Prince Mike Romanoff

Herschel Geguzin was born in Lithuania, but he eventually became Prince Michael Alexandrovitch Dmitry Obolensky Romanoff, the toast of Hollywood. His extensive travels, friendships, and brushes with the law left him with enough experiences to pull the wool over the eyes of many wealthy Americans. However, many others saw through him or found out about his masquerade, and didn't mind because he was so entertaining! Actor David Niven remembered the prince:
Niven, who was himself a man of preternatural charm and roguish tendencies, recognised a kindred spirit, and his account of Mike is notable for its penetrating insights. For Niven, the root of Prince’s unquestionable likeability was a humorous talent for the not-quite-plausible improvisation, the half-truth and the flamboyant gesture. When the British actor left Hollywood for Britain in 1939 to fight Hitler, Mike delighted in discussing his own alleged experiences of war, making him a present of a hand-knitted balaclava helmet (“Saved me near St Petersburg, old boy”) and a large blue and white spotted scarf with a burn in the centre (“mustard gas… Cambrai… silk is the only thing against it.”) The balaclava helmet Niven lost, but the scarf he kept long enough to consult a laundress about the mysterious mark of mustard gas it bore. “She told me that careless ironing was responsible for the burn.” [Niven p.154]

Eventually Romanov went legit and opened a restaurant in Beverly Hills that catered to his famous friends, many of whom invested in the business. How Romanoff achieved such acclaim is a fascinating story. Link

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