Stanley Clifford Weyman

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Stanley Clifford Weyman (November 25, 1890 – August 27, 1960), was an American multiple impostor who impersonated public officials, including the United States Secretary of State and various military officers.

Weyman was born as Stanley Jacob Weinberg on November 25, 1890 in Brooklyn, New York. His parents could not afford college tuition. He worked mainly in nondescript jobs but on occasion ventured to become somebody in the higher social ladder.

In 1910, Weyman's first imposture was as US consul representative to Morocco who dined in the finest restaurants of New York City. He was eventually arrested for fraud.

Next Weyman took a role of both a military attaché from Serbia and a US Navy lieutenant so the identities could use each other as a reference. He was soon caught.

Weyman was released the second time in 1915. He then became Lt Commander Ethan Allen Weinberg, consul general for Romania. He inspected the USS Wyoming and invited everyone to a dinner in the Astor Hotel. The advance publicity alerted the Bureau of Investigation and federal agents arrested him at the party. He was heard to complain that they should have waited until dessert. He got a year in jail.

In 1917 he took the mantle of Royal St. Cyr, a lieutenant in the Army Air Corps. He was arrested when he was on an inspection tour in the Brooklyn armory because a suspicious military tailor had alerted the police.

Weyman was paroled in 1920. Shortly afterwards he forged credentials to become a company doctor in Lima, Peru. There he threw lavish parties until his credit ran out and he was arrested.

In 1921 he noticed Princess Fatima of Afghanistan who was visiting the US and was trying to get an official recognition. The US State Department mainly ignored her. Weyman visited her as a State Department Naval Liaison Officer, apologized for the oversight and promised to arrange an appointment with the president. He managed to convince the princess to give him $10,000 for "presents" to State Department officials. He used the money for a private railway carriage to Washington DC and an opulent hotel room in the Willard Hotel for the princess and his entourage.

Weyman proceeded to visit the State Department, dropped names of prominent senators and succeeded in getting the appointment, first with Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes, and on July 26, 1921 president Warren G. Harding received Princess Fatima. Weyman's minor mistakes in the protocol aroused some suspicion, but when the press released his picture alongside the other dignitaries, the jig was up. He was indicted for impersonating a naval officer and sentenced to two years in jail.

In one case the Evening Graphic newspaper called for Weyman to get an interview with the visiting Queen Marie of Romania. He gained admittance as the Secretary of State and the paper got its interview.

In 1926 Weyman appeared at Rudolph Valentino's funeral and attached himself to his grieving lover Pola Negri as a personal physician. He issued regular press releases on her condition and established a faith-healing clinic in Valentino's house. Pola Negri did not condemn him after he was exposed.

During World War II Weyman was sentenced for seven years in prison for offering advice to draft dodgers—he told them to feign various medical conditions.

In 1948 Weyman made up credentials to become a journalist for the United Nations at Lake Success. He got acquainted with the delegates Warren Austin and Andrei Gromyko. His comeuppance came when the Thai delegation invited him to become their press officer with full diplomatic accreditation. Weyman contacted the State Department and asked whether it would affect his US citizenship. They already knew him all too well and exposed him.

In 1954 Weyman tried to get a $5000 home improvement loan for a house that did not exist. He failed to convince the judge that he was insane.

In August 1960, Weyman was fatally shot when he tried to stop a robbery in a New York hotel where he was working as a night porter. The investigating detective said "I've known about the man's past record for years. He did a lot of things in the course of his life, but what he did this time was brave."

Quote[edit]

"One man's life is a boring thing. I lived many lives. I'm never bored."

References[edit]

  • St. Clair McKelvay - The Big Little Man from Brooklyn (Houghton Mifflin 1969)
  • Sarah Burton - Impostors (Penguin Books 2000, pages 36–43)

External links[edit]