José Luis de Vilallonga

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José Luis de Vilallonga
Audrey Hepburn amb Vilallonga.jpg
Born José Luis de Vilallonga y Cabeza de Vaca
(1920-01-29)January 29, 1920
Madrid, Spain
Died August 30, 2007(2007-08-30) (aged 87)
Andratx, Majorca, Balearic Islands, Spain
Resting place
Poblenou Cemetery
Occupation Author, aristocrat and actor
Years active 19581997
Spouse(s) The Hon. Essylt-Priscilla
Scott-Ellis (1945-1972)
Syliane Stella Morell
(1974-1995)
María Begoña Aranguren Gárate (1999-2007)
Children John Alfonso Stephen de Vilallonga y Scott-Ellis
Carmen Beatrice de Vilallonga
y Scott-Ellis
Parents Salvador de Vilallonga y de Cárcer (father)
María del Carmen Cabeza de Vaca y Carvajal (mother)
Relatives María Antonia de Vilallonga y Cabeza de Vaca (sister)
Alfonso Salvador de Vilallonga y Cabeza de Vaca (brother)

José Luis de Vilallonga y Cabeza de Vaca, 9th Marquess of Castellbell (29 January 1920 – 30 August 2007) was a Spanish author, aristocrat and actor who co-starred with Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Biography[edit]

Born in Madrid, Spain, de Vilallonga – who also went by the surname of Cabeza de Vaca – was a Grandee of Spain and part of the nobility, holding the title of Marquis de Castellbell. Upon the declaration in 1931 of Spain's Second Republic his family went into exile in Biarritz, France, but returned six months later. When the Spanish Civil War erupted in 1936, de Vilallonga was at a French school, but his father ordered him back to Spain to fight on the side of General Franco. His father was an enthusiastic supporter of Franco, and at age 16 de Vilallonga was a serving member of a Nationalist execution platoon.[1]

After World War II, de Vilallonga became increasingly disenchanted with the Franco regime, and he left the Spanish diplomatic service to live abroad. In 1954 his first novel, The Ramblas End in the Sea, was published, causing the Spanish military government censor to issue a ban on his reentry to the country. He then obtained work as a foreign correspondent for the national press agency EFE and for the magazines Paris Match, Marie Claire and Vogue. His social connections and ability to relate gossip among Europe's jet set enabled him to regularly sell magazine articles, in addition to authoring four autobiographical tell-all books about his numerous love affairs.[1] After recording taped interviews with Spain's King Juan Carlos, he wrote an official biography of the King that was published in 1993.

Throughout the late 1950s and 1960s, de Vilallonga continued his acting career. Though he refused a Hollywood acting contract, a highlight in his acting career was a role as "José da Silva Pereira," the dashing Brazilian multimillionaire whom Holly Golightly (played by Audrey Hepburn) planned to marry in Blake Edwards' classic movie, Breakfast At Tiffany's (1961).

Vilallonga was married three times,[2] to The Honourable Esyllt-Priscilla Scott-Ellis (daughter of Thomas Scott-Ellis, 8th Baron Howard de Walden) (b. 1916 d. 1983) (married 1945, divorced 1972), Syliane Stella Morell (married 1974, divorced 1995), and since 1999 to journalist Begoña Aranguren. A spendthrift, he soon disposed of much of his first wife's inheritance and property. He had frequent affairs, including a relationship with the French actress Michèle Girardon and Hungarian actress Magda Gabor,[3] both while still legally married to Essylt-Priscilla Scott-Ellis. Girardon eventually committed suicide in 1975 after de Vilallonga ended their relationship to marry Syliane Stella Morell. Though courts twice found him liable for alimony to his first wife Essylt-Priscilla Scott-Ellis, de Vilallonga never paid the judgment, an act which reduced her to poverty for the remainder of her life. His third wife Begoña Aranguren also became disenchanted with de Vilallonga, and the couple separated in 2002. Aranguren wrote a scathing portrayal of the aging socialite and their marriage in 2004.[1]

De Vilallonga died at his home on the island of Majorca on 30 August 2007 from natural causes.[4] He is survived by children John and Carmen from his first marriage and an adopted son Fabricio. King Juan Carlos expressed his sadness at Vilallonga's death.

Select filmography[edit]

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