Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lucy Cotton -- The Unhappy Princess

Cotton (born in 1891 in Houston, Texas) began working on Broadway in the mid-teens as a chorus girl in The Quaker Girl before graduating to larger roles in Turn to the Right (1916), Lightnin' (1918), and Up in Mabel's Room (1919).  In films, Cotton had bit parts in Divorced (1915) and Life Without Soul (a 1915 version of Frankenstein) before receiving co-star billing in The Prodigal Wife (1918), The Sin That was His (1920), and the 1921 George Arliss vehicle, The Devil.

Cotton's personal life, however, was her greatest role.  Married five times, her first in 1924 to Edward Russell Thomas, publisher of The New York Morning Telegraph, left her a multi-millionaire when he died two years later.  In 1927, she married Colonel Lytton Ament.  They divorced in 1930, and a year later she married Wall Street broker Charles Hann.  The union ended in divorce in 1932, and the next year she married William M. Magraw, a former newspaperman.  When this marriage ended on May 4, 1933, she married Prince Vladimir Eristavi-Tchitcherine at Key West, Florida, on the same day.  She divorced the exiled Russian prince in 1941 charging "extreme cruelty."  The divorce decree gave her the right to retain the title of princess.

At 9:00 A.M. on December 12, 1948, the 57-year-old owner of the beachfront Macfadden-Deauville Hotel was found in a coma by the butler in her palatial home at 943 Venetian Way in Miami Beach, Florida.  A note asking that a Miami doctor be called and an empty bottle of sleeping pills were found on a bedside table in her room.  Princess Lucy Cotton Thomas Ament Hann Magraw Eristavi-Tchitcherine died hours later without regaining consciousness at St. Francis Hospital.

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