Friday, 24 March 2017

French courtesan La Belle Otero's lovers

Caroline Otero
Spanish courtesan
Caroline Otero (1868-1965)
Spanish artist & dancer.
a.k.a. Born Augustina Otero Iglesias, Carolina CastanettaCaroline de OteroCroguesse de Diamants (the Chewer of Diamonds), la Belle Otero, the Andalucian Volcanothe Three Graces of Paris, the International Queen of Dance

The most famous belle epoque courtesan:  ". . . Spanish Gypsy [refers to] Caroline Otero, popularly known as La Belle Otero (1868-1965).  Otero, perhaps the most famous belle epoque courtesan, has been described by her biographer, Arthur H. Lewis, as 'a woman so lacking in morals, so grossly materialistic in outlook, and, though she was often billed as an artist, so totally lacking, save, one, in any genuine talent.'  Strangely enough, Otero's first success was won in America, where during the 1890-91 season she was exploited at New York's Eden Musee as the 'mysterious Spanish beauty, international Queen of the Dance.' . . .  he high point of her career was perhaps her thirtieth birthday, at which she was accompanied by King Leopold II of Belgium, Prince Nicholas I of Montenegro, Prince Albert of Monaco, the Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich of Russia, and Albert Edward, Prince of Wales---an entourage out of a von Stroheim film, at least. . . . "  (Von: The Life and Films of Erich Von Stroheim:68-69)

La Otero's liaisons with royalty: "The courtesan-performers boasted of their liaisons with royalty. Among Otero's many suitors, she counted some of the most prominent members of Europe's royal families who, no less than more ordinary men, were bewitched by the aura of glamorous sin that surrounded her. These included at least five present or future monarchs: Kaiser Wilhelm II; Edward, Prince of Wales; Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia, Alfonso XIII of Spain; and Prince Albert of Monaco. Some of these encountered Otero when she was on tour in their capitals; others benefited from a Parisian rendezvous. Needless to say, news of these royal liaisons travelled far and wide and added greatly to her fame and to the legend of her beauty. Such tales fuelled the public's imagination and wove around the leading figures of the belle epoque a legend of transgression, beauty and fearlessness." (Glamour; A History: n.p.)

" . . . In many respects the Riviera set the highest standards, and the best courtesans of the day fluttered to its lights. Most famous of all was La Belle Otero. Caroline Otero was a Spanish gypsy who married an Italian baron, honeymooned in Monte Carlo and soon progressed to a career as what the French called une grande horizontale. Her clients included the Prince of Wales, Alfonso XIII of Spain, Leopold II of Belgium, Tsar Nicholas II, and a German millionaire of whom Otero observed, 'Such a rich man can never be ugly.' . . ." (Riviera: The Rise and Rise of the Cote d'Azur: n.p.)

The suicide siren:  ". . . Her drama coach's son drowned himself in the Seine, an art student threw himself under the coach, two noblemen blew their brains out, two more leaped from windows, and a schoolteacher hanged himself from the tree in the Bois de Boulogne where he'd first seen her."  (Glamour: A History:n.p.)

Five of Europe's king's craving for La Otero in a single evening: ". . . One story holds that during a single evening at the Cafe de Paris, five of Europe's kings descended on the table, looking for love:  Nicholas II of Russia, Britain's Edward VII, Wilhelm II of Prussia, Belgium's Leopold II, and Alfonso XIII of Spain.  The evidence is paltry as to which royal(s) gained her favor that night, but I'm guessing, no matter what, La Belle Otero was compensated generously for her efforts on that occasion."  (Whore Stories: A Revealing History of the World's Oldest Profession: 53)

Once she charmed four kings"Other women have gone down in history because they won the favour of a king.  La Belle Otero, as she was called, captivated four crowned heads of Europe---Leopold II of Belgium, Czar Nicholas II of Russia, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Edward VII of England." (Trove)

The world's first movie star"In 1965, an elderly impoverished woman was found dead in a hotel room in Nice, France. Her death marked the end of an era. She was the last of the great courtesans. Known as La Belle Otero, she was a volcanic Spanish beauty whose patrons included the Vicomte de ChĂȘnedollĂ©, Kaiser Wilhelm II, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich of Russia. She is also sometimes credited as the world’s first movie star. She accumulated an enormous fortune, but gambled it all away. On her death, a rare species slipped into extinction, quietly and unnoticed." (Scarlet Women: 1)

Six lovers killed themselves because of her: "At the top of the tree were the grandes horizontales headed by Carolina Otero known simply as 'La Belle'. Born in Galicia, she went to France as a dancer and starred with her opulent bosom and dark eyes as an Andalusian gypsy at the Folies Bergere music hall. Her lovers included the heir to the British throne, the Prince of Wales, as well as the kings of Serbia and Spain and Russian grand dukes; six men were said to have killed themselves after she ended their affairs. Her fortune was put at the equivalent of $25 million, but she gambled heavily and died in a one-room flat in Nice in 1950." (France: A Modern History: 185)

No jewels, no Otero: "Think of Caroline Otero, yes, la belle Otero, as the Prince of Wales called her, and so did Grand Duke Peter of Russia and another admirer, Kaiser Wilhelm II, who also called her 'my little savage.' Maybe the Kaiser had better taste than history credits him with. La belle Otero eventually ended up with a Baron Ollstreder, who gave her so many jewels, including the famous necklace of Marie-Antoinette, that he nearly went broke. and that was the end of the liaison, which shouldn't surprise you. No jewels, no Otero. . . ." (Remembrance of Things Parins: Sixty Years of Writing from Gourmet: 182)

Her lovers were:
A legion of lovers of the highest quality: "Her lovers were legion, and of the highest quality. La Belle Otero is said to have slept with more royalty than any other courtesan in Europe. All of them rewarded her handsomely. King Leopold of the Belgians' occasional involvement with Otero resulted in gifts of several desirable residences across Europe, in particular a luxury villa at Ostend. As for Prince Nicholas of Montenegro and Prince Albert of Monaco, Otero seems to have run them concurrently for several years. Albert, the more generous (but the less virile), gave Otero over 225, 000 pounds in jewellery. An exception, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, offered only a small hunting lodge just outside Paris. She was bedecked with h=jewels by Muzaffar-ed-Din . . . and the multi-millionaire Joseph Kennedy was far from ungenerous. In the theatre, Emperor Yoshihito of Japan honoured Otero with the gift of a Pacific island in recognition of a performance she gave in front of a vast audience in Tokyo. In the bedroom, after a strenuous three days of love-making, the Khedive of Cairo gave her a ten-carat diamond ring comfortably nestled in a setting of twelve magnificent pearls and valued at over half a million francs." (Mistresses: True Stories of Seduction, Power and Ambition: n.p.)

The mistress of six crowned heads of state: "The press was not kind to Miss Otero. She was accused of being the lover on no less than six crowned-heads of state -- including King Edward of England and Czar Nicholas of Russia. Similar accusations were leveled at the kings of Spain and Serbia, the Grand Duke Peter, and the Duke of Westminster. It is a fact that at least two men fought a duel over her, and another committed suicide because of her rejection of his advances." (Lock Keeper)

La Belle's physical appearance: "Her appearance was just as superlative as her exploits. Besides her sultry Carmencita face, she had a body to make men faint---runway legs and voom-voom measurements of thirty-eight, twenty-one, thirty-six. Her breasts, which wags said 'preceded her by a quarter of an hour' when she entered a room, inspired the Cannes Carlton to name its twin domes les boites a lait [milk bottles] d'Otero. Even Colette waxed poetic; they looked like 'elongated lemons,' she said, 'firm, and up-turned at the tips.'" (Seductress: Women Who Ravished the World and Their Lost Art of Love: n.p.)

Otero's personal & family background: "Otero attributed her sensational endowments to heredity: a lovely Gypsy mother and Greek aristocratic father, who died in a duel defending his wife's honor. Honor in fact was her mother's last virtue. The village puta, she had seven children by an array of men in a forlorn mountain town in northern Spain. Carolina Otero Iglesias, her second, grew up unsupervised, unschooled, and neglected in desolate poverty. At eleven she was abducted by the shoemaker, held captive, and raped until her pelvis broke. Thus began her obsession with her 'liberte.'. . . ." (Seductress: Women Who Ravished the World and Their Lost Art of Love: n.p.)

"During the early 1900’s the courtesans of France were heavily sought by men around the world. They came at an extremely high price, decorated themselves in expensive jewelry and had a grace in their gait that drove men mad. La Belle Otero was one of these women, her hair raven black, figure like a wine glass and complexion intoxicating. Born in Spain to a poverty-stricken home, the poor girl was raped into sterility at the tender age of 10 (Author’s note: what the hell!). At 13 years old she ran away from the orphanage and married, then was abandoned by an Italian man who gambled her away in a dice game.  Taking to the road to dance for money with her partner “Paco”, this began a career for Otero as a mistress and exotic dancer. Taking on the name of La Belle Otero, to support her fictional history as an Andalusian Gypsy, Otero became a must-have for the richest men in the world. It was said that her dark eyes were so penetrating one could not take one’s eyes off of them. Men literally showered her with money, invited her to dinners where each plate was worth the sum of a regular man’s life of salary and royal heirs were willing to give everything up for her." (Hotties Of History: Carolina La Belle Otero)
Albert I de Monaco
1) Albert I de Monaco (1848-1922)
The playboy prince with deep pockets and a sexual problem: "The new conquest was Albert, Prince of Monaco, a millionaire (sic) playboy with deep pocket and sexual problems only Caroline could cure. He set off a regal stampede. . . . " (Glamour: A History: n.p.)

$300,000 for giving a prince an erection: ". . . In the 1890s, Prince Albert of Monaco earned low marks because he had trouble getting an erection. After a night of conversation, he finally did, and Otero exaggerated the truth to tell him he was 'formidable'---whereupon he 'strutted around the room.' The grateful Albert set her up in a choice apartment and gave her more than $300,000 worth of gems.'He was not a very virile man and I don't think he got his money's worth,' Otero concluded. 'But as long as he didn't care, neither did I, and he seemed to enjoy taking me where we could be seen together publicly.'"  (The Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People:508)
2) Alexander I of Serbia (1876-1903), King of Serbia, 1889
Lover in 1905
"On a visit to Monte Carlo in 1905, Otero 'deflowered' 19-year-old King Alfonso XIII of Spain. 'He was rather aloof at first,' she remembered, 'but I taught him how to relax.'  In 1913, at the age of 27, he set the 44-year-old Otero up in Madrid in the last apartment she would ever occupy courtesy of a royal client." (The Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People:508-509)
4) Aristide Briand (1862-1932)
a.k.a. le Pelerin de la Paix
"Otero;s 49th birthday had found her with a new lover, Aristide Briand, who would become one of France's greatest statesmen and win the 1926 Nobel Peace Price.  Otero must have sensed his coming greatness, because his appearance did not foretell such a future: 'He was . . . hideously ugly.  He was fat.  He dressed like a slob---often there's be remains of an omelet on his vest, his nails were black, but there was a fascination to him I never found in any other man.'  He could only afford 'an occasional cheap jewel and flowers,' Otero recalled.  'Once . . . he made love to me eight times before morning.  And he was 50 years old at the time.'  Their affair lasted 10 years."  (The Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People: 508)

". . . For routine sex, she slept for ten years with Aristide Briand, a statesman with a libido fully equal to Otero's, who made love eight times a night. . . . " (Seductress: Women Who Ravished the World and their Lost Art of Love:n.p.)

5) Auguste Herrero.

6) Baron de Lezacari.

7) Baron Lepic
"Otero made love with Baron Lepic in a hot-air balloon floating 200 ft. over the Aube River near Privins, France.  On June 15, 1902, the New York World reported that 'the gondola remained high above the earth for more than one hour.'  Sixty years later, Otero purred, 'It was an experience every woman should enjoy.'" (Seductress: Women Who Ravished the World and their Lost Art of Love:n.p.)

". . . In 1902, she satisfied Baron Lepic floating two-hundred matres over Paris in a hot-air balloon. . . . "  (Mistresses: True Stories of Seduction, Power and Ambition:n.p.)

8) Baron Ollstreder
Austrian banker
Benefits:  "...La belle Otero eventually ended up with a Baron Ollstreder, who gave her so many jewels, including the famous necklace of Marie Antoinette, that he nearly went broke. And that was the end of the liaison, which shouldn't surprise you..."  (Reichl, 2005, p. 182).

" . . . Otero boasted of the necklaces she received from the wealthy Viennese banker Baron Ollstreder that had once belonged to the Empress Elisabeth ('Sissi') of Austria. . . (Glamour: A History, n.p.)

". . . (W)hile out walking, Caroline paused to look into a jeweller's window.  A middle-aged, distinguished-looking man approached her.  He begged her.  He begged for the honour of presenting her with whatever in the window took her fancy.  She pointed to a 10,000 peseta jewel case, containing a necklace, tiara, ring, bracelet and earrings.  With a little persuasion, she allowed herself to be taken into the shop of its purchase.  The following day her admirer, Lisbon's foremost banker, bought up Caroline Otero's contract with the theatre and installed her in a mansion.  Charge accounts were opened for her with jewellers, dressmakers and perfumers.  Gifts were heaped upon her until her rooms were overflowing with them.  At the end of two months Caroline had realised upon most of the presents and had 100,000 pesetas in cash.  She packed her bags and bought a ticket for Barcelona--and Pacco."  (Trove)

Aftermath:  ". . . She left Ollstreder because all he wanted was to be with a famous demi-mondaine whose luxury would bring him honour.  She perceived that this embourgeoisement of galanterie eliminated its spontaneously gay character. . . . " (Glamour: A History:n.p.)

9) Beppino de Montel.
" . . . Until the 'thirties Beppino de Montel, who was not a cotton but a silk man an equally prestigious thing to be, owned racing stables (and what could be more English than thoroughbred horses?), was president of the Clubino, the young men's club, and had enjoyed the expensive favors of La Belle Otero, used to send his shirts to London to be washed and ironed, like the dandies of the Second Empire. . . ." (From Caesar to the Mafia: Persons, Places, and Problems in Italian Life: 191)
10) Boni de Castellane (1867-1932)
French aristocrat
Comte de Castellane-Novejean, Marquis de Castellane.
a.k.a. Paul Ernest Boniface de Castellane.

Son ofAntoine de Castellane, Marquis de Castellane-Nevejean & Anne-Marie Le Clerc de Juigne.
Husband of1. Anna Gould mar 1895, div 1906.

11) Captain Duval
". . . While the shah made her very wealthy, she chose to give herself to the penniless Captain Duval, because he was pleasing to me."  (Mistresses: True Stories of Seduction, Power and Ambition:n.p.)
Caran d'Ache
by Atelier Nadar, 1890
12) Caran d'Ache (1858-1909)
French satirist, caricaturist & political cartoonist.
a.k.a. Emmanuel Poire.

13) Count Savin de Pont-Maxence:
". . . Comte Savin de Pont-Maxence an admirer who hardly knew her, agreed to cover all the invalid's expenses and provide her with a pretty, well-furnished apartment to aid her recuperation (another charmed moment)."  (Mistresses: True Stories of Seduction, Power and Ambition:n.p.)

14) Duc de Dino

15) Duc d'Orleans

16)Prince Edouard de Belime
Lover in 1897.
"The Prince of Wales, later Edward VII of England, travelled frequently met her in private rooms at Voison's, Durand's or the Cafe Anglais." (Trove)

18) Ernest Jurgens

20) Gabriele D'Annunzio (1863-1938)

21) Guglielmo22) Hug

h Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Duke of Westminster (1879-1953)

23) Jacques de Crussol, Duc d'Uzes 

24) Joseph P. Kennedy

25) Khedive of Cairo:
Lover in 1895
"Sixty-year-old King Leopold II of Belgium 'was not very generous at the start but I taught him how to give.  He was an apt student.'  They met in 1894 and were part-time lovers for three or four years.  Leopold, said Otero, 'gave my my own small villa by the sea' at Ostend, in west Flanders, then an exclusive summer resort."   (The Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People:508)

27) Lord Lawson

28) Manuelo Domingo, Portuguese banker.
". . . Caroline fled back to Portugal.  At the first stop, Oporto, she fell in with rich and handsome Manuelo Domingo, the son of a great wine-growing family.  A few months later, as a result of gifts from the generous Manuelo, she had 340,000 pesetas on deposit in the Bank of Spain.  His family had stepped in and packed Manuelo off to France to forget her. Caroline was given a handsome present and ordered to leave Oporto."  (Trove)

"Wealth and good looks, in that order, were always irresistible to Otero; Manuel had more than his share of both. That intimate supper led Manuel establishing his mistress in the Hotel de France, where he sent flowers, daily and heaped expensive gifts on her. She was now sixteen and an experienced cocotte. She learned about lust from Paco; Senor Porrazzo taught her the power of money; now, Manuel was teaching her about love an expensive interlude for the boy, from whom she gained 340,000 pesetas and a sizable collection of jewels and expensive clothes."  (Mistresses: True Stories of Seduction, Power and Ambition:n.p.)

29) Marquis de Tirenzo.
"Another admirer, the Marquis de Tirenzo, appeared and assumed responsibility for her upkeep.  However, he did not last long.  Caroline soon fell head over heels in love with an impoverished Italian Count, earning a living baritone in a visiting opera company.  Nothing else wold satisfy her except marriage.  The Count capitulated gracefully, threw up his job and entered matrimony.  Caroline was dragged to Monte Carlo, where for the second time she allowed a man to squander all she possessed in the gaming rooms.  A final break with the Count came with the discovery that he had seduced a maid in their hotel for the purpose of borrowing her savings 10,000 francs to try out a new roulette system.  Caroline Otero packed up and departed fr Paris. . . .  "(Trove)

30) Michael Pirievski, Russian prince
"When Thompson eventually called it a day, Caroline Otero soon replaced him with a Russian Prince named Michael Pirievski.  Temperamental and wildly jealous, Pirievski made her life a hell.  In Monte Carlo, after he discovered her making an appointment with a visiting nobleman, he tried to shoot her when she returned to her suite.  His aim was poor.  Caroline suffered only a minor wound in the arm.  As soon as she recovered she shot Pirievski in the same place with the same revolver."  (Trove)

31) Muzaffar-ed-DinShah of Persia
"Her five-year affair with the Muzaffar-ed-Din, shah of Persia, netted Otero a stream of jewels. 'He was a dirty, smelly old man, and very strange in his desires,' she recalled.  'He visited me every afternoon at two o'clock and left at five. Ten minutes later one of his servants would be at the door to hand my maid a gold, inlaid cassette, lined with a velvet.  It contained a single jewel but a very magnificent stone---diamond, ruby, pearl, jade, or emerald, some worth as much as 25,000 francs.  I would remove the jewel and return the box."  (The Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People:508)

"On one thing Otero was adamant: she chose her lovers, often influenced by the enormous fees they were prepared to spend. Thus she accepted the Shah of Persia, allegedly rather smelly and with a leaning to sadism but he presented her with many priceless jewels over their intermittent five-year liaison.  These invariably arrived in a gold casket on a velvet cushion.  Otero would open the lid, extract the jewel and never say thank you.  The shah preferred silence, in an effort, perhaps, to preserve the mystique of anonymity. . . . " (Mistresses: True Stories of Seduction, Power and Ambition:n.p.)
King Nichola I of Montenegro, 1909
"In 1894 Prince Nicholas of Montenegro (who would become his country's first and last king) moved into the apartment Albert had given Otero. The tall, slender prince was in his early 50s, and their relationship lasted for several years. After presenting Otero with 'a simply gorgeous diamond bracelet and at least five . . . beautiful watches,' he persuaded her to visit his palace in 1897. Otero later complained, 'I saw practically nothing the whole trip . . . all the prince wanted to do was to make love to me so I obliged."  (The Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People:508)

Lover in 1890
"One of the richest men in the world, Nicholas II, czar of Russia, had a bad complexion and rarely bathed.  'He really stank,' said Otero, and was still shaken from an assassination attempt that had occurred six years earlier. 'There were always a half-dozen huge, black-bearded armed guards at our bedroom door, some more at the window, and if there was a rear exit, he'd have half a regiment posted there.  It almost felt like I was undressing in an army barracks or a bullfighting arena. . . But Otero 'grew quite fond of him' even though 'he had the strangest views about sex.'   (The Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People:508)

34) Pacco
a.k.a. Paco.
"At 14 . . . she was dancing at a well-known cafe in the city. At the cafe the 14-year-old minx met her first love, a dashing gambler and ne'er-do-well whom she calls Pacco in her memoirs. Exerting all the charm and coquetry she had inherited from her mother, Caroline badgered him into eloping with her to Lisbon. . . ."  (Trove)

"At eleven she was abducted by the shoemaker, held captive, and raped until her pelvis broke. Thus began her obsession with her 'liberte.'  A year later she ran away from home and lived by her wits and body until she met a dancer named Paco. He taught the fourteen-year-old how to dance, and for the next seven years he pimped and hustled jobs for her as they crisscrossed Spain on the cabaret circuit."  (Glamour: A History: n.p.)

35) Prince de Sagan.

37) Reiderman

38) Reza Shah of Iran

39) Senor Pompei

40) Senor Porazzo.
"Her benefactor introduced himself as Senor Porazzo, a very wealthy, middle-aged banker who had seen her performance and used this casual encounter to make Otero's acquaintance. When he set up his beautiful young mistress in a delightful apartment and opened several charge accounts for her, he had no idea she was underage. After some weeks, however, she discovered by chance that Paco was in Barcelona. With no thought of Senor Porazzo, Otero absconded, taking with her the small fortune she had accumulated from her protector." (Mistresses: True Stories of Seduction, Power and Ambition:n.p.)

41) Stevez, a Spaniard
"...One of her fondest admirers at the time, whom she refers to in memoires as Stevez, counselled the girl to sever ties with Pacco for her personal sake and the sake of her career. With this solid advice and the support of her audience and business managers, Otero wished farewell to her native country and Pacco and accepted a contract in France." (Celebrity Theory)

". . . A friend called Stevez at last convinced Otero just how worthless her lover was.  He urged her to break with this parasite as soon as an opportunity occurred. . . . "  (Mistresses: True Stories of Seduction, Power and Ambition:n.p.)

42) Vicomte de Chenedolle:
Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany
by Heinrich von Angeli, 1883
William Kissam Vanderbilt
44) William K. Vanderbilt (1849-1920)
American magnate
Lover in 1890
"Otero did not limit herself to royalty.  William K. Vanderbilt, of the famous (and rich) American family, offered Otero a yacht and showered her with $250,000 worth of jewels, including a pearl necklace Napoleon III had given the Empress Eugenie."  (The Intimate Sex Lives of Famous People: 508)

". . . In 1890 she made love with William Kissam Vanderbilt on his luxury yacht, the Alva. . . . "  (Mistresses: True Stories of Seduction, Power and Ambition:n.p.)

Benefits:  "One of the first words Otero learnt in English was 'Tiffany's.' Merchant princes like William Vanderbilt whisked her off to glamorous locales and wooed her with matched pearls, heirloom diamonds, and emerald bracelets. . . . "  (Glamour: A History:n.p.)

Physical Appearance & Personality:  "Her appearance was just as superlative as her exploits.  Besides her sultry Carmencita face, she had a body to make men faint---runway legs and voom-voom measurements of thirty-eight, twenty-one, thirty-six.  Her breasts, which wags said 'preceded her by a quarter of an hour' when she entered a room, inspired the Cannes Carlton to name its twin domes les boites a lait [milk bottles] d'Otero.  Even Colette waxed poetic, they looked like 'elongated lemons,' she said, 'firm, and up-turned at the tips.'." (Glamour: A History: .p.]

Personal & Family Background:  ". . . Her mother Carmencita, originally from Cadiz, was a beautiful gypsy and her father a Greek military officer stationed in Spain.  The couple's marriage was built on desire, struggled from desperation, and broke down due to betrayal.  Throughout most of her adulthood Carmencita was motivated by greed and a penchant desire for a life of material wealth.  The Greek officer's infatuation with the foreign beauty drove him to a relentless pursuit of her love, and while they were eventually married, Carmencita barely felt any passion for her husband and remained with him solely for the luxurious life that he offered her.  Her restlessness in the marriage drove her to adultery, and she maintained no level of family responsibility or obligation despite bearing four children.  The tension in the marriage culminated upon the officer's discovery of his wife's infidelity. . .  Requesting a dual (sic, duel?) against his wife's lover, the officer loses Carmencita and his life to his rival."  (Celebrity)

Spouses & Children:  She married 1) ; 2) in 1906, Rene Webb, an Englishman.  " . . . By fifteen, she juggled three Andalusian grandees and an Italian husband who was, in Caroline's words, 'as handsome as Bizet's Toreador. However, she soon abandoned this handsome husband and began performing in Marseilles caf-concs before making her way to Monte Carlo. . . . "  (Edwardian Promenade)

"By far the most flamboyant cocotte of the era, La Belle Otero was the bastard daughter of a Barcelona gypsy.  She began dancing in local cafes and soon reached Paris, where her sensuous performances made her an immediate sensation...." (Paris in the Fifties)

Benefits:  "...(A) French count constructed a sumptuous mansion for her off the Champs-Elysees.  Her chief lover,  a boorish German baron, would summon her to bed with a costly jewel...." (Paris in the Fifties)

" . . . Otero lived in a sumptuous apartment near the Bois de Boulogne that had been given to her by a duke in payment for a champagne dinner. . . . " (Something in the Way She Moves: Dancing Women from Salome to Madonna: 109)

" . . . Among the many possessions she amassed during her career was an island in the Pacific, bought for her by the Emperor of Japan. . . . " (Something in the Way She Moves: 110)

Aftermath:  "...A reckless gambler, she lost bundles at Monte Carlo until, down to her last centime, she had to pawn or auction off her possessions.  She retired to a shabby apartment on the Cote d'Azur, the scene of her past extravagances, and was still residing there a decade after World War II...."  (Paris in the Fifties)

References for La Belle Otero.
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