The photographer George Harrison Marks married Vivienne Warren his second wife in 1963. According to The News of the World at the time Vivienne Warren was the sister of Vicki Martin. I haven’t been able to confirm this. George was notorious for making things up. Different surnames and a big age difference between them raises some questions, however her story is an interesting one nevertheless. If anyone knows any more please add to the post with a comment.
Vicki Martin was Born Valerie Mewes in 1931. She was best friends with Ruth Ellis, the last woman hanged in the UK (1955). The pair had both worked at Murray’s Club in Soho, where Stephen Ward, of the Profumo Scandal, later met Christine Keeler. Stephen Ward claimed to have met Vicki Martin in a doorway on Oxford Street during a thunderstorm. Ward produced many female protégés and apparently Vicki Martin was the prototype. She was also a friend of the Maharajah of Cooch-Behar, whose horse racing colours, were once prominent on the British turf. Vicki had an affliction for car accidents. Apparently she had 12 of them over four years and was killed outright in her 13th crash.
Vicki Martin, the sister Vivienne Warren and the girlfriend of The Maharajah of Cooch-Behar.
The Daily Telegraph, January 1955. Thanks to Casper for the scan.
She one of two people killed when the car she was driving collided with another vehicle on the Henley road near Maidenhead, Berkshire (January 9th 1955). The cars met almost head-on. Miss Martin and the driver of the other car were killed outright.
Miss Martin’s companion, was the Canadian Terence Robertson, author of a number of books and the first proponent of the Jack the Ripper victim Fairy Fay. He claimed Fairy Fay was a murdered in the alleys of Commercial Road on Boxing Night, 1887, while taking a short cut home from a Mitre Square pub.
In the other car were the newly weds Mr and Mrs David Salisbury Haig who were returning from a dance in London. Mr Haig, who was 41, was killed and his wife was injured. They had been married only six weeks. Mr Haig was a scientific officer of the National Coal Board.
The wrecked cars were found by Sir David Salt, of Cookham Berkshire. “The girl was dead on the road.” he said, “and I have since wondered how she came to be on the road, because the door of the car was shut.”
Vicki and the Maharajah of Cooch-Behar had met at a film party for It Started in Paradise (1952), a British drama set in the world of haute couture. Vicki played a model in the film. The actress, Kay Kendall, who was a friend of Stephen Ward’s, also had a part.
Film poster for It Started in Paradise (1952) an unusually plush, Lana Turner-esque British production.
Vicki and the Maharajah were both injured in July 1953, when the car in which they were travelling was involved in an accident with a van near Baldock Hertfordshire. They were returning from the races at Newmarket. The Maharajah of Couch-Behar received a severe head injury and Vicki Martin was detained at the hospital with leg injuries.
After the accident she spoke of her romance with her Indian Prince. “I am so very fond of him as I feel he is of me. But there is little hope of our romance coming to anything’, she said. “You see, it is the Tiger’s mother, by the way I call the Maharajah “Tiger’ and he calls me “méchante’, French for naughty girl, who is putting her foot down”.
The Maharajah of Cooch-Behar first marriage took place privately at Cooch-Behar, 1949 to Nancy Valentine of New York, a former screen actress, which is a complete other story.
His second marriage was to the London model Gina (Georgina May) Egan in 1956. Gina played a beauty queen contestant in the British film Lady Godiva Rides Again (1951). Vicki Martin’s friend, Ruth Ellis, had a walk-on part in the same film. Diana Dors and Joan Collins also appear.
On January 31 1970, Terence Robertson took his own life in a New York hotel room. At the time he had been commissioned to write a history of the notorious Canadian Jewish Bronfman family but had found out things they didn’t want him to write about. The Bronfman’s made a fortune selling alcohol to American gangsters during Prohibition. Terence Robertson was found in his room minutes before he died of barbiturate poisoning.
Vicki Martin lived at 75 Cadogan Place, Chelsea, London.
Film poster for Lady Godiva Rides Again (1951), released in the United States as Bikini Baby.