Aly Khan - probably the world's most famous race horse owner - died in a Paris hospital May 12 after the car he was driving collided head-on with another car on the City's outskirts.
Aly Khan - probably the world's most famous race horse owner - died in a Paris hospital May 12 after the car he was driving collided head-on with another car on the City's outskirts. He had spent a day at the races and dining out with Bettina, the Paris model who has been his constant companion in recent years.
Hospital officials said he had a fractured skull, a possible broken neck and fractured legs. Bettina - Mile Simone Bodin - sustained facial injuries but was allowed to leave the hospital after treatment.
Born in 1911, the elder son of Mohammed Shah, the Aga Khan, his career made news headlines in both hemispheres. In 1936 he married Mrs. Loel Guiness in Paris. His life with her was spent in the capitals and playgrounds of Western Europe, until just before world-war two when he joined the French Foreign Legion with whom he saw service in Syria and Egypt. The marriage was dissolved in 1949. His wife was given custody of their two sons, Karim, who was to become the Aga Khan, and Sadruddin.
It was in 1949 that Aly Khan really achieved world-wide prominence because of his romance and marriage to American film star Rita Hayworth at Cannes on the French Riviera. After a series of separations the marriage was dissolved in 1953. They had a daughter, Yasmin, now in custody of the mother.
On the death of his father in 1957, it was expected that Aly Khan would succeed him as Imam of the Ismailis, head of the large Mohammedan sect. Instead, the title went to Prince Karim. Despite this obvious disappointment, he toured Ismaili countries to rally support for the new Aga Khan. While visiting Syria he was mobbed by crowds of Ismailis.
Since his boyhood, much of which was spent in Ireland, the racing and breeding of thorough bred horses was an abiding interest and passion of Aly Khan's life. An after his father's death he assumed entire responsibility for the organization and planning of one of the biggest and most successful stables in the history of horse racing. In 1959, together with trainers Alec Head and Noel Murless, he brought the stable to its finest hour with a fantastic run of success in France, England and Ireland which may never be equalled. He became the first owner ever to win ?100, 000 in an English season.
Since well before the world war two, he has been riding with considerable success as an amateur. He was a popular and widely known figure on racecourses all over the world. The world of racing has lost one of its gayest, ablest and most colourful figures.
In his latter years he became known and respected for his work as Pakistan's permanent representative at the United Nations. Since his appointment in 1958, he had worked with sincerity and conviction, and was noted for his attendance at the duller and less publicized meetings.