When 78-year-old Gunter Sachs killed himself with a single gun shot to the head in May of this year, the world not only lost an accomplished marksman, but also a fine bobsledder, photographer, and manufacturer of ball-bearings. Of greater concern, though, was the fact that Gunter was widely considered to be the world’s last remaining “Original Playboy,” of which there were twelve.
“Twelve, and no more,” Gunter said of his bronzed, international jet-setting comrades. “The golden age when an elite breed of professional pleasure seekers fascinated the world is over. We were charming and spoke languages and behaved well with women. To go with a girl to Tahiti was incredible. Now everybody goes to Tahiti.”
In short, it’s not all ball-bearings these days…
Gunter’s Brazilian counterpart, Francisco “Baby” Pignatari, was similarly despondent over the state of things in South America toward the end of his life. “Last time I was in Rio during Carnival Week,” Pignatari said to a friend in Miami, “it had slowed down some because of television and the banning of sprayed ether.” Brazil’s new-found unwillingness in 1975 to crop-dust its most populated city with recreational anesthetics must have been a real bummer, indeed. But it seems Pignatari and Sachs were actually mourning something far less tangible, and far more tragic: Chivalry wasn’t just dying, its lifeless body was being poked and prodded by unmannered men devoid of class and virtue.
Given the repugnant procession of 21st century US sex scandals, it seems they had a point. Whereas John F. Kennedy arranged for private use of a Swedish castle in order to properly honor Gunilla von Post as a princess, and Gunter Sachs scattered thousands of roses over Brigitte Bardot’s beach house via helicopter, the Congressman from the 9th district of New York tweeted a photo of his erect penis along with the caption: “This thing is ready to do damage!”
Gunter Sachs with Brigitte Bardot
Of course, JFK, Sachs and the rest of The Original Playboys benefited from the absence of an insatiable 24/7 media sloth. That said, the Playboys of the jet-set 60’s were, above all else, well-mannered men of class and dignity. Camera crews from TMZ, The Insider, and whatever ridiculous program Mario Lopez is currently hosting could have followed Jack Kennedy day and night for twenty years and not once would they have caught him snapping and sending a photo of his testicles to a middle-aged Los Vegas blackjack dealer. (That’s not to say Kennedy wouldn’t have romanced and actually slept with such a woman — precisely the contrary.)
Porfirio Rubirosa with Zsa Zsa Gabor
Weiner would most likely have been the next mayor of New York City if he’d embodied one of the other central tenets of being an Original Playboy: Be a good friend. “Kennedy inspired affection and loyalty from the members of his team and his supporters,” wrote biographer Richard Reeves. “This included the logistics of Kennedy’s liaisons, [which] required secrecy and devotion rare in the annals of the energetic service demanded by successful politicians.”...MORE