Monday, September 19, 2011

Part 5 - LOIS, PRINCESS RADZIWILL - Final chapter

Addicted to drugs, Lois began to pawn her jewels (including a sapphire and diamond-studded makeup compact that was a wedding gift from England's Queen Elizabeth.) In order to retrieve her jewels, she started calling and begging Alex to send her more money, often threatening him with a palimony suit. When he did, she would go to the Ace Pawnshop in Santa Monica and buy back the jewels. When the money Alex sent was no longer sufficient to support her growing drug habit, Lois began to sell the pawnshop receipts. Eventually the money and jewels were gone.

After numerous drug arrests in Los Angles, and internments in a drug rehabilitation center in Lexington, Kentucky, alone she returned to New York and turned to prostitution. Desperate for money and drugs Lois was selling herself on the streets of Harlem.

The last time I saw the Princess Radziwill was after a drug bust in Los Angeles. She was in a courtroom where she was being sentenced for possession and dealing. Poor, broken, her arms covered with needle marks, she was a bloated shadow of her past. Wearing a faded and out-of-date Dior suit, she turned to me as the police led her away. With a wan smile, she repeated her favorite adage about the moon and stars, but added "don't ever get involved again with people like me Larry. Look what I did with my gift."

I never saw her again, but heard a rumor she'd died of cancer in prison.


Prior to her arrival in Southern California I'd heard and read all sorts of bizarre rumors about Lois' marriage, her pending divorce, and her free lifestyle. One rumor suggested Lois was romantically involved with a former Miss New Orleans, Betty Doss, who was reputedly the mistress of actor George Raft. Another suggested a Russian princess, Zina Rachevsky, a waterskiing pal of Lois' from her Monte Carlo days, was supplying Lois with hash, marijuana and amphetamines.

Actually, most of the rumors proved to be true. Lois was in California to be near her family, who had since moved to the town of Venice and to reconsider her relationship with Alex. However, Lois seemed to be a bit naive about her relationships with friends and, with an underlying insecurity, relished the attention paid to her by the transient beach crowd, who had now become her "subjects and admirers."

As the years went by the Princess became more involved with drugs.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


It was in Monte Carlo at the Monte Carlo Yacht Club, after winning the waterski championship of 1950, that Lois began to take up with a younger international crowd, many of whom engaged in a freer lifestyle than she had experience with Alex. Alex strongly disapproved of her association with these "unsavory characters" and admonished her often.

Their frequent battles regarding her behavior eventually severed their relationship. The final blow being Berglas had returned home to Colmar from a business trip to find his Eliza Doolittle in bed with another woman and in a rage cut off Lois' beautiful blond hair. The effect on Lois was a nervous breakdown resulting in an extended stay at the famed Bircher-Benner sanatorium in Switzerland.

Alone, bewildered and vulnerable, Lois turned to Berglas' closest friend, the 70 year old Polish Prince Wladislaw Jerszy Radziwill, heir to the defunct Polish throne, whom, out of spite to Alex, she married.

The marriage to Prince Radziwill was short-lived. "The reason for the divorce was because he used warm water when he brushed his teeth and I use cold," is how the national magazine Cue reported Lois' break up with the Prince.

Lois realized it was Alex Berglas she really loved, after all, and repeatedly attempted to reconcile.