, partying on yachts and at country homes, partying in Paris, partying in North Africa, Italy and on the French Riviera. And don’t forget “hunting antiques” – interior decorating was a major past time and often something people got competitive over. Ball-of-the-century-thrower Charles de Beistegui, who sounds like a prick (he never “paid court” to any woman below the rank of duchess) devoted his time and money to putting himself in the spotlight and decorating. He was described as “the Don Juan of interior decorators.”
Married couples were united mainly by the convenience of mixing titles and fortunes and by their love of art and the social whirl. Often, that’s as deep as their relationships went – they both got excited about decorating the Paris mansion but when it came time for deep conversation or sex they turned to escorts and lovers, often of the same sex. A lot of people in marriages in this society were gay. And this wasn’t a shameful thing. Other people knew and didn’t really care except that they got to gossip about it. In a way, homosexual relationships alleviated boredom for those in the relationship and those who got to hear about it.
For example, Count Blunt was “bowled over by a footman named Cecil Everley and from then on divided his time between his wife and Everley, for whom he bought a New York apartment and a villa on the Cap d’Ail.” And the Duke of Kent was known for his love of cocaine, morphine and lovers of both sexes, including Noel Coward. Jean Cocteau, well-known as a homosexual, had an affair with Natalie Paley. Parisian grande dame Marie-Laure de Noilles had a steady stream of relationships with gay men after she caught her husband with his gymnastics trainer and decided to “live independently.”
One of the best examples of a truly Parisian menage a trois in which everyone – wife, husband, lover – was accommodated was Arturo Lopez-Wilshaw, his wife (and cousin) Patricia Lopez-Huici, and Alexis de Rede. Arturo had married Patricia because he wanted children but they failed to have any. He fell in love with Alexis in New York during World War II and installed him in the Hotel Lambert in Paris after the war. He then divided his time between Alexis and Patricia, who lived in a mansion in Neuilly.
When Arturo bought a yacht, he made sure that both Alexis and Patricia had cabins on board. When he died, the estate was divided between his lover and his wife, who had become friends, and Alexis worked to ensure the growth of the fortune by going into banking and setting up Artemis, an investment fund specializing in the purchase, exhibition and sale of fine art.
This doesn’t sound too bad.
However, not everyone was as determined as Alexis de Rede to leave something, a business, inheritance or art, behind. In fact, café society was marked by many people who simply wanted to spend all their money on a lavish lifestyle – the prime example being the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, who led empty lives of snobbery, perfection and boredom surrounded by friends and hangers-on but who left no legacy, who did not contribute to anything or launch the careers of any fashion designers, artists, etc. For many people in this circle, their lives were their art and they treated their days and nights as performance, which was probably a lot of fun while it lasted.
C’est la vie!
Some interesting characters from café society:
Alexis de Rede
Barbara Hutton (dubbed “Poor Little Rich Girl”)
Cristobal Balenciaga (Spanish couturier who dressed the finest ladies in the world)
Diana Vreeland (eventually editor in chief of Vogue)
Emerald Cunard (and her daughter, Nancy)
Noel Coward (who didn’t this guy sleep with?)
John and I fly back to London. I pick up where I left off, encouraging my men and dancing at Yours & Mine. Someone invents a double popper-holder with an elastic that goes around your head. Now you can dance hands-free with a popper holder up each nostril. Ecstasy!... and I’m not talking about the drug.
Roy is not happy - his sales force is retreating and the press just won’t let up.
It’s August - I’m tanned and successful-looking, there are only a few months until I complete ten years with the company and my stock options vest, I kept up appearances by taking my usual Spring trip to the sun, but Roy decides to terminate me from ILI/IOS for leaving my post and going to Mallorca in June! Just like that!
Enough. The beginning of September, I fly to see my parents at their home in Naples, Florida. When I walk in the door, they say, “I hope you’re not here to talk about money.”
Enough. I fly back to London, call the equivalent of a pawn broker, and when he comes to Montagu Square, sell him everything he’ll buy. The fabulous Rolls-Royce went for £1000! A Picasso lithograph went for £200 (saw it in Beverley Hills twenty years later for $100,000), a Vasarely, a Greek bronze, and many beautiful antiques went for equally pathetic amounts. But I had bolstered my position with a new cushion.
I call up John Stock and tell him to do his usual magic – sell Montagu Square for me and find something new I can fix up.
Within a week, John has found a buyer for Montagu Square, and a wonderful one-bedroom flat on Upper Belgrave Street in Belgravia – the Grosvenor Estate.
I visit Paul Littlewood, my lawyer friend at the Grosvenor Estate, and we discuss 5 Upper Belgrave Street, SW1: a new 21-year lease, reasonable ground rent, and, wink, freedom to do whatever I want regarding improvements and décor.
“What’s the wink for, Paul?” (I hadn’t seen the property yet.)
He says, “The whole place has just been completely refurbished, re-wired, re-plumbed, new kitchen, new paint; it’s perfect!”
I grab John Stock and go to have a look.
It’s on the piano nobile (American second-floor). There is a grand curving staircase from the street door or a teeny lift opens into the rear hall. Coming up in the lift, you exit into a small corridor. The new kitchen is to the right, at the rear. Left, the windowed corridor leads past the master bedroom with en-suite bathroom; the front door is on the left and, just ahead, a door opens to a beautiful, 20x20x20 cubic drawing room with marble fireplace. Two windows look out on Upper Belgrave Street (the chicest neighborhood in London) and a door opens to another, smaller reception room with balcony over the entrance below.
Two outstanding features: the drawing room is panelled in painted boiserie with an ornate, carved cornice. The bedroom windows look to Roman Polanski’s bedroom!
The whole place is quite wonderful and I tell John to exchange contracts immediately.
I paint everything the same beige as Cecil Everley’s house. Then:
• I put grass paper in the bedroom to go with my Burmese Buddha;
• Cover the small reception room’s walls with chocolate-colored, ½-inch cork tiles in a vertical, Jim Thompson, Thai pattern;
• Install drapes and upholster twin loveseats for the drawing room in the same color beige damask;
• Paint the skirting to match the cinnabar-colored marble fireplace;
• Carpet throughout in the same beige;
• Hang a giant Staghorn fern outside the kitchen in one of the corridor’s windows; and
• Move in.
October - December 1970
The next thing I hear is that Roy has been replaced by Sam Welker, my old manager from Tripoli, Cairo, and Malta (see Chapters Four and Five).
As soon as it became apparent that ILI (U.K.) would be allowed to operate independently from IOS Geneva, and that there was a chance that it could be revived, Sam asked me to return to the company to rebuild the sales force as Director of Recruiting and Training.
I agreed to re-associate myself but only as a consultant, and it was understood that this arrangement would not generally be known.
In the face of daily attacks from the press, ILI (U.K.) agreed to my proposals of survival.
Sam and I had made an effective team before; now we had the biggest challenge we had ever faced.
I travelled all over the country advertising in regional newspapers and interviewing in dusty suites in dull, business hotels.
We began gaining ground, and I took off to New York for Christmas and New Year’s.
The highlight of that trip was Kitty’s New Year’s Eve party where I helped Billy Baldwin, bare-footed, change the light bulb over the “Red Boy.”
New York Social Diary: The Millers’ party was the most popular and glamorous New Year’s event in those days. The Millers brought out movie stars, society, the artists, the writers and theatre folk. Formal and dressy. Forty or fifty would be invited to dinner, complete with Viennese musicians in uniform playing. After dinner, the chairs and tables would be moved away, a hundred more guests would arrive, the band would play and the night would begin.
January through April 1971
Back to London. I interviewed virtually every day and ran training classes every night and weekend.
Travelling from Bristol to Birmingham, Brighton to Belfast, Manchester to Liverpool, New Castle to Leeds, I worked in nearly every sizable town in the U.K.
By April, I had established a new sales organization of 450, very carefully selected men who produced enough new business to cover the company’s expenses, and for it to become a viable acquisition.
In 1973, the assets of the company were acquired and its name was changed to Cannon Assurance Limited. Consequently, the careers of my men were assured, and the company survived – I had met the challenge.
By Edward Carter at The White Elephant, Thailand; April 2017
Based upon my own experiences and observations, with a little help from Wikipedia, Barron’s, Do You Sincerely Want to be Rich? By Charles Raw, Bruce Page, and Godfrey Hodgeson, Copyright©1971 by Times Newspapers Ltd., and others, here is a thumbnail look back at IOS:
In the end, IOS failed. There were several reasons for the eventual rapid downfall, and there is no widely accepted agreement as to the cause. It may be true to say that had the parent company not made a public share offering in 1969, it might have survived for much longer, but, at the time, there was no other way to raise the cash needed to allow insiders out, and operate the company.
Bernie Cornfeld – The Early Years
Bernard "Bernie" Cornfeld (17 August 1927 – 27 February 1995) was a businessman and international sales manager who sold Mutual Funds, Life Insurance policies, Real Estate Investments, and Banking Services.
Bernie was born in Istanbul, Turkey. His father was a Romanian-Jewish actor; his mother was from a Russian-Jewish family. They moved to America when Bernie was four years old – his father dying two years later. The young Brooklyn-raised Cornfeld worked after school each day in fruit stores and as a delivery boy. Although he suffered from a stammer, he had a natural gift for selling, and when a school friend's father died, the two of them used the US$3,000 insurance money to purchase and run an “age and weight-guessing stand” at the Coney Island funfair.
During the Second World War, Bernie joined the U.S. Maritime Service. Afterwards he went to Brooklyn College, graduating with a degree in psychology, and then did an MA in social work at the School of Social Work at Columbia University.
He initially worked as a social worker, but then switched to part-time selling mutual funds for an investment house. Mutual Funds were very popular and many people were part-time salesmen in New York City those days. Bernie also was a part-time, taxicab driver.
Investors Overseas Services
In 1956, Bernie left the competitive sales situation in New York City for Paris, where most people had never heard of mutual funds.
Using his savings of three hundred dollars, he started his own company selling mutual funds; the company was named Investors Overseas Services (IOS).
Shortly thereafter, he established principal offices in Geneva, Switzerland.
In time, due to Swiss work permit restrictions, the main operational offices of IOS were established in Ferney-Voltaire (jokingly called “Bernie Voltaire”) directly across the French border from Geneva.
In the beginning, the company concentrated on selling the Dreyfus Fund of New York to U.S. expatriates and servicemen who had no access to U.S. investing. With the development of its own investment vehicles, the main growth of the business came from the public in the major European countries who, until then, had no other easy access to investment vehicles of this kind. Cornfeld called it "people's capitalism."
Everyone involved with IOS, myself included, truly believed that we could change the world for the better by helping to bring financial security to millions. “With financial security, could come peace.” That was the creed, and it spawned international advertising campaigns that included double-page, center-fold spreads in Life magazine and the like.
During the years to 1970, IOS raised more than US$2.5 billion; some milestones:
In 1960, the first in-house mutual fund was created - International Investors Trust (IIT).
In 1962, IOS launched its Fund of Funds, which invested in shares of other mutual funds, and other IOS vehicles. FOF was immensely popular in those bull market times, and Cornfeld's one-line pitch, "Do you sincerely want to be rich?" became a by-phrase for its success from the points of view of both recruiting salesman, and selling potential clients.
Also in 1962, International Life Insurance Company, S.A. (Luxembourg) (ILI) was founded. International sales expanded into the Far East.
In 1963, International Life Insurance Co. (U.K.) Ltd. (ILI UK) was established, and the Dover Plan was created for clients in the Sterling areas of the world.
1964: Acquired Overseas Development Bank, Geneva.
1965: Founded Investors Development Corporation.
1966: Below is the cover of The International Life Insurance Company (U.K.) Ltd.’s in-house magazine, Bulletin, September 1966 - showing the then current IOS Board of Directors:
[N.B. 3RD ROW: should have read Allen Cantor.]
1967: Annual sales exceed $1 billion.
The extraordinary success of IOS brought Bernie a personal fortune - estimated at more than US$100 million.
Bernie, himself, became known for flamboyance and lavish parties. Socially, he was generous and jovial, and generally surrounded by a bevy of beautiful young women, including, for example, Victoria Principal, who used to make me coffee when I visited their flat in London’s West Halkin Street. She was later widely known as a star in the TV series Dallas. Another groupie was Heidi Fleiss, the Beverley Hills “madam.”
Bernie was certainly one of the most colorful and publicized people in the world - in July of 1969, he was to have been on the cover of Time magazine, but the earth-shaking, first moon landing took precedence.
At its peak, IOS had approximately 25,000 full-time salesmen, weaned from more than one million recruited and trained, who were registered as having made at least one sale. These sales “Associates” sold a range of mutual fund programs door-to-door in more than 180 countries.
The major motivational factor that enabled IOS to recruit so many salesmen was the company’s stock option plan. All successful salesmen were offered stock options and paid for them out of their commission income. This kept them selling hard, and, because the stock would not be vested in them until ten years from issuance, staying loyal.
The need for cash
Many of the successful salesmen recruited at the end of the fifties, had grown to General Managers of whole countries, and many had been promoted to the Board of Directors. These leaders became vested in 1969 and they wanted to cash out to make the IOS dream come true for themselves, and continue to be the enticement for recruiting for growth in the future.
In what turned out to be a poor decision, Bernie had decided that mutual funds should take their fees from the profits they made for their investors, not just a percentage of the money invested. That is the way the IOS Investment Program was structured. Unfortunately, no other provision was made for operating funds. Thus, in late 1969, when international stock markets suffered a bear market, and the value of the IOS mutual funds took a serious fall, sales were depressed and there was virtually no income for IOS.
The Public Offering
The company believed the only way IOS could enable the stock option holders to cash out, and to meet its own expenses, was to conduct an Initial Public Offering.
A trial offering in Canada proved successful. Since Canada was a small market and IOS, at its height, had a million customers and $2.5 billion in its funds, Bernie decided to make a major public offering in Europe the following year.
Statistics for 1969:
• Sales passed $3 billion
• Corporate Assets: $66 million
• Mutual Funds: $2.5 billion in assets
• Life Insurance: $1 billion in force
• Real Estate: $260 million in assets
• Banks and Finance: $200 million
• 30 General Managers responsible for 25,000 career salesmen
• $30 million projected as year-end profit…
The $110 million offering was the largest in European history and the third largest in world history.
Offered at $10, shares quickly rose to $19. It is said that 103 IOS executives and managers became millionaires - Bernie’s take being $8.2 million. Another $50 million went into the IOS coffers.
A questionable adjustment in certain land values held through the Fund of Funds created an extraordinary management fee. This fee of $10 million was the corporation’s only profit that year!
The IOS share value decreased from $18 to $12. Bernie tried to prop up the value by forming an investment pool with some other investors, but they lost when the share value dropped to $2.
By March 1970, IOS was running out of operating money.
Vesco takes over
At this point, a little-known American financier named Robert Vesco, head of the failing mini-conglomerate International Controls Corporation, offered his help with $5 million. At the time, he was also in financial trouble.
In 1971, after months of wrangling, with the IOS Board of Directors in disarray (most were only salesmen, after all), and after evicting Cornfeld from the management, Vesco managed to take control of IOS including the unregulated mutual funds, insurance assets, and real estate equity.
Most IOS employees and portfolio managers had sold their shares by this time. I was one of the holdouts but finally sold my shares, once worth several millions, to Vesco for $7000!
More to the point, the sales force evaporated and IOS (which was hardly more than a salesforce) virtually ceased to exist.
Vesco ultimately succeeded in transferring (some say stealing) approximately $224 million of cash belonging to the IOS funds, etc. to cover his own investments in his International Controls Corporation, and into layered shell corporations, domiciled in far-flung areas, designed to hide the assets from international law enforcement authorities, and make the money available exclusively to Vesco and his allies.
When the SEC issued a public complaint, Vesco fled to exile in several Caribbean hideaways. In 1973, following the SEC complaint, the Canadian authorities arranged for the IOS entities to be placed in liquidation. IOS then collapsed and, in the process, ruined several US and European banks, and the dreams of millions of people.
When the IOS shares lost value, a group of 300 IOS employees, seeking compensation, complained to the Swiss authorities that Cornfeld had induced them to buy the shares in 1969. (Quite the opposite; all of us wanted to acquire as many shares as possible!)
In 1973, the Swiss authorities charged Cornfeld with “inducing his employees to buy shares, and fraud.”
Later, when Cornfeld visited Geneva, Swiss authorities arrested him. He served 11 months in a Swiss jail before being freed on a bail surety of US$600,000, provided with the help of movie stars Tony Curtis and George Hamilton.
Bernie always maintained his innocence. His trial did not take place until 1979 and lasted three weeks, with Judge Pierre Fournier finally acquitting Cornfeld.
Time magazine: “It took the twelve-member, Swiss jury only 50 minutes to decide the long-pending case, and when acquittal was announced, the Geneva courtroom erupted in applause. Then a smiling Bernie Cornfeld, 52, the bearded hustler from Brooklyn who had founded Investors Overseas Services, the bankrupt European-based mutual fund empire, repaired to a nearby cafe for a victory celebration. After a four-week trial that even the presiding judge described as a "circus," Cornfeld was declared innocent of charges that he had coerced employees of IOS into buying its stock.”
On February 27, 1995, in London, Bernard Cornfeld suffered a stroke and died of MRSA - Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus - a bacterium responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections in humans. His marriage ended in divorce, and he is survived by a daughter Jessica Cornfeld.
Vesco was later sentence to a 13-year prison term in Cuba on unrelated charges stemming from allegations that he tried to produce and market a miracle cancer drug to overseas investors without the communist government’s knowledge
He was reported as having died in Cuba in 2008.
NY Times Obit:
Bernard Cornfeld, 67, Dies; Led Flamboyant Mutual Fund
By DIANA B. HENRIQUES
Published: March 2, 1995
Bernard Cornfeld, a Brooklyn-reared salesman who became one of the most flamboyant and controversial figures ever to stride through the American mutual fund industry, died in London on Monday. He was 67.
A family friend told Bloomberg Business News, which first reported Mr. Cornfeld's death, that the financier had died of pneumonia after suffering a stroke shortly before Christmas. His death was confirmed by the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London.
In the mid-1960's -- when Michael Milken, the junk bond king, was still a student -- Mr. Cornfeld was the enfant terrible of the financial world.
Shuttling around the world from his ancient French castle with a coterie of celebrity jet-setters, Mr. Cornfeld built his company, Investors Overseas Services, into a $2.5 billion financial empire that fascinated the news media, attracted small investors and plagued market regulators around the world.
In 1970, his empire, then faltering, was taken over by Robert L. Vesco, an American financier who quickly siphoned more than $220 million from the company and became a fugitive after being accused of securities fraud. Mr. Vesco remains at large.
Born in Istanbul in August 1927, Bernard Cornfeld was the son of a Romanian actor who moved his family to the United States in the early 1930's. He graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn and Brooklyn College. By 1954, he had become a mutual fund salesman, entering the industry just as mutual funds were experiencing their first strong surge of growth since the stock market crash of 1929.
In 1956, he moved to Paris, planning to sell shares of popular American mutual funds, chiefly the Dreyfus Fund, to Americans living abroad. Using his trademark recruiting challenge -- "Do you sincerely want to be rich?" -- he built Investors Overseas Services. At its peak, it was a far-flung organization that included a vast and intensely loyal sales force, a secretive Swiss bank, an insurance unit, real estate interests and a stable of offshore investment funds operating beyond the reach of any single country's securities laws.
By 1970, his company had pumped millions of overseas dollars into the American mutual fund industry, initially through its aggressive sales force and then through Mr. Cornfeld's trailblazing Fund of Funds, an offshore fund that invested in other mutual funds' shares.
Mr. Cornfeld gave now-famous money managers like Fred Alger their start by selecting them to run funds owned by the Fund of Funds, which at its peak had more than $450 million invested in American mutual funds.
He also acquired enough financial power over American mutual funds and skirted close enough to the edges of Federal securities laws to attract the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which in 1965 accused him and his company of violating American securities laws.
In 1967, the company settled the commission's complaint by agreeing to wind up or sell all its American operations. The Fund of Funds also agreed to buy no more than 3 percent of any American mutual fund, the limit imposed by Federal mutual fund law.
After leaving the American market, Mr. Cornfeld continued to live lavishly, and his financial empire appeared strong until early 1970, when it suddenly disclosed that it was short of cash and had substantially overestimated its 1969 profits. Under pressure from creditors, Mr. Cornfeld lost control of his crippled company to Mr. Vesco later that year.
In 1973 Mr. Cornfeld was charged with defrauding employees of Investors Overseas Services by selling them stock in the faltering company. He spent 11 months in a Swiss jail before being freed on bond. He was later acquitted of the charges. Civil lawsuits recovered some money for fund investors.
Mr. Cornfeld spent years trying to retrieve his shattered empire, whose collapse he always blamed on Mr. Vesco.
In 1976, a California court found Mr. Cornfeld guilty of fraud for using an electronic device to bypass the billing process for long-distance telephone calls. He was sentenced to three months in prison. Mr. Cornfeld's death prompted the same profoundly divided assessments that he had inspired in life.
"He was a brilliant, absolutely brilliant, innovator in the field," Mr. Alger said yesterday.
But Richard M. Meyer, a New York lawyer who specialized in mutual fund litigation in Mr. Cornfeld's heyday, recalled instead the millions of dollars that investors lost when Mr. Cornfeld's empire collapsed and said: "He only looks good when you compare him to his successor, Robert Vesco. He championed taking a buck from anybody, without scruples."
Mr. Cornfeld was beset by lawsuits and Federal tax disputes throughout the 1980's, and he spent the last years of his life in semi-retirement, dreaming of making a comeback as a mutual fund powerhouse, a longtime friend said. At the time of his death, he was dividing his time between homes near London and on the Continent.
Mr. Cornfeld's marriage to Lorraine Armbruster, an American fashion model, ended in divorce. He is survived by a daughter from that marriage, Jessica, of London.
Bernie’s favorite photograph:
Goodbye, Capt. Geldt.
During my writing this chapter, several old friends from IOS – remember, this was all between 47 and 57 years ago, and there aren’t that many of us IOSers still alive and kicking – sent me anecdotes with ties to the heady days of IOS. I include them here, and will add more if I receive any.
From Roy Kirkdorffer, one-time IOS/ILI General Manager for the UK, and a director of IOS:
Nico Ladenis---Chez Nico
In 2002, B and I visited Philippe Staib who had a business in pewter manufacturing in Bangkok. Philippe worked for IOS in Africa, did well and started anew in Asia. One day he reserved for B and me to have lunch on the top floor of the Oriental. During lunch, the French headwaiter, who knew Philippe well, engaged us in conversation and said he had learned his trade in London at Chez Nico which was then a Michelin three star in the Grosvenor House on Park Lane. Nico had become a manager under Albert Moth before IOS stumbled and fell. He then pursued his ambition to be a chef and opened a restaurant in Dulwich, moved to Battersea, then near Reading, then back to the West End, and finally to Park Lane. The young headwaiter was impressed we knew him.
Philippe had arranged for a boat at the hotel dock to take us on a trip on the river to visit the area on the other side which had various inlets and stilted houses, and I seem to remember an impressive temple. The headwaiter insisted that he take us to the boat, and when we got down to the garden, I had the inspired idea to call Nico who was living near us in Roquefort-les-Pins. (Aren't mobiles wonderful?) I got Nico on the line and then handed the phone to the young headwaiter who proceeded to tell Nico how much he had learned at Chez Nico, and how grateful he was to have done his first real important work with him.
When we got back home in Chateauneuf, I visited Nico, who said to me, "Who was that young man?".
Nico's three stars were well earned. He moved back to the UK a few years ago, and has struggled with his health, but soldiers on.
At one time, Albert Moth was my direct manager in London. I had no idea that the famous Nico Ladenis had been in IOS. Nico was famous for saying that “the customer was not always right.” His restaurant has been one of the best in London for ages.
Wikipedia: Nico Ladenis is a Tanzanian-born chef of Greek descent, best known for his restaurants in the UK. He won three Michelin stars and his restaurant Chez Nico was rated ten out of ten by the Good Food Guide. In 1999, he handed back his stars due in part to prostate cancer and because of his disillusionment with the London restaurant scene.
Here is correspondence with my oldest IOS friend, John Herbert, who also features in Chapters Two and Three. I asked for an IOS anecdote or two. His memories really make this chapter come alive!
Email to Ted:
A young American lying on the beach in Acapulco, Mexico, noticed a new apartment building on the beach. He wondered if there might be a chance to sell a week or two a year for ten years to Americans who wanted to be guaranteed a good holiday location for a one-off payment at today’s cost for a two-bedroom apt that slept six comfortably.
He contacted the sales office of the building and determined that the price of the two-bed apartments was $30,000 each. He did the math, flew back to NYC and started what may have been the first timeshare program in America for foreign holiday property.
Bob Sutner (one of the directors of IOS and a top IOS manager for parts of South America) and a non-IOS friend read an article about this guy and his new timesharing product and immediately wrote the proposal as an investment opportunity. In short, you find an attractive apartment building and divide the total cost of an apartment and its ten years of maintenance by 10 years and 50 weeks. For a $30,000 total cost, that would be $60 a week, or $600 for ten years. Adding a healthy sales commission for the door-knocking salesmen, that week probably would sell for $900 (30% commission).
Bob assembled two or three very experienced and successful ex-IOS salesmen who lived in New Jersey. He gave them a short-written presentation and some photos of a typical apartment on the beach in a well-known holiday location. He sent them out to trial the sale and they came back with a very high percentage of closures. I seem to remember that they offered one-week for $1,500 to see what the reaction would be. Of course, the “clients” were eventually told it was a test but that someone would probably be back soon with a deal.
In the meantime, as I was a partner with Bob in London in a sales operation that didn’t work out, he sent me off to southern France, Portugal and Spain, and was about to explore the cost of new apartment houses in tourist cities like Paris and Rome. I found that on the European coasts, the price of a two-bedroom apartment that slept six was amazingly close to $30,000 at the time.
In the meantime, Bob Sutner and his friend gathered in NYC, Bobby Kaplan and, I think, one other ex-IOSer. Kaplan was to do the marketing.
Bob was aware that it would be impossible to sell a week for ten years up front unless you had an airtight guarantee by a well-known company or bank. It was logical to first approach American Express which would have total knowledge of the real estate situation as they were located in every tourist city in the world. Second on the list was Barclays, I think. Both jumped at the deal since all we had to do was give them ownership until the end of the 10th year and a reasonable interest on the mortgages they would give which we would pay back out of cash flow. We chose to go with Amexco. They gave us a signed commitment to do the deal when we were ready to buy and sell.
Bobby wrote the literature, got it designed and hired the young Mary Ellen Mark* to travel to the sights and shoot photos of the cities.
A few weeks after we signed the Amexco deal, President Nixon threatened some policy or law that scarred Amexco, Barclays and every other institution in the country. I cannot remember what he did, but Amexco and Barclays called immediately to say that they couldn’t possibly now do the deal. We went out of business the next day. Timesharing caught on later and is still selling to this day.
* Mark is my favourite photographer as she does documentary stuff of the highest quality. I read recently that she is in the all-time top group. I met her in NYC just before she flew off to Morocco to shoot for our programmed site.
** Bobby Kaplan, in case you didn’t know him at IOS, was one of the most talented persons I have ever met. He was very bright, very funny and very entertaining. He had a rare natural talent. At all parties where there was a piano, he would ask people to say the name of a song. He would play it in its entirety almost instantly and he was a brilliant pianist. He did not ever learn how to read a score. He played from total memory of the music.
Daughter Maddy, John Herbert, Sarah Herbert, daughter Cecilia graduating from Oxford.
John Herbert <john.herbert@>
I wrote this for my daughters who want to read family history. No one in my family ever lived nearby and the days they spent together on holidays were few. Ergo, they have had no real conversations or interaction. Since you met Victor and he was IOS' first Director after Bernie, I thought you might like to know him better.
Victor joined IOS because he saw it as a good way to be totally independent, make good money selling a good product and allow him to stay in Europe to do the things he really wanted to do.
Victor was certainly an intellectual but better known as an academic and an intellectual snob. He just didn't have time for the hoi polloi. He graduated from high school at 16, from the University of Chicago at 18 and Swarthmore at 22. His high school bumped him up two years because he got so far ahead of his classmates. He was accepted in the first year of Robert Hutchins' famous experimental two-year undergraduate program at the University of Chicago which you could complete from anywhere as you never had to physically enter the university (circa 1940). * He then enrolled in Swarthmore for a standard four-year undergraduate course. As it happened, he may be the only person to ever graduate from Swarthmore summa cum laude without taking any of the final examinations. He had a nervous breakdown just before these exams and the university told him to go get well and call them when he felt like taking the exams. When he called, they told him that, based on his record and his professors' reports, exams were not necessary and they sent the certificate in the mail
Here follows an article about Victor which tells a bit about his activities from 1947 to the time it was written. There are plays, a famous TV documentary, film distribution in Paris, etc.
An article about Victor published in the The Village Voice, 23 Sep 1971
9 Oct 2015
Below is a poor reproduction of Michael Zwerin’s article about Victor in Paris.
Victor had purchased a magnificent artist’s studio/apartment in the Val de Grace on the Left Bank of Paris in the late 60s. It was very near to Le Jardin du Luxemburg. Over time, he invited any friend to stay and the friends told their friends, if you are ever coming to Paris and needed a place…
As a result, since Victor made the acquaintance of writers, actors, film makers, journalists, etc., many of the total strangers that called were famous or became famous. A good illustration is the story about Yoko Ono.
Victor met John Lennon and they apparently supported similar causes, such as the defendants in the famous Chicago Seven Conspiracy Trial, the expenses of the Living Theater, etc. A friend of Victor’s told Yoko, as she set off to explore Paris and London that, if she needed a place to stay, call Victor. She did and she stayed. As she set off for London, Victor gave her John’s tel number. Probably told her say that “Victor sent me”. (This story is told from memory but I think it is true.)
The references to the Living Theater in the article are due to the large support Victor gave this avant-garde and controversial roaming group that got into a lot of trouble. They ran off to Rio to evade the police in Europe, etc.
Victor’s apartment was used to shoot Truffaut’s “Woman in Black”. When he moved back to the US, he sold it to a famous person.
Edward Carter <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From the very beginning, people in IOS used to intimate that you were intimidated by Victor’s sales record, and didn't go into sales to avoid comparisons. If this was true, have you reconciled your relative places in the universe, because you seem happy with your place in life now? And you are blessed with a marvelous immediate family.
Edward G. L. Carter, Ph.D.
Sent from my iPhone
I suppose that is a possible assumption but not at all true. I never liked selling and since I have never been driven by money, success or envy, I saw no reason to do anything I didn't like.
The only selling I ever agreed to do, was a trip with Russ McClain to Addis Ababa where we restricted ourselves to the US Embassy and the large USAID research hospital, full of American and non-Ethiopian doctors examining why Ethiopians all had non-??? (I have forgotten the word for a passive disease) syphilis among themselves but, we were warned, very transferable to non-Ethiopians. These potential clients were so happy to speak and meet that we were never turned down for an appointment.
We worked 14 hours a day until we ran out of customers. We decided to fly to Greece and take a boat to Russ' fantastic little house in Hydra, then exclusively a small resort for writers and artists from all over the world. On the way, we would stop in Khartoum to sell and Alexandria to tour. We both had been to Cairo but never to Alexandria.
In Khartoum, we checked into a magnificent British style hotel on the White Nile. We went to the lobby to find the telephone and telephone book. It was clear that the only prospects were in the US Embassy. We began calling about 3pm and by 6pm we had booked a drink on the hotel terrace with an employee or two every 20 minutes until dinner time, and for the next day. We sold almost everyone on the spot. No call-backs. Two days later we flew to Alexandria.
Spent a day walking all over the city and planned to check out Friday, the next day, to catch our flight to Athens. Suddenly we realised that every bank, office and store was closed on Fridays (like our Sundays) and we didn't have enough cash to pay the bill. We ran to the US Embassy, thinking they would not close on a weekday but found that we were wrong. Sat on the steps to figure out what to do when a nice man came out the door and we asked him if he knew where we could get come cash. We told him our story and he took us across to the street to a cafe and just chatted for a while. When he decided that we were probably trustworthy, he asked a favour. His sister lived in Athens and he told us that sending her money was difficult and expensive. Would we take our dollars to her if he paid our hotel bill? He would also take us to lunch and pay the taxi to the airport. He gave us her telephone number and we went to Athens.
We called her and she insisted on making dinner for us and letting us sleep overnight until we caught our flight to Hydra. We had a sensational dinner and she turned out to be far more articulate and intelligent than either of us, and we had a grand evening.
She wrote down her full name and address for us to "keep in touch". It wasn't until then that we discovered that she was Lawrence Durrell's wife (not sure which of the four she was).
An unforgettable evening. And, I cannot fault Hydra at that time. What wonderful people hung out there and what a great Greek village.
Edward Carter <email@example.com>
What a delightful answer to a rude question.
You write so well. This is a story I'll remember forever. How was it that your sales efforts were so easily accomplished? Anyone would envy such an accomplishment.
I was embarrassed to read my question the next morning- the wine had its effect, but now I am so happy I did, Gunga Din!
Edward G. L. Carter, Ph.D.
Sent from my iPhone
We discovered that, while in most IOS destinations potential clients that were interested in a "Swiss" product using a Swiss bank were easy to find, Addis Ababa and Khartoum, back then, probably had never got a call or knock on the door from any salesman or even a strange European or American.
Everyone we contacted wanted to meet someone new that spoke English, and they suggested we meet at the pub or terrace. Then, they bought from us because they never heard of such a good way to save money from a safe bank overseas and presented by attractive non-salesmen.
Victor sold to American oil executives in Venezuela who were desperate for a place to save money, particularly a Swiss place.
But these were smart people with real money and they might not jump at the opportunity.
I think the very good salesmen, on average, closed 1 in 3 after more than one presentation. Russ and I sold 4 out of 5, and left town the next day. Just the luck of IOSers that explored the crazy places in the late 50s and early 60s.
George and Don Q opened Nigeria, mainly the oil fields. They probably suffered the 1 in 3 pops but the amounts were much larger.
My gang in Holland had a very rough time. Probably 0 for Dutch families so they looked for the foreign element. And, doctors are best. They were not educated in economics, haven't time to explore investments and have a lot of money. I think I read that salesmen in Germany concentrated on doctors with incredible results. My new son-in-law is a doctor and he begs me for advice but I no longer know anything. I tell him that the best advice I ever got was from Jack Dreyfus - "Always, always, dollar-cost-average, from now to the time you retire.”
PS. By the way, a very good, relatively short series called The Durrell’s (in Corfu) is releasing the second season on 1 April. Try and find it and watch S1 if you can. There is very little fiction. A wonderful family. Lawrence is 16, I think. His one sister and two brothers are younger.
It just occurred to me that you may have met Chuck Bade, in Koza if not in some other country. He may have been staying with me in Koza before we met.
He was an ex-military helicopter pilot that answered an ad in Hong Kong for a civilian pilot job. He was conned into flying helicopters for the U.S. government in Viet Nam where there was no U.S. troop involvement, just an Army advisory team to help the South Viet Nam troops. It turned out to be an extremely dangerous job flying Viet Nam soldiers into combat and retrieving the dead and injured
afterwards. The officers in my story were pilots, assistant pilots and crew on these flights.
I liked Chuck a great deal but we didn't have any physical contact after Koza. Just correspondence.
So here is something for your book:
Charles Bade by John Herbert
I met Chuck Bade when he joined IOS in Tokyo. He had resigned from the civilian American helicopter crew in Laos and had then gone back several times to sell the American troops and pilots stationed there on non-military duty. After that, he came to Okinawa and moved in with me.
One night, we went to the bar and restaurant of the Air Force Base, a big room with large rooms for private parties. As we walked by one room where the door was open, an officer ran out and hugged Chuck. I think he had tears in his eyes. He pulled Chuck into the room where some two dozen officers were having a party and all of them immediately stood up, applauded and yelled good things at him. Most of them came over and thanked him profusely.
I was then told that the helicopter crews were flying missions every day into the very high mountains with thick forests and due to the thin air, the pilots were restricted from taking on board a full complement of the dead and dying. So, Chuck would order the full number of injured and dying troops to be boarded and then used his flying skills to rev up the engine as fast as it would go, throw the blades into assent position and cause the helicopter to rise above the trees so he could glide down the mountain side to safety. Those officers were once again thanking Chuck for saving their lives. It was something to see.
[EGLC: Chuck was an inspiration and a remarkable “salesman” who simply told it as it was… nearly everyone hearing his “sermon,” bought. I hired him to work for me in Carter Containers in Europe in 1979. He was still enveloped by his stunning aura. See Chapter Thirteen.]
From John Herbert:
John Herbert <john.herbert@xxx>
In my opinion, the secret to IOS is that it began, and grew big, attracting non-professional salesmen.
I cannot think of one person I knew that wasn't either an educated ex-patriot like Victor, or one recruited by such.
Bernie was a mutual fund salesman in NYC, but only to earn enough money to carry on with his charity work. He came to Paris on holiday, realised that the American soldiers living in camps outside of Paris would be a great way to never go home.
He called his manager in NYC suggesting he send some brochures. The manager just pleaded with Bernie to come home.
Bernie had read about Jack Dreyfus and his new fund, which had been the most successful one in the country in its first ten years. He called Jack, and the rest is history.”
I think the story is that IOS attracted the best of the best. It was the only commercial organization in the world in which the cream naturally rose to the top. Bernie used to say it was a place where ordinary people did extraordinary things, but it was much more than that. It was a place where extraordinary people had the opportunity to accomplish what they knew was in them - a level of accomplishment far beyond what most people could ever imagine.
And now, a personal souvenir that illustrates the almost religious fervor that captured all of us in IOS:
19/02/00 at 10:52 AM
Thanks very much for your reply. What a nice surprise hearing from you so fast. Looks like, you're using the Internet same extensively as I do. I thought that you might be too busy to check your guestbook. Well, I can see, nothing has changed. You're as fast as ever.
Since you asked for, please let me give you a brief background information. My Name is Frank D. Lein. You don’t know me personally (I guess), but I know you for a long time and it was a pleasure after all these years hearing something from you and to see that you're well.
You have accompanied my life for some years, even without knowing it. I know, it sounds very mysterious, but in fact, it isn't.
I've heard about you and I've seen you many years ago, (as far as I can remember, it was in Geneva or Germany), in an IOS Meeting. I was about 19 or 20 then, living in Hamburg. They just recruited me, and, since I was quite successful in selling, they invited me and I happened to meet lots of interesting people, and I learned a lot.
Other people told me already about you before, and I was very interested then to get you to know a bit better and to talk to you directly but it never got that far. The simple reason for that was, that IOS just some month later ceased to exist. Later on, there was never another chance talking to you.
Years later I happened to manage big sales teams with quite a big number of people for many years (financial services).
During our sales meetings, and especially when it came to the motivational part of it, I never got tired mentioning the story of IOS and especially your part in it.
In fact, you have been that successful then, that I am, years later, was "using" you as an example of what people are able to achieve, if they really go for it. There was hardly any speech, (and I was holding speeches in front of thousands of people over the years) where I didn't mention your name then. People were listening, standing there, mouth wide open, and couldn't believe, and often enough I had problems to make myself believe. Your abilities as a "salesman", your creativity and your success was a model for many of my sales team and managers then.
Well, I was always wondering what you were doing after IOS. I know, from that limited information I could get then, that you went back to the US. And, obviously, you were travelling a lot. So, in a certain way, you were "accompanying" me for many years of my life.
Meanwhile, I moved to the island of Madeira for some years, later on to the Algarve, Portugal. The sunny weather, the beaches, the nature and the friendly and unspoiled people are reason enough to spend some time here.
Some days ago, I did some research on Galleries on the Internet (out of private interests) and stumbled over your website (very nice site, b.t.w., congratulations!). It's nice to see that you're well and still keep up with the "modern times" :o).
Again, thank you very much for taking the time to reply, which came totally unexpected. It was very nice indeed hearing from you after all this years.
N.B. I have to apologize for any spelling mistakes, since my English is limited.
END OF CHAPTER SEVEN
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