those mmmarrying mmmen

In 1923 a General Zakhari Mdivani appeared in Paris. As a Mohammedan chieftain of the Caucasus, he was recognized as a Bey or Prince by the Russian Imperial Court which acknowledged all Georgian “Princes” possessed of a pair of shoes, a stone house, a flock of sheep and a rifle. Prince Mdivani (pronounced Mmmdivani) had little money, but he had his jewels; five children, three boys and two girls, all very good looking.

Ceremonial Men’s Dress of the Russian Imperial Court found here

First to arrive was David, the oldest and shaggiest. At that time Gloria Swanson had just married a French Marquis. Pouting blonde Mae Murray, then at the height of her career, decided that she too could afford a title. She took as her fourth husband Prince David Mdivani. With David married, brother Serge, the handsomest, promptly arrived, to be snapped up by Pola Negri.

David and Mae found here

As husbands, the two Hollywood Mdivanis proved an expensive luxury. With the first pinch of Depression, Pola Negri decided to get rid of her handsome Prince Serge. While Mae Murray was pondering whether to divorce David, he and Serge struck oil back of her bath house in Venice, California. They organized the Pacific Shore Oil Co. with Mae Murray putting up most of the cash. After he bankrupted her, she divorced him on grounds of “extreme cruelty, unreasonable jealousy and hostility toward her guests” in 1933. He was then involved with French actress Arletty for a time but ended up marrying Oil heiress Virginia Sinclair. They divorced in February 1964 with her claiming mental cruelty and continual harassment. 

Serge and Pola found here

Divorced by Pola Negri, Serge’s second venture was to marry Chicago Opera Singer Mary McCormic. But the indisputably most successful of the marrying Mdivanis was Alexis, the youngest and last to arrive in the U. S.  Shrewdly, he avoided Hollywood, confined himself to the hard money fortunes of the East, and got himself married to Louise Astor van Alen, great-granddaughter of the late, great Mrs. William Astor. When she divorced him, Alexis, undaunted, drifted over to Paris, then had the inspiration of marrying Miss Barbara Hutton, heiress to the Woolworth store millions.

Alexis and Barbara found here

He and Hutton divorced in Reno in 1935 and he moved on to Baroness Maud von Thyssen-Bornemisza. In August 1935, while driving his Rolls Royce en route to Perpignan he died in a car crash. He had careened into a culvert, turned over five times and was pronounced dead on the spot. His passenger Maud was reported as only slightly injured but also as having bit her tongue off and was rendered permanently speechless thereafter.

Baroness Maud found here

Reluctant to see the Astor Van Alen millions disappear from the Mdivani clutches, Serge married his former sister-in-law, Louise, in February 1936, but died in March in a polo accident in Delray Beach, Florida when his pony fell and kicked him in the head as Louise stood on the sidelines.

William Van Alen found here