Prince Michael Romanoff was really an amiable American conman by the name of Harry Gerguson.
image found here
A short, debonair, mustachioed gentleman with an Oxford accent, walking stick and spats, he claimed to be the half brother of Czar Nicholas, or sometimes he was a cousin to the Czar, and more often than not, the Czar’s son. At other times he proclaimed himself to be a descendant of British Prime Minister William Gladstone, of a British Army officer, or of the man who killed Rasputin.
image of Rasputin’s assassin found here
The prince sported a carefully waxed moustache and usually dressed in a frock coat and gray striped trousers, carried a malacca cane and sometimes wore a monocle. In 1939 a group of his Hollywood buddies loaned him $7,500 to set up a restaurant. They didn’t expect it to become a success, but Prince Mike surprised them. He designed an eatery as flamboyant as himself.
Hat check room at Romanoff’s 1954
In 1945, Life Magazine wrote an article about him
“Under one alias or another Mike had cheated the tradesmen of two continents out of choice food, rare wines and luxurious lodgings. He once sold a priceless old master for $1500 while it still hung on the walls of a museum and made a fine art out of passing worthless checks. He was tossed out of England for ‘impersonating and marauding’ but the people he duped became very fond of the dauntless impostor and it was considered almost a privilege to be bilked by him.
image of Sinatra and Mikey found here
Although at his restaurant he moves skillfully from table to table, he treats many celebrities to nothing more than a good look at his retreating back. Others, like the movie executive that displeased him or the lady columnist who irritated him and got kicked in the shins, are banned forever. Recently mentioned as a candidate for Mayor, he claims to be too restless for civic office and wants to sell his business to a proper party. Already Mike has counted out the Duke of Windsor as ‘lacking the background’.
image found here