Prince Serge Obolensky
Obolensky circa 1943
Sergei Platonovich Obolensky
November 3, 1890
|Died||September 29, 1978 (aged 87)|
|Alma mater||Oxford University|
(m. 1916; div. 1924)
Ava Alice Muriel Astor
(m. 1924; div. 1932)
(m. 1971; his death 1978)
|Children||Ivan Sergeyevich Obolensky|
Sylvia Obolensky Guirey
|Parent(s)||Platon Sergeyevich Obolensky|
Maria Konstantinovna Naryshkina
Prince Sergei Platonovich Obolensky Neledinsky-Meletzky (November 3, 1890 in Tsarskoye Selo, Russia - September 29, 1978 in Grosse Pointe, Wayne County, Michigan, USA) -- known as Serge Obolensky -- was a Russian-American aristocrat, U.S. Army paratrooper, socialite and publicist. He served as vice chairman of the board of directors of the Hilton Hotels Corporation.
Obolensky's parents were Prince Platon Sergeyevich Obolensky-Neledinsky-Meletzky (1850-1913) and Maria Konstantinovna Naryshkina (1861-1929). He had a younger brother, Vladimir (1896-1968), who died unmarried and childless.
Obolensky was a soldier in two World Wars and in the Russian Civil War and fled his native country after battling Bolsheviks as a guerrilla fighter. He was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. paratroopers and a member of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), forerunner of the CIA, and made his first five jumps in 1943 at the age of 53.
After his second marriage, he settled in the U.S., working with his new brother-in-law, the real estate entrepreneur Vincent Astor. He also started a business, Parfums Chevalier Garde, with fellow emigre, Aleksandre Tarsaidze (1901-1978). Tarsaidze was president until 1940 when they were cut off from their French suppliers during World War II. When Obolensky was president of the Sherry-Netherland Hotel, Tarsaidze became his assistant. Tarsaidze later wrote a novel about the parents of Obolensky's first wife, Alexander II and Catherine Dolgorukov.
In 1949, he started his own public relations firm in New York City, Serge Obolensky Associates, Inc., handling accounts like Piper-Heidsieck champagne. "Serge", a friend once remarked, "could be successful selling umbrellas in the middle of the Sahara".
In 1958, Obolensky was made Vice Chairman of the Board of Hilton Hotels Corporation. In the same year, he released his autobiography, One Man In His Time. The Memoirs of Serge Obolensky. He maintained a substantial art collection.
On October 6, 1916, he married Princess Catherine Alexandrovna Yurievskaya (1878-1959) at Yalta. Catherine was the youngest daughter of Russian Emperor Alexander II (1818-1881) and his second, morganatic wife, Princess Catherine Dolgorukova (1847-1922), and was the widow of Prince Alexander Vladimirovich Baryatinsky (1870-1910), with whom she had two children. They divorced in 1924 without any issue.
On July 24, 1924, he married Ava Alice Muriel Astor (1902-1956) in London, Middlesex. Ava was the daughter of John Jacob Astor IV (1864-1912) and his first wife Ava Lowle Willing (1868-1958). Before divorcing in 1932, Obolensky had two children with Ava:
The "Serge Obolensky Room", at the back of the 1st floor at the Soldiers', Sailors', Marines', Coast Guard and Airmen's Club in Manhattan, memorializes his services as a soldier. Portraits and memorabilia festoon the walls.
Serge Obolensky, 87, Russian prince who became a publicist and international socialite; in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. Scion of a wealthy White Russian family and husband of Czar Alexander II's daughter, the Oxford-educated Obolensky fled his native country after battling Bolsheviks as a guerrilla fighter. The tall, mustachioed aristocrat subsequently divorced Princess Catherine, married the daughter of American Financier John Jacob Astor, settled in the U.S. and worked with his brother-in-law, the real estate entrepreneur Vincent Astor. During World War II, Obolensky at 53 became the U.S. Army's oldest paratrooper and earned the rank of colonel. He started his own public relations firm in New York in 1949, handling accounts like Piper-Heidsieck champagne. "Serge," a friend once remarked, "could be successful selling umbrellas in the middle of the Sahara."
As the representative of Princess Catherine Yourievsky of Paris, who as Princess Dolgorouki contracted a morganatic marriage with Czar Alexander II. of.....
Prince Serge Obolensky, former husband to Russian Czar Alexander II's daughter, Princess Catherine Yourievsky, and later to U.S. real-estate tycoon Colonel John Jacob Astor IV's daughter, Ava Astor. ...