The irrepressible Baron Enrico di Portanova was one of the most flamboyant members of the international Jet Set, who once listed the best things in life as “sun, sex and spaghetti.” Enrico aka Ricky was born in Los Angeles between the 1930s and 1940s and spent the first years of his youth there.
However, Enrico and his brother Ugo, suffering from a severe mental handicap, were moved to Rome by his father, the Italian playboy Paolo Di Portanova. Father Paolo had divorced their mom Lillie Cranz Cullen, the second child of the American oil magnate Hugh Roy Cullen. He felt Italy was the best place to grow up.
Early in his life, Ricky’s unmistakable moustache, refined culture, love for women and engines, and all of life’s pleasures had already turned him into the golden boy. However, the death of his grandfather/oil magnate in 1957 and a sizable inheritance allowed him to step up his game for many years. However, in 1961, Ricky grasped the actual extent of his inheritance. His monthly endowment of $5,000 from the Cullen estate fund was no longer sufficient. So he left Rome and headed to America to claim his entire inheritance for himself and his brother Ugo.
In the late 1970s, after a long legal battle, his monthly income went up to $1.2 million, and his fortune went to $50 million. A final settlement with the Cullen fund in 1984 closed the discussion. From then on, Ricky was freed from any financial worries, so he dedicated his life to celebrating the pleasure of living in his residences in Rome, Houston, Montecarlo and Acapulco.
After a first stormy marriage, he remarried a voluptuous Texan girl in 1973, and they formed one of the most glamorous couples for 27 years. The “party” ended abruptly for both of them in 2000. Ricky died in February, and his wife followed in April, both cancer victims.
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