José Luis de Vilallonga, 9th Marquess of Castellbell

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The Marquess of Castellbell

Audrey Hepburn amb Vilallonga.jpg
Villalonga and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1961
Born
José Luis de Vilallonga y Cabeza de Vaca

(1920-01-29)29 January 1920
Died30 August 2007(2007-08-30) (aged 87)
Resting placePoblenou Cemetery
OccupationAuthor, aristocrat and actor
Years active19581997
Spouse(s)
The Hon. Esyllt-Priscilla Scott-Ellis
(m. 1945; div. 1972)

Syliane Stella Morell
(m. 1974; div. 1995)

Partner(s)Michèle Girardon (1958–1972)
Children3

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

Early life[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. By his mother´s family side he was a first cousin of both the Marquis of Portago known as Alfonso de Portago y Cabeza de Vaca and Vicente Sartorius y Cabeza de Vaca 4th Marquis de Mariño. His father was an enthusiastic supporter of Franco, and at age 16 de Vilallonga was a serving member of a Nationalist execution platoon.[1]

Career[edit]

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). He also appeared as the debonair Prince Cesare Della Romita, who becomes Julie Christie's second husband in Darling (1965).

Personal life[edit]

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]

Death[edit]

De Vilallonga died at his home on the island of Majorca on 30 August 2007 from natural causes.[4][5] 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.

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1958 The Lovers Raoul Florès
1960 L'Ennemi dans l'ombre Georges Dandieu
1961 Vive Henri IV, vive l'amour L'envoyé d'Espagne
1961 Les Mauvais Coups Prévieux
1961 The Nina B. Affair Kurt
1961 Breakfast at Tiffany's José da Silva Pereira, a Brazilian millionaire.
1962 Tales of Paris Louis (segment "Sophie")
1962 Cléo from 5 to 7 The Lover
1962 Le Rendez-vous de minuit Bob
1962 La Loi des hommes Le prêtre
1963 Any Number Can Win M. Grimp
1963 Don't Tempt the Devil Paul Dupré
1964 Behold a Pale Horse Horse Dealer
1964 The Magnificent Cuckold The Club President
1965 The Three Faces Rodolph (segment "Gli amanti celebri")
1965 The Sucker Uncredited
1965 Darling Prince Cesare della Romita
1965 Juliet of the Spirits Giorgio's friend
1966 A Maiden for a Prince Alessandro de Medici
1966 Tecnica di un omicidio Dr. Goldstein / Frank Secchy
1967 L'homme qui trahit la mafia Mario Vérona
1970 The Naughty Cheerleader Mr. Epstein
1971 Sapho ou la Fureur d'aimer Maurice Duran-Vior
1971 The Burglars Tasco
1972 Le Viager Le général qui décore Martinet Uncredited
1973 The Angels Bernard
1975 Trop c'est trop Le photographe
1976 The Good and the Bad
1976 Chi dice donna dice donna Louis (segment "Donne d'affari")
1980 Speed Cross Meyer
1980 Voltati Eugenio Tristano
1980 Une femme au bout de la nuit Xavier, le mari
1981 National Heritage Álvaro
1981 Patrizia Lord James Cook
1981 Dos y dos, cinco Juanjo's Father
1982 Nacional III Álvaro
1983 Femmes Uncredited
1983 Scarab Presidente frances
1984 Poppers Max
1985 Tex and the Lord of the Deep Dr. Warton
1988 La Diputada Federico
1989 Blood and Sand Don José
1992 The Long Winter Conde de Santbenet

Bibliography[edit]

  • The Man of Blood (1961), ISBN 2-02-000961-7
  • Allegro Barbaro (1969), ISBN 2-02-001077-1
  • Fiesta (1995), ISBN 2-221-08213-3
  • Solo, Editions (2000), ISBN 2-226-00331-2

References[edit]

External links[edit]