Eleanor Post Hutton

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Eleanor Post Hutton
Eleanor Post Close

(1909-12-03)December 3, 1909
DiedNovember 27, 2006(2006-11-27) (aged 96)
Paris, France
Other namesEleanor Close Barzin
Eleanor Hutton Rand
Eleanor Close Hutton
Eleanor Post Hutton Sturges Gautier
EducationSpence School
Miss Porter's School
Preston Sturges
(m. 1930; annulled 1932)

Etienne M. R. Gautier
(m. 1933; div. 1933)

George Curtis Rand
(m. 1934; div. 1938)

János Békessy
(m. 1942; div. 1946)

Owen D. Johnson
(m. 1949, divorced)

Léon Barzin
(m. 1956; died 1999)
Parent(s)Marjorie Merriweather Post and Edward Bennett Close
RelativesAdelaide Close Riggs (sister) Dina Merrill (half-sister)
C. W. Post (grandfather)

Eleanor Post Hutton (née Close; December 3, 1909 – November 27, 2006) was an American heiress and socialite. Born a "Close", her name changed to "Hutton" with her mother's 1920 remarriage to Edward Francis Hutton.

Early life[edit]

1915 portrait of Eleanor (at left) and her sister Adelaide

Eleanor Post Close was born on December 3, 1909 in Greenwich, Connecticut, the second daughter of heiress, socialite and company founder Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887–1973) and investment banker Edward Bennett Close.[1]

She was the granddaughter of C. W. Post (1854–1914) whose Postum Cereal Company was the predecessor of the General Foods Corporation. She was a half-sister to Dina Merrill (née Nedenia Hutton), her mother's third and last child. Through her father's second marriage, she was a half-sister to William B. Close (1924–2009), father of actress Glenn Close (born 1947).[2][failed verification]

Education and debut[edit]

Eleanor was educated at the Spence School in Manhattan and Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut.[3] She was introduced to society in 1927, and in 1928, was presented to King George and Queen Mary at Buckingham Palace.[4]

Personal life[edit]

On April 12, 1930,[5] she eloped with the playwright and director Preston Sturges (1898–1959).[6] In 1932, she sought an annulment on the grounds that he was not legally divorced from his first wife when they eloped.[7] Sturges' screenplay for the 1933 film The Power and the Glory was loosely based on her stories about her grandfather C. W. Post.[8]

On April 5, 1933, she married for the second time to Etienne Marié Robert Gautier (1907–1993)[9] in the Chapel of Église Saint-Philippe-du-Roule in Paris.[10] Gautier was a well-known polo player and was the nephew of the then mayor of Compiègne.[4] Their marriage lasted only a few months.[11]

On June 4, 1934, she married her third husband, George Curtis Rand (1909–1986),[12] son of Kobbé Rand and the grandson of George C. Kobbé, a lawyer with Roosevelt & Kobbé.[13] Their apartment was designed by Donald Deskey Associates and today, the plans are held in the collections of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.[14][15][16] Alleging cruelty, Eleanor obtained a divorce from Rand on February 24, 1938 in Reno, Nevada.[11]

On April 23, 1942, she married her fourth husband, János Békessy (1911–1977), a writer also known as Hans Habe.[3] He was the son of Imre Békessy, a publisher, and was the author of A Thousand Shall Fall, a novel about his life during World War II including his capture by the Germans in 1940, imprisonment at Dieuze dulag camp and subsequent escape. Before their divorce in 1946, they had:

  • Antal "Tony" Miklos Post De Bekessy (1944–2015)[17][18]

On August 27, 1949, she married for the fifth time to Owen Denis de la Garde Johnson in Paris. He was on the staff of the American Embassy in Paris,[19] and was the son of Owen Johnson, a prominent writer from Stockbridge, Massachusetts.[20] They also divorced.

In 1956, she married her sixth and final husband, Leon Eugene Barzin (1900–1999), a prominent Belgian-born American conductor and founder of the National Orchestral Association,[21][22] and the founding musical director of the New York City Ballet in combination with Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine. The couple moved to Europe in 1958[23] and lived in Switzerland. They remained married until his death in 1999.[24][25]


Eleanor Close Hutton Barzin died in Paris on November 27, 2006 and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York, after a service at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens.[26] She was survived by her son Antal Miklas Post de Bekessy, her granddaughter Laetitia Vere as well as her half-sister actress Dina Merrill and two half-brothers Edward B. Close, Jr., and William B. Close.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Paid Notice: Deaths BARZIN, ELEANOR CLOSE". The New York Times. 2007-03-27. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  2. ^ "Thomas Holcombe of Connecticut - Person Page 1141". Holcombegenealogy.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-12. Retrieved 2012-08-14.
  3. ^ a b "MRS. ELEANOR RAND IS WED TO AUTHOR; | Daughter of Mrs. Joseph E. Davies | Married in Church to Hans Habe-Bekessy | KIN OF CHARLES W. CLOSE | Husband, Who Escaped From a Nazi Prison Camp, Wrote 'A Thousand Shall Fall'". The New York Times. 24 April 1942. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  4. ^ a b Times, Wireless To The New York (5 April 1933). "ELEANOR STURGES MARRIED IN PARIS; | Daughter of Mrs. Edward F. Hutton Wed to Etienne M. R. Gautier in Civil Ceremony. | BRIDEGROOM A POLO STAR | Religious Wedding to Take Place Today, After Which Couple Will Sail Here on Visit". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Eleanor Hutton Elopes With Playwright; Weds Preston Sturges Over Parents' Protest". The New York Times. 1930-04-14. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  6. ^ "RUNAWAY MARRIAGE". The Daily News (Perth, WA: 1882-1950). Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. July 3, 1930. p. 8 Edition: HOME FINAL EDITION. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  7. ^ "MRS. E.P.H. STURGES SUES; Former Eleanor Hutton Seeks to Annul Marriage to Playwright". The New York Times. 1932-05-25. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  8. ^ Jacobs, Diane (1992). Christmas in July: the life and art of Preston Sturges. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 123–4. ISBN 0520079264.
  9. ^ "MRS. E.H. STURGES ENGAGED TO WED; | Former Eleanor Hutton Is to Be Bride of Etienne M.R. Gautier of Paris. | EARLY WEDDING EXPECTED | Mrs. Sturges Made Debut in 1927 and Was Presented at London Court the Next Year". The New York Times. 31 March 1933. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  10. ^ Tijies, Special To The New York (6 April 1933). "CHURCH WEDDING FOR ELEANOR HUTTON | Married to Etienne Gautier In Chapel of St. Philippe du Roule in Paris". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  11. ^ a b Times, Special To The New York (25 February 1938). "MRS. G. C. RAND WINS DECREE IN CARSON CITY; | Post Heiress Alleged Cruelty--Divorce Is Granted to Mrs. F. C. Havemeyer". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  12. ^ "Milestones, June 4, 1934". Time Magazine. 1934-06-04. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  13. ^ "MRS. GAUTIER PLANS BRIDAL THIS MONTH; The News of Her Forthcoming Marriage to George C. Rand a Surprise to Society". The New York Times. 16 May 1934. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  14. ^ Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. "Eleanor Hutton Rand". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  15. ^ Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. "George C. Rand". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  16. ^ Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. "Donald Deskey Associates". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  17. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths | DE BEKESSY, ANTAL". The New York Times. 2 November 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  18. ^ "Antal De Bekessy Obituary". Legacy.com. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  19. ^ O'Connor, Bernard (2010). The Tempsford Academy. Lulu.com. ISBN 9781902810492. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  20. ^ "MRS. DE BEKESSY WED | Married in Paris to Owen Denis Johnson of U. S. Embassy". The New York Times. 28 August 1949. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  21. ^ Times, Special To The New York (7 February 1958). "BARZIN RESIGNS POSTS; Conductor Leaving National Orchestral Unit, City Ballet". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  22. ^ National Orchestral Association
  23. ^ "Obituary: Leon Barzin". The Independent. 1 June 1999. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  24. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths BARZIN, LEON". The New York Times. 11 May 1999. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  25. ^ Dunning, Jennifer (9 May 1999). "Leon Barzin, 98, Conductor Of Ballets and Music Educator". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  26. ^ "Eleanor Close Barzin's Obituary". The Washington Post. The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 January 2017.