Monday, September 30, 2013

Bounder and Bounderess in Love

The colorful Roe Wells and Lele Daly: made for one another.  (But only for a short time.)   She made a practice of marrying rich old men; he, rich old women.  The handsome Wells, president of the Donut Corporation of America, was known as the Donut King.   When he married Lele Daly in 1941, he was a recent widower--his previous wife, the 70-year-old heiress, Emily Gilchrist Wells, had died only 16 days before.  Lele Daly seems, in turn, to have been a real-life 'Black Widow.'  She had 6 husbands, almost all of them wealthy and superannuated; but owing to various scandals and disasters, she died in penury.  Her husband before Wells, as caption notes, was Marcus Daly II, heir to the Anaconda Copper fortune.

Wells and Daly's marriage was brief; disenchantment set in quickly, as each discovered the other not quite as wealthy as imagined.  She divorced him after a few months, claiming he had beaten her, and promptly married her 5th husband: Richard Franklin Ford, a rich Standard Oil executive, described as "no spring chicken" in the American Weekly.  Lele apparently wore 'gray organza and a shocking pink feathered hat' to her nuptials.  See Michael Gross's highly entertaining book, 740 Park: The Story of the World's Richest Apartment Building--for more on Roe and Lele.  Yes, in their brief season of wedded bliss, the devilish pair lived in that fabled Manhattan building--home to Bouviers and Rockefellers and assorted other footpads.