suicide freddy

In 1951, Time Magazine published a lot of purple prose such as this report on the death of Australian Freddy McEvoy, a swashbuckling legend in aristocratic British sporting circles. An expert in shooting, race-car driving, deep-sea diving, and boxing, he competed at the Olympics in 1936 as a bobsled driver. His professions were listed jewelry designer, public relations consultant, professional gambler, smuggler, black marketer, and gigolo.

Freddy in Maserati found here

At the Stork Club, in Paris, on the Riviera and in London’s West End, everybody who was anybody knew Freddy McEvoy. Born to obscurity, the tall, handsome, 44-year-old Australian had the gift of making friends, news, money, and marrying heiresses. His feats of derring-do on the high seas, in the game-filled jungles of Africa and on the icy ski runs of Switzerland gave the international set a vicarious sense of adventure, and earned him the nickname Suicide Freddy. His zesty approach to business matters—he launched the fashion of flowered shirts for men by selling his own right off his back to an Argentine millionaire for $2,000—made him several fortunes. His careless gallantry in the drawing room earned him the undying affection of many, including his first wife, oil heiress Beatrice Benjamin Cartwright. 

floral shirt found here

(He and Cartwright had lived together at the Badrutt Palace in St. Moritz for several winters, prior to their marriage. One year, McEvoy brought home a much younger model to “care for him,” explaining to Cartwright that he needed a younger bedfellow than her. The marriage lasted two years. When they were divorced, he married Irene Wrightsman, 18-year-old daughter of the president of Standard Oil of Kansas. That marriage also lasted but two years, and he spent most of 1944 going back and forth from Mexico City to Beverly Hills, smuggling arms, jewelry, liquor and other valuables into the United States)

Irene and her other boyfriend found here

When rollicking Errol Flynn was hauled into court in 1943 on charges of statutory rape, Freddy McEvoy stood by to say it wasn’t so; Errol was acquitted. When in 1949 Freddy married his third wife, 26 year old French model Claude Stephanie, Errol stood up as best man.

Errol and Freddy found here

Last week, heeding the call of the westering sun and the social season at Nassau, Freddy and Claude boarded their schooner, Kangaroo, and set sail for the Bahamas. A strong southwest gale was rising as the vessel rounded Cape Cantin off the Moroccan coast. The wind seized the yacht, drove it inshore and dashed it on the reefs. A surging wave flung a steward overboard to his death. Another knocked Claude’s French maid Cecile to the deck. McEvoy’s crewmen picked her up and lashed her to a mast for safety, but a moment later the wind tore her loose, and she was washed away.

French Maid found here

All night long winds and sea pounded the yacht while Claude clung desperately to a spar. Before dawn the ship’s cook went mad and drowned himself. At daybreak three sailors succeeded in swimming ashore. The last aboard the yacht, Freddy and Claude, both good swimmers, finally decided to chance it. Side by side they dived into the water. Freddy was within two yards of the beach when he looked back and saw his beautiful wife was in trouble; the playboy-millionaire turned seaward once again. The effort was too much. Just as he reached his wife, Freddy’s strength gave out. A great wave engulfed and drowned them both.

Warning: DO NOT watch Mad Cook if you have a weak stomach:

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38 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. he launched the fashion of flowered shirts for men. Now I know who to blame.

    And stupid me…I watched the video. ugh.

    • Don’t say I didn’t warn you…..

  2. Personal debauchery aside no one will ever surpass Errol Flynn as the greatest “Mr Dashing” to ever inhabit the silver screen.

    • Who are you putting him up against? I’m not sure who qualifies as a Mr Dashing

  3. Confused, who was Cartwright?
    *Vomits at video*

    • Sorry about the confusion Cindy, it was Beatrice Benjamin’s other name. I’ve added it to the post now

  4. I knew a “Fast Freddy” once, but he wasn’t suicidal, that I could tell. To earn a name like “Suicide Freddy,” you’d have to be, well… crazy, right? But, I guess you can’t argue with the whole, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away” mindset. After all, maybe it is.

    • But then you miss out on the joys of old age…. arthritis, macular degeneration, Alzheimers….

  5. I LOVED Madventures (that was back in the day when I had cable, though…)! Those are some crazy dudes!

    • I could listen to those sexy Russian accents all day

  6. I had something witty and intelligent to say until I saw the French maid. There’s something about a woman in sexy bondage that makes me forget about suicide.

    • Next time the coppers have to talk someone out of jumping off a bridge they could produce a tied up French maid and see if that had a better result

  7. You would have thought that Mr McCartney could afford someone who could colour his hair nicely ….

    • This was probably taken in the Heather Mills era and we all know what a vindictive cow she turned out to be (I saw it coming though). I wouldn’t have let her near me with anything approaching semi-permanent.

      • Like a marriage contract?

      • I’ve never met Heather so I can’t comment.

  8. I clicked the vid … then thought oh NO! but it won’t play here – PHEW!!!

    • Lucky for you Lulu 😉

  9. it’s abig business for some people here – leech rearing. they’re sold for medical use for a lot of money. but yikes. i wouldnt want to be treated with leeches !

    • I think there’s a doctor in Melbourne who used (uses?) leeches quite effectively for certain cases.

      • Leeches and maggots have both resumed a place in modern medicine

  10. I like the way he turned back to rescue his wife and then died. A rogue but not an entirely selfish one. And what exactly was the “careless gallantry in the drawing room”, I wonder?

  11. “…explaining to Cartwright that he needed a younger bedfellow than her. The marriage lasted two years.” You’d think that line would be a marriage ender.

  12. Oh Errol … I would do anything, just to be like him.

    Not sure about that other dude though. I’d need lists to keep it all straight.

    • Now I have an earworm 😦

      • I’ve had one since 1981.

  13. The man who made floral shirts fashionable? Well then he is a hero to me

  14. You always hear about arms smugglers. I wonder whether the legs feel left out.

  15. What a sad but very gallant ending.

    • Surely The King would do the same for you queenie……

  16. He like the renaissance man of the sports world

  17. This Freddy sounds a lot like me. He was a swashbuckling legend, and I once took a fencing class. Other than that I’m not so sure.

  18. if they both drowned, how does anyone know he was going back to rescue her? maybe she had the keys to the car, and he wanted them before she went under?

    • Daisyfae, you have an evil mind. And that’s precisely why we are going to paint New York red together in July…..

  19. I guess they just don’t make heros like they used to. Thankfully.

  20. I skipped the video, I’m much more interested in the French Maid lashed to the mast.

  21. What a terrible demise to such a cool guy.

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