Eleanor Post Hutton
|Intro||American heiress, art collector and socialite|
|A.K.A.||Eleanor Post Close|
|Was||Socialite Art collector|
|From||United States of America|
|Birth||3 December 1909, Greenwich, USA|
|Death||27 November 2006, Paris, France (aged 97 years)|
Eleanor Post Hutton (née Close; December 3, 1909 – November 27, 2006) was an American heiress and socialite. Born a "Close", her name changed to "Hutton" with her mother's 1920 remarriage to Edward Francis Hutton.
Eleanor Post Close was born on December 3, 1909 in Greenwich, Connecticut, the second daughter of heiress, socialite and company founder Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887–1973) and investment banker Edward Bennett Close.
She was the granddaughter of C. W. Post (1854–1914) whose Postum Cereal Company was the predecessor of the General Foods Corporation. She was a half-sister to Dina Merrill (née Nedenia Hutton), her mother's third and last child. Through her father's second marriage, she was a half-sister to William B. Close (1924–2009), father of actress Glenn Close (born 1947).
Education and debut
Eleanor was educated at the Spence School in Manhattan and Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut. She was introduced to society in 1927, and in 1928, was presented to King George and Queen Mary at Buckingham Palace.
On April 12, 1930, she eloped with the playwright and director Preston Sturges (1898–1959). In 1932, she sought an annulment on the grounds that he was not legally divorced from his first wife when they eloped. Sturges' screenplay for the 1933 film The Power and the Glory was loosely based on her stories about her grandfather C. W. Post.
On April 5, 1933, she married for the second time to Etienne Marié Robert Gautier (1907–1993) in the Chapel of Église Saint-Philippe-du-Roule in Paris. Gautier was a well-known polo player and was the nephew of the then mayor of Compiègne. Their marriage lasted only a few months.
On June 4, 1934, she married her third husband, George Curtis Rand (1909–1986), son of Kobbé Rand and the grandson of George C. Kobbé, a lawyer with Roosevelt & Kobbé. Their apartment was designed by Donald Deskey Associates and today, the plans are held in the collections of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Alleging cruelty, Eleanor obtained a divorce from Rand on February 24, 1938 in Reno, Nevada.
On April 23, 1942, she married her fourth husband, János Békessy (1911–1977), a writer also known as Hans Habe. He was the son of Imre Békessy, a publisher, and was the author of A Thousand Shall Fall, a novel about his life during World War II including his capture by the Germans in 1940, imprisonment at Dieuze dulag camp and subsequent escape. Before their divorce in 1946, they had:
- Antal "Tony" Miklos Post De Bekessy (1944–2015)
On August 27, 1949, she married for the fifth time to Owen Denis de la Garde Johnson in Paris. He was on the staff of the American Embassy in Paris, and was the son of Owen Johnson, a prominent writer from Stockbridge, Massachusetts. They also divorced.
In 1956, she married her sixth and final husband, Leon Eugene Barzin (1900–1999), a prominent Belgian-born American conductor and founder of the National Orchestral Association, and the founding musical director of the New York City Ballet in combination with Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine. The couple moved to Europe in 1958 and lived in Switzerland. They remained married until his death in 1999.
Eleanor Close Hutton Barzin died in Paris on November 27, 2006 and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York, after a service at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens. She was survived by her son Antal Miklas Post de Bekessy, her granddaughter Laetitia Vere as well as her half-sister actress Dina Merrill and two half-brothers Edward B. Close, Jr., and William B. Close.