La Belle Otero, a great gamer and a regular at the Casino de Monte-Carlo
Caroline Otero was born in Spain on November 4th 1868 as Agustina Otero Iglesias. At the age of 12 she danced in the streets, inns and cabarets to meet her needs and those of her family. She arrived in Paris at the age of 21 and began her career at the Summer Circus and the Grand Véfour. Admiring journalists, ever on the lookout for novelties, nicknamed her La Belle Otero. As a femme fatale (several of her unhappy lovers committed suicide and some rivals provoked duels), she swiftly went on tour after tour and seduced the great men of this world: kings, aristocrats, writers and politicians.
She was also a great gamer and a regular at the Casino de Monte-Carlo. She would arrive arm-in-arm with her suitors whose deep generous pockets sometimes had to provide for huge losses. She had little consideration for males: “When a man is rich, he is not ugly”, she would say.
La Belle Otero turned her back on the stage in 1915 at the height of her glory, wanting to leave to posterity the memory of a beautiful and desirable woman. She moved to Nice, where she bought a mansion that she did not manage to keep very long as she spent her time at the Casino, accumulating losses and sinking into ruin. From 1951 and until her death, the Société des Bains de Mer decided to pay her an annual allowance.
On April 10th 1965, she died from a heart attack, alone and penniless.