Serge Obolensky

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Serge Obolensky
Serge Obolensky circa 1920.jpg
Obolensky circa 1943
Born Sergei Platonovich Obolensky
(1890-11-03)November 3, 1890
Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died September 29, 1978(1978-09-29) (aged 87)
Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan
Spouse(s) Catherine Alexandrovna Romanov Yurievsky (1878-1959)
Ava Alice Muriel Astor (m. 1924)
Marilyn Wall (1926-2007)
Children Ivan Sergeyevich Obolensky (b. 1925)
Sylvia Obolensky Guirey (1931-1997)
Parent(s) Platon Sergeyevich Obolensky
Maria Konstantinovna Naryshkina

Sergei Platonovich "Serge" Obolensky (Tsarskoye Selo, November 3, 1890 - Grosse Pointe, Wayne County, Michigan, September 29, 1978) was a Russian Prince and Vice Chairman of the Board of Hilton Hotels Corporation.


He was the son of General Platon Sergeyevich Obolensky, Prince Obolensky-Neledinsky-Meletzky (Moscow, June 12, 1850 - Saint Petersburg, June 27, 1913) and wife (m. Saint Petersburg, January 31, 1888, div. 1897) Maria Konstantinovna Naryshkin (Moscow, December 22, 1861 - Paris, February 2, 1929). He had a younger brother, Wladimir Platonovich Knyaz Obolensky (Saint Petersburg, March 14, 1896 - New York, New York County, New York, October 12, 1968), who died unmarried and without issue.

He was an enthusiastic polo player and played for his University Team 1914 in Oxford.[1] He married firstly Alexander II of Russia's daughter, Catherine Alexandrovna Yurievskaya (1878-1959) at Yalta on October 6, 1916.[2] He divorced Catherine in 1924 without any issue and then Obolensky married Ava Alice Muriel Astor in London, Middlesex, on July 24, 1924, divorcing in 1932. Ava was the daughter of John Jacob Astor IV and Ava Lowle Willing.[3]

He was a soldier in two World Wars and in the Russian Civil War. He was a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. paratroopers and a member of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), forerunner of the CIA, and made his first five jumps in 1943 at the age of 53. He captured Sardinia with a crew of three in 1943. In 1958, he was Vice Chairman of the Board of Hilton Hotels Corporation.

Serge married Marilyn Fraser-Wall of Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan on June 3, 1971, with whom he did not have children.[3][4]

He died in 1978, and is buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Southfield, Michigan, USA.[5]


He had two children with Ava:

Further reading[edit]

  • Obolensky, Serge. One Man in His Time: The Memoirs of Serge Obolensky (New York. McDowell, Obolensky, Inc. 1958). 433 pp. with index.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Polo Monthly" (PDF). November 1914. p. 140. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "Princess Yourievsky, Who as Princess Dolgorouki Wed Alexander II". New York Times. March 11, 1913. Retrieved 2008-08-11. As the representative of Princess Catherine Yourievsky of Paris, who as Princess Dolgorouki contracted a morganatic marriage with Czar Alexander II. of..... 
  3. ^ a b "Historical Import Goes to Auction at DuMouchelle Art Galleries". Reuters. 11 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-11. DuMouchelle Art Galleries, Inc., one of the leading United States art galleries, announces the auction of an art collection, culturally and socially significant to Russian and United States history. The entire collection is that of Prince Serge Obolensky, former husband to Russian Czar Alexander II's daughter, Princess Catherine Yourievsky, and later to U.S. real-estate tycoon Colonel John Jacob Astor IV's daughter, Ava Astor. Obolensky was a prominent figure in the Astor family and later Hilton International's New York hotel business. 
  4. ^ She was born on August 13, 1929 in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan and died on 5 October 2007, in Arlington County, Virginia
  5. ^ "Died". Time (magazine). October 16, 1978. Retrieved 2008-08-11. Serge Obolensky, 87, Russian prince who became a publicist and international socialite; in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. Scion of a wealthy White Russian family and husband of Czar Alexander II's daughter, the Oxford-educated Obolensky fled his native country after battling Bolsheviks as a guerrilla fighter. The tall, mustachioed aristocrat subsequently divorced Princess Catherine, married the daughter of American Financier John Jacob Astor, settled in the U.S. and worked with his brother-in-law, the real estate entrepreneur Vincent Astor. During World War II, Obolensky at 53 became the U.S. Army's oldest paratrooper and earned the rank of colonel. He started his own public relations firm in New York in 1949, handling accounts like Piper-Heidsieck champagne. "Serge," a friend once remarked, "could be successful selling umbrellas in the middle of the Sahara."