By Ron Allen
He was rated 4 goals on the polo field but 10 goals by some of the world’s most beautiful women. Porfirio Rubirosa was an impeccable dresser with a healthy appetite for wealthy, beautiful, women. During the 1950s the jet setter from the Dominican Republic was the heartthrob of Zsa Zsa Gabor, Jane Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner and Argentine first lady Eva Peron. Rubi spoke five languages and had just as many ex-wives. He was on everyone’s “A list” despite his well-earned reputation as a reckless gold digger.
His rise to riches was the result of his ability to seduce vulnerable females who were desperate to feel wanted and desired. He stole $180,000 in jewels in a fake ambush; he scammed money from Jews desperate to flee Europe to the Dominican during WWII.
Rubirosa was captain of the Dominican polo team at age 20. While playing polo in Deauville he met the granddaughter of F.W. Woolworth; Barbara Hutton. They flew to Palm Beach for their honeymoon and two months later he walked out of the broken marriage with eight polo ponies, a coffee plantation, 40 suits, 20 pair of shoes, an airplane and $2.5 million in cash.
Rubi in Deauville
He played at the old Palm Beach International Polo Club on Military Trail with Cano & Gabriella Gracida. When asked by Sports Illustrated in 1955 if polo will ever be popular Rubi said, “When every family owns a horse instead of a car, polo will become a popular sport.”. His polo legacy was a major inspiration for fashion icon Ralph Lauren. The Dominican diplomat also got involved in auto racing but never finished a race.
Rubi ready to ride in Palm Beach
Some called him the original James Bond in spite of his short stature of 5 feet 8 inches and only average looks. In July of 1965 the man who never worked one day in his life, at age 56, crashed his car into a tree and died. It was after a night of heavy drinking in Paris following his Cibao-La Pampa team winning the Coupe de France Polo Cup. Four decades of high-society parties and womanizing came to a tragic end. He had little to show for his rambunctious lifestyle with the exception of his peppermill legacy, which is another long story.