“Naps, Lord Alington by His Friends…

The Short but Shocking Life of Napier Sturt, the Last Lord Alington of Crichel (Paperback – 31 Dec. 2021), by William Cross.

(Wikipedia): “New Orleans is a 1947 American musical romance film featuring Billie Holiday as a singing maid and Louis Armstrong as a bandleader; supporting players Holiday and Armstrong perform together and portray a couple becoming romantically involved. During one song, Armstrong’s character introduces the members of his band, a virtual Who’s Who of classic jazz greats, including trombonist Kid Ory, drummer Zutty Singleton, clarinetist Barney Bigard, guitar player Bud Scott, bassist George “Red” Callender, pianist Charlie Beal, and pianist Meade Lux Lewis. Also performing in the film is cornetist Mutt Carey and bandleader Woody Herman. The music, however, takes a back seat to a rather conventional plot. The movie stars Arturo de Córdova and Dorothy Patrick, features Marjorie Lord, and was directed by Arthur Lubin.”

From Wikipedia:

“Captain Napier George Henry Sturt, 3rd Baron Alington (1 November 1896 – 17 September 1940) was a British peer, the son of Humphrey Sturt, 2nd Baron Alington.

He was born in November 1896 in St. Marylebone district of London. He succeeded to the Barony on 30 July 1919 on the death of his father. He owned the Crichel House estate in Dorset.

He married Lady Mary Sibell Ashley-Cooper, daughter of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 9th Earl of Shaftesbury, on 27 November 1928. They had one child: Hon. Mary Anna Sibell Elizabeth Sturt (b. 1929, d. 2010) who later fought the Government and won, leading to the resignation of a Minister, in the Crichel Down Affair.

Alington may well be most notable for having dated Tallulah Bankhead in the 1920s…His bisexuality was well known. He was a friend of the Polish composer Karol Szymanowskiwho dedicated his highly sensuous Songs of an infatuated Muezzin Op.42 to the handsome young Englishman, on their publication in 1922.

He had no male heir upon his death, so the title became extinct. The Crichel estate passed to his 11-year-old daughter Mary, who later married Commander George (known as “Toby”) Marten.

In the First World War, he was a captain in the Royal Air Force. In the Second World War, he was commissioned on 2 July 1940 as an officer of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in the Administrative and Special Duties Branch and was posted to Cairo, possibly serving as a staff officer at HQ Middle East. He died on 16 September 1940 aged 43 in Cairo on active service of a short illness after pneumonia, and is buried in the New British Protestant Cemetery, Cairo, Egypt, plot E.221-222.”

Robert Gottlieb wrote in The New Yorker of May 8, 2005:

“…(Tallulah Bankhead) had no schooling as an actress and she lacked discipline, but she had vivid charm and looks, and she was absolutely determined to prevail. “I was consumed by a fever to be famous, even infamous,” she wrote.

In her desperation to be noticed, she experimented with alcohol and cocaine, but her main shock tactics involved sex. Apparently, her first affair was with the celebrated actress Eva Le Gallienne, three years her senior, but although she liked to boast about her irregular love life—“I’m a lesbian,” she announced to a stranger at a party. “What do you do?”—she also told a friend, “I could never become a lesbian, because they have no sense of humor!” Perhaps she found later women friends like Billie Holiday (pictured) funnier than Le Gallienne. On the whole, though, her taste was for men, and early on she met the man she undoubtedly cared for longest and most deeply, “Naps” Alington—Napier George Henry Sturt Alington, the third Alington baron—who was, in the words of Lee Israel, her most perceptive biographer, “a soft-spoken, blond tubercular—well cultivated, bisexual, with sensuous, meaty lips, a distant, antic charm, a history of mysterious disappearances, and a streak of cruelty.”

Tallulah was generally out of funds, scrounging meals and running up bills at the Algonquin, whose long-suffering owner, Frank Case, announced at one point, “I can either run this hotel or look after Tallulah Bankhead. I can’t do both.”.”

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