Actress seeks divorce
Nov. 6, 1957
A dissolute, self-centered millionaire playboy with two marriages under his belt meets a gorgeous starlet on the rebound from her second marriage and the outcome should be obvious to everyone. But it wasn't.
Frederick "Ted" Tillinghast III does not sound like great husband material. His first marriage, to Iris Flores, the granddaughter of former Costa Rican President Rafael Yglesias Castro, ended in divorce. His second marriage to Sharon "Reform School Girl" Lee (who later divorced singers David Street and Budd Albright) also ended in the courts.
In filing for divorce, Lee said Ted was "quarrelsome and moody and morose and would sulk for hours." For fish who are seeking bicycles, this would be a no-brainer. (See previous posts on "How to Get and Keep a Husband.")
Ted apparently met Nancy Valentine at a party given by Mrs. Leslie Snyder. Nancy's first marriage is a little mysterious but might have been to Omar Dejany, identified in The Times as "representative to the United Nations for Abdullah, King of Transjordan."
Her next marriage was far more publicized. She met Sri Jaggaddipandra Bhup Bahandar Narayan, the maharajah of Cooch Behar, while he was in the U.S. buying shoes for his subjects, according to a 1956 gossip column. The couple were apparently married in 1949, but she returned to her family in California in 1951 after the Indian government refused to recognize the marriage and her status as the maharani.
She joined the Self-Realization Fellowship and spent the next three years at the group's Mt. Washington compound, resuming her acting career in 1956 with an appearance in "Jane Wyman's Fireside Theater," according to The Times.
Ted and Nancy received a marriage license on July 25, 1956, and planned a wedding at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine Temple in Pacific Palisades after Ted promised that he would convert to the religion.
And then things went terribly wrong. Nancy became ill, leaving a crowd of wedding guests at the shrine. Days later, Ted made headlines when it was revealed that he had stayed out most of the night with Lee, his ex-wife, who canceled a date to see him, according to news accounts.
There was a reconciliation and they were married in a small ceremony at the Pacific Palisades shrine.
Shortly after their first anniversary, Nancy filed for divorce, charging mental cruelty and alleging that he had been unfaithful.
"He said I was a nobody-peasant and that he was Frederick Tillinghast III," Nancy testified. She was granted $1 a month alimony, a car, furniture, stocks and bonds, and $100 a month child support for their daughter, Darin Elizabeth.
Ted went on to at least one more divorce and at least one more arrest for drunk driving before disappearing from The Times.
And why am I spending so much time on the implosion of yet another Hollywood marriage?
Nancy Valentine as Jan Price, just your average newspaperwoman. (I mean, have you ever seen a picture of Aggie Underwood or Florabel Muir?)
Alas, I could find no further information in The Times about what became of her.