Decades After His Death, Legacy of World's Greatest Playboy and Man who Inspired James Bond, Endures

A legend in his own lifetime. AGN
Who was Porfirio Rubirosa Ariza, the infamous Dominican playboy, diplomat, polo player, race car driver, reputed assassin, and conquerer of rich white women? His is a story of rags-to-riches, of a young man from the bottom charming his way to the top.

Marrying the two richest women in the world at that time, Doris Duke and Barbara Hutton, he was a spectacle in his era, forever encapsulated as the greatest playboy to ever live.

He represents the "Dominican alpha male," a man's man; a free spirit even while closely tied to one of the Dominican Republic's "caudillos," the infamous dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo.

Rubirosa was born on the 22nd of January, 1909 in San Fancisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic. The son of Don Pedro Rubirosa, a Dominican general and ambassador in Paris, France. His lineage is very Dominican, as he was a cousin of Matias Ramon Mella, founding father of the Dominican Republic. He was an ambitious, motivated, and cultured young man. In retrospect, Rubi spent more time traveling around the world than he did in the Dominican Republic.

His exploits truly are the stuff legends are made of. The dapper dress style is evident in most of his photos, where he is usually dressed very sharply, and mingling with the global elite. You name them, they knew him; from Kings, Queens, Barons, Counts, Countesses and even on down to the Kennedys.

That playboy rubbed elbows with all the socialites, celebrities, and member of the global elite, even selling one of his homes in France to a Rothschild. Rubi was the adventurous type, often indulging in high-risk behavior: race car driving and Polo, and even having a boxing ring in his house to train and spar. He had a passion for playing Polo and started his own team, Cibao La Pampa, which still plays to this day. The team won the Coupe De France a couple of times, including on the 4th of July, 1965, the day before his death.
A brand before its time. AGN

His flamboyant style and love for Polo inspired a young Ralph Lauren in 1968 to name his brand "Polo" -- a brand that is now worth billions of dollars.

Eartha Kitt said he was Cary Grant, Errol Flynn, and Burt Lancaster rolled into one. He had a stable of polo ponies and metallic stallions, many of them Ferraris, with James Dean being photographed styling in his blue Ferrari 500 Mondial Spider PF.

Just to give you an idea of the type of footprint that Porfirio Rubirosa left behind, "the most interesting man in the world" -- made famous by Dos Equis beer commercials -- is just a figment of Rubi's true reality. Although Earnest Hemingway and his brother worked for British intelligence, the character of James Bond carries this air of a flamboyant playboy/spy/assassin, which makes you wonder if the real James Bond was partially inspired by our Dominican playboy/diplomat.

You can believe what you want to believe, but for me, in real life, James Bond was Dominican. All these brands mentioned are big money brands. Too bad Rubi wasn't the best business man, as his business was women, partying, sporting and spending money... a whole lot of money.

He would marry five times and his first marriage was to President Trujillo's daughter, Flor De Oro Trujillo, on December 3, 1932 in the ancestral home town of my family, San Jose De Las Matas. He had to be quite a charming character to be with such a brutal man's daughter and not get killed.

The fact that Trujillo never killed Porfirio Rubirosa speaks to his character because I'm sure anyone else would've been dead. In the initial stage of their romance, Trujillo did send out a team of his killers to murder Porfirio. Being the slick gentleman that he was, he managed to survive Trujillo's wrath.

"El Jefe," as Trujillo was known, was very fond of the young Porfirio and had much respect for his father Don Pedro Rubirosa. However, upon learning of their romance, he grew furious and plotted to kill his young protégé. Trujillo did occasionally put his foot down on Rubi, even taking away his diplomatic posts from him. It is said that whenever this "international man of mystery" needed money, Trujillo would send a blank check.

Porfirio and Flor would divorce in 1938, and El Jefe wasn't happy with Porfirio, subsequently putting his life in danger, yet He managed to survive Trujillo's wrath.

In 1942, he married his second wife, an attractive French actress and singer named Danielle Darrieux. His more famous wives were Doris Duke and Barbara Hutton, both wealthy heiresses and the richest women of that era. His last wife was a feisty young woman named Odile Rodin. It is said that she is the only woman he couldn't control. Porfirio once said: "She is under my skin."

He shined light on the unknown, small island of Santo Domingo with his flamboyant playboy lifestyle. He was one of the first, if not the first, individuals to be famous for being famous.

Rubi has the world's most beautiful women on his long list of conquests, which included the likes of Jane Mansfield, Eartha Kitt, Marilyn Monroe, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Eva Peron, Ava Gardner, Princess Soraya of Iran, Rita Hayworth, Tina Onassis, Princess Alexandra of Greece and Denmark, Joan Crawford, Angie Dickerson and many others. 

The original jetsetter. AGN
If Rubi was a spy for Trujillo, then the little Caribbean nation would've had dirt on everyone. When Rubi wasn't jet-setting on private jets with buddies like Frank Sinatra, he was probably flying around in his custom B-25 bomber, gifted to him by his ex-wife, the wealthy tobacco heiress Doris Duke, who along with a beautiful 17th century home in Paris and in the Dominican Republic, also gifted him a coffee plantation. 

His toys included two custom B-25 aircraft and at least 8 Ferraris and other luxury cars. 

Everybody knew Rubi, so why don't we know him? Some Dominicans denounce him and his sinful ways along with his attachment to Trujillo. Before his death, Rubi lashed out at Ramfis Trujillo, son of President Trujillo, who he once considered a friend. In the end, Rubi said that Ramfis was a coward and would never speak to him again. 

Furious death. Thrillist
I've read many articles indicating that Rubi's legacy is often downplayed or questioned. To that I say, who cares!? Probably only undersexed men or feminist beta writers trying to tear down the greatest playboy that ever lived.

Rubi died fast and furious much like the exciting life that he lived, after an all nighter with friends to celebrate his Polo team winning the Coupe De France. 

Porfirio and company partied until the early hours of the morning, and he then jumped into his Ferrari 250 GT convertible and crashed it into a tree at high speed. 

Those who knew him said that he died the way he lived, and Rubi himself once said that if he died in a car, he'd prefer it to be a Maserati or Ferrari.

Interracial marriage during segregation.
By most accounts, Rubi wasn't as bad as they try to make him out to be, and, as mentioned before, billions have been made by clothing and entertainment influenced by none other than the Don himself. 

Self-righteous opinions can't tear down Rubirosa's accomplishments. Young Dominicans need this "tigerazo" because he shows that Dominican greatness has been around for a long, long time, and that much like Muhammed Ali, Rubi may have had his character flaws and questionable associations, but he was instrumental in breaking down racial barriers. 

Rubi cannot simply be written off as "some exotic gigolo" because if it was that easy to break the color line in the 1950s, anyone could have been the greatest playboy to ever live, and such is the case today, on the anniversary of his death, that we remember Porfirio Rubirosa, an iconic Dominican legend who left his footprint all over the world, inspiring fictional characters even in countries he only briefly visited.

By: El Conde