May 13, 2011

Gunter Sachs Remembered

Gunter Sachs

Farewell to Gunter Sachs, playboy, photographer, philanthropist and legend.

Born on the 14th November 1932 Gunter Sachs spent his early days of privilege in a Germany which was changing beyond all recognition as the Nazi party came to power. His father knew both Heinrich Himmler and Hermann Goring and was an honoury member of the SS.Sadly his father shot himself in 1958 and Gunter then inherited the family fortune. Tragically in the same year that his father died he also lost his first wife, Anne-Marie Faure to a failed medical operation.

His early training was as an economist and mathematician but as he later said he never worked one day. His moved to St Tropez and assumed the life of a playboy. Although to be fair this was not a term he favoured and preferred to be called a gentleman. It was here in May of 1966 that he met Brigitte Bardot who was to become his second wife. The attraction was immediate and the next day he hired a helicopter to drop over a thousand red roses onto La Madrague, her St Tropez house. They were married in Las Vegas by a ceremony which took just eight minutes. For the honeymoon they went to Tahiti where they met Salvador Dali as well as Charles de Gaulle and Georges Pompidou. Other guests included Princess Grace of Monaco and the Shah of Iran.

Unfortunately the marriage did not last. Plagued by infidelities on both sides they divorced in 1969. His third marriage was to the Swedish model Mirja Larsson.

On Saturday 7th May 2011 Gunter Sachs shot himself in the head. He was staying at his chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland. His message was

"The loss of mental control over my life was an undignified condition, which I decided to counter decisively".

So how will we remember him this icon of the 60's? For me it will be this man who seemed to be able to transcend national boundaries and identities. In a time when our holidays were by a cold beach at Blackpool this was someone who could jet off to Tahiti and places which we could only dream about. This was a man who could write his own rules and could marry the most beautiful girl in the world. Yes there is jealousy aplenty around and maybe it is wrong that one man can inherit such wealth but in a world which was in the middle of the cold war then surely here was someone to brighten the news.

What will he be remembered for? Probably having the 13th turn of the St. Moritz Olympic bob sleigh run named after him.

Article written in remembrance by Mike Holly who lives in the peace and tranquility around Hexham in Northumberland which is a million miles from the world of the rich and powerful.

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