Birthday: November 14, 1912
Died At Age: 66
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Also Known As: Barbara Woolworth Hutton
Born in: New York City, New York
Famous as: Socialites
Spouse/Ex-: Baron Gottfried von Cramm (1955-1959), Cary Grant (1942-1945), Count Kurt von Haugwitz-Reventlow (1935-1938), Porfirio Rubirosa (1953-1954), Prince Alexis Mdivani (1933-1935), Prince Igor Troubetzkoy (1947-1951), Prince Pierre Doan (1964-1966)
father: Franklyn Laws Hutton
mother: Edna Woolworth
children: Lance Reventlow
Died on: May 11, 1979
Cause of Death: Heart Attack
City: New York City
U.S. State: New Yorkers
Who was Barbara Hutton?
Barbara Hutton was an American heiress, debutante, and socialite. She was referred to as the "Poor Little Rich Girl” first when she had an expensive and luxurious debutante ball in 1930 and later due to her troubled personal life. Heiress to the business tycoon Frank Winfield Woolworth, she was one of the richest women in the world in her time. Despite being born with a silver spoon in her mouth, Hutton led a sad life right from her childhood till her death. She lost her mother when she was four, after which she was abandoned by her father. Married and divorced seven times, she gained grand foreign titles but was often treated badly by most of her husbands. Hutton had one child with her second husband with whom she waged a bitter custody battle after their divorce. She suffered from anorexia nervosa which prevented further childbirth. Later, her only son died in a plane crash at the age of 36 which left her devastated. While publicly Hutton was quite envied for her beauty and her luxurious life, privately she remained depressed and insecure, and often took refuge in drugs, alcohol, and playboys. In 1979, she breathed her last, at the age of 66. At the time of her death, she was on the verge of bankruptcy.
Childhood & Early Life
Barbara Hutton was born on November 14, 1912 in New York City, USA, to Edna Woolworth and the co-founder of E. F. Hutton & Company, Frank W. Woolworth.
Barbara was the niece of Edward Francis Hutton who was also the co-founder of E. F. Hutton & Co. like her father. She was also the niece of Marjorie Merriweather Post, who was married to E.F. Hutton for a time. Their daughter was the actress Dina Merrill.
Her mother died in 1917 due to mastoiditis at the age of 33. However, it is rumoured that she committed suicide because of her husband's womanizing attitude. After her mother's death, four-year-old Barbara went on to live with her relatives.
She attended Miss Hewitt's Classes (presently The Hewitt School) and Miss Porter's School for Girls in Connecticut.
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In 1924, Barbara Hutton’s grandmother Jennie Woolworth bequeathed to her $26.1 million after her death. Hutton also acquired $2.1 million from her mother’s inheritance.
In 1930, on her 18th birthday, she was given a lavish debutante ball that cost $60,000. By the time of Hutton’s 21st birthday, her father had increased her bequest to $42 million, making her one of the richest women in the world.
In 1933, Barbara Hutton married Georgian Prince Alexis Mdivani and became Her Highness Princess Alexis Mdivani. Mdivani, who used Hutton’s wealth to his advantage, received a $1 million dowry from her father at the time of their marriage.
After divorcing Mdivani in 1935, Hutton married Count Kurt Haugwitz-Reventlow. The couple had a son named Lance who later died in 1972, at the age of 36. Throughout her marriage with Reventlow, Hutton was verbally and physically abused. At one point, she resorted to drugs and developed anorexia.
After her divorce from Reventlow, she gained the custody of her son who was raised by a governess. In 1938, Hutton had a brief relationship with businessman Howard Hughes.
On July 8, 1942, she married American actor Cary Grant who appeared to genuinely care for her. Nevertheless, this marriage also ended in a divorce.
Hutton moved to Paris, France where she started dating Igor Troubetzkoy, an aristocrat and athlete. In the spring of 1948, the two married in Zurich, Switzerland. Troubetzkoy ultimately filed for divorce after which Hutton attempted suicide. This incident received much media coverage.
Her next marriage, which was with Porfirio Rubirosa, a Dominican diplomat, lasted 53 days. In 1955, Hutton married her old pal, German tennis player Baron Gottfried von Cramm. The couple separated four years later.
Her seventh marriage, which was to Prince Pierre Raymond Doan, was also short-lived.
Hutton lived with British sportsman Frederick McEvoy after her marriage to Grant. The two never married and remained close friends until McEvoy's death in 1951.
Final Years & Death
Following the death of her only son in 1972, Barbara Hutton plunged into a state of despair. By this time, her wealth had started diminishing as well. Her final years were spent in loneliness and she died from a heart attack on 11 May 1979.