porfirio rubirosa

Dead interesting: Inside the world of Porfirio Rubirosa

The life and times of the jet-setter, diplomat and rogue (1909-1965)

A typical day in the life of diplomat Porfirio Rubirosa ran thus: up at lunchtime, dress, get in a Ferrari and go to the Bagatelle Polo Club in the Bois de Boulogne to exercise polo ponies; leave for home at six; off to dinner at eight — and then on to adventures in the beds of Parisian ladies.

More acute readers might note this does not leave a lot of time for the to and fro of embassy life. Frank Sinatra once asked him, “Rubi, have you ever had a real job?” to which he replied, triumphantly: “women are my full-time job.”

porfirio rubirosa

Rubirosa liked zippy cars, fast horses and heiresses, but most of all he took pride in stylish indolence; in doing virtually nothing — but doing it with élan. Still his employer (and the first of his five father-in-laws) Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo didn’t seem to mind. “He’s an excellent diplomat,” exclaimed Trujillo of Rubirosa, “because women like him and because he is a liar.”

Rubirosa was born on January 22nd, 1909, in San Francisco de Macorís, Dominican Republic, the third and youngest child of Pedro María Rubirosa and Ana Ariza Almánzar. After an ignominious beginning as a sort of upscale bandit, his father was sent to Paris to headup the Dominican embassy. It was here, in France between the wars, that Rubirosa developed the mores which would make him renowned around the world as the world’s greatest but most discreet playboy. He could not immediately put them to use however, given that he was packed off to Dominica at 17 to join the presidential guard of Trujillo, while also captaining the polo team.

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