Theodore Zichy  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Count Theodore Béla Rudolf Zichy de Zich et Vásonkeő (13 June 1908 – December 1987) was a British actor, photographer, film director, producer and playboy of Hungarian descent.

Born in Eastbourne in Sussex in 1908, the son of Count Béla Mária Rudolf Zichy de Zich et Vásonkeő (1868-1944), a Hungarian aristocrat and a US-American mother, Mabel Elizabeth Wright (1865-1926), his brother was Edward George Béla Mária Zichy de Zich et Vásonkeő (1898-1958). A great-nephew of Mihály Zichy, Theodore Zichy held British and Hungarian citizenship. He married Xenia V. Howard Johnston (1904-1931) on 20 February 1928 in Paris, France; the couple divorced in 1930. In 1928 he started racing Bugattis, which he continued on and off until 1932.

He married Daphne Barker (previously of Jack and Daphne Barker Cabaret duo) in London in 1964 and stayed married to her until her death in 1987, he never recovered from the loss of his love and took his own life in December 1987.

As a photographer he mainly took pictures of women’s legs, feet and shoes. His 1948 photograph portfolio Chiaroscuros (from the Italian "chiaroscuro") contained images of foot and shoe fetishism. In the mid-1950s he worked as a photographer for Baron Studios in London. His autobiography That Was No Gentleman, That Was Zichy was published in 1974.

Acting career

As an actor Zichy appeared as 2nd in Command in Gasbags (1941), Colonel Borg in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), as the Duel Referee in the TV movie Liebelei (1954), and as a German Agent in Private's Progress (1956).

As director and producer

He directed and produced the shorts Death Was a Passenger (1958), Portrait of a Matador (1958) and Mingaloo (1958), also writing the latter, as well as directing and producing the films Night Without Pity (1961) and Doomsday at Eleven (1963). He produced the film Bomb in the High Street (1961).

Count Theodore Zichy committed suicide in London in December, 1987. However his death certificate was only issued in 1988.


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