Rita Hayworth’s grandson ‘battled drug addiction and had previously attempted suicide’ before his death by suffocation in New York apartment
By Meghan Keneally Updated:
Rita Hayworth’s grandson had been battling a long and difficult drug addiction and had previously attempted suicide before he died after an apparent suicide in his Manhattan apartment on Sunday.
According to a friend, Andrew Ali Aga Khan Embiricos – who was the grandson of the silver-screen legend – had been in and out of drug rehab over the past few years though seemed in good spirits in the days leading up to his death.
He was found lying on his bed in his Chelsea apartment after apparently suffocating himself with a plastic bag. An investigation is under way.
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The New York Post reports that Mr Embiricos’ friend Aaron Edwards found Andrew’s body around 9pm when he went to check on him Sunday because Andrew had missed several appointments.
Their report says that no note was found in Andrew’s apartment at 270 West 17th Street, and his mother, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan rushed to the scene when she heard the news.
The 25-year-old Mr Embiricos was the son of Rita Hayworth’s daughter Princess Yasmin, 61, who was a product of Ms Hayworth’s third husband, Prince Aly Aga Khan.
A graduate of Fordham University with a degree in psychology, Mr Embiricos founded a Facebook charity group that provided clothing to homeless people and was also said to have worked with HIV/AIDS advocacy groups and the Alzheimer’s Association.
Village Voice reporter Michael Musto, who knew the 25-year-old from the New York social scene, wrote of his death: ‘I’m deeply saddened by the loss of someone with such radioactive charisma. He was a strikingly handsome, personable guy who radiated charm no matter what crisis he was weathering.’
He also said that the young man had been in and out of drug rehab and had attempted suicide before, though revealed he had sounded cheerful in recent Facebook comments and was planning a trip to London with a friend.
In 2007, The Daily News’ Gatecrasher column revealed he led a double life as an amateur porn enthusiast who had posted porn videos on XTube under an alias.
Mr Embiricos is both spiritual and Hollywood royalty, as his grandfather is Prince Aly Khan who was the leader of a sect of Islam.
Though there was no specific land that Prince Aly resided over, he was considered the head of the Ismaili Muslims which are a branch of Shia Islam.
Prince Aly’s father was Aga Khan III, and in a very unusual move, he skipped a generation in the line of succession and passed his leadership role onto Prince Aly’s son, Prince Karim, (Andrew’s uncle).
While Aga Khan III officially said that the reason for the move was in order for the Ismaili people to have a younger ruler, many speculate that it was Prince Aly’s playboy lifestyle that put his father over the edge.
The marriage between the Hollywood star and the Muslim prince was the second for Prince Aly and the third for Hayworth, who had just recently divorced the director Orson Welles when she met the Prince.
Prince Aly made headlines when he married screen siren Hayworth in a lavish ceremony in Cannes, France in 1949, when the movie star was already two months pregnant with Andrew Embiricos’ mother Yasmin.
Yasmin was Rita Hayworth’s second child- and her only child from her marriage to the Pakistani prince, and she was an item of debate during the couple’s acrimonious divorce.
When Hayworth found out that the Prince was spotted dancing with fellow actress Joan Fontaine, Hayworth threatened to divorce him and moved to Reno, Nevada in order to expedite the process.
The couple fought over how and where Yasmin would be raised, with the Prince insisting that she be raised Muslim and Hayworth fighting for a Catholic upbringing similar to her own.
At one point, Hayworth rejected a $1m offer to raise Yasmin in accordance with her ex-husband’s Muslim faith. She issued a statement expressing her clear preference for an American upbringings, saying ‘Nothing will make me give up Yasmin;s chance to live here in America among our precious freedoms and habits’.
Yasmin ended up being raised by her mother in America, and the Prince died in a car accident when she was only 10 years old.
Yasmin married an economist and Greek shipping heir named Basil Embiricos in 1985, and the couple had Andrew. Much of her time was dedicated to her mother who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for many years before her 1987 death.
Yasmin was the president of Alzheimer’s Disease International and her son took an interest in the charity later in his life.
There has been an official statement from the Khan side of the family, with Andrew’s uncle Prince Karim Aga Khan IV, the current leader of the Ismaili Muslims, though it is not clear how close the relatives were.
‘We do not know what happened yet, and we would appreciate everyone’s privacy for the family,’ said Kris Janowski, Prince Karim’s spokesman.
Andrew graduated from Fordham University in New York and worked as a sales executive at Virgin Atlantic.
When he wasn’t working for the jet-setting crew in his role at Virgin Atlantic or previous job in travel sales at Fairmont Raffles-Swissotel, Andrew was in New York’s jet set.
He appeared at a number of social events both in Manhattan and in the swanky Hamptons area of Long Island.
He was a constant presence at functions dedicated to raising money and awareness for Alzheimer’s disease in honor of Hayworth.
Unsurprisingly, much of his charitable work was dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease, which was the cause of Ms Hayworth’s death in 1987.
The family is organizing Andrew’s funeral through the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel on the Upper East Side.
Grandson of an icon: The tumultuous life and loves of Hollywood sex siren Rita Hayworth – grandmother of Andrew Ali Aga Khan Embiricos
Rita Hayworth – who was born Margarita Carmen Cansino in 1918 – rose to international fame in the 1940s and 1950s as one of Hollywood’s sexiest and most iconic ‘femme fatales’.
Listed as one of the American Film Institute’s Greatest Stars of All Time, the actress and dancer appeared in 61 films over 37 years and is known as one of the era’s top stars and the first actress to have starred alongside both Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, to a Spanish-born dancer and a Ziegfield showgirl, she was dancing professionally from the age of 12 before being spotted by a Fox producer three years later.
She appeared in a number of non-notable roles in minor movies and it wasn’t until she was signed up by Columbia pictures did her career take off.
Executives at Columbia argued her image was too much of a Mediterranean style, bringing stereotypically ‘exotic and foreign’ roles.
After undergoing electrolysis to broaden the appearance of her forehead and raise her hairline, and transforming into a redhead, she became Rita Hayworth and thus a reflection of the classic American pinup almost overnight.
Hayworth was the epitome of Hollywood glamour and feminism, as well as a stunningly beautiful actress and dancer. In person however, the screen siren was said to have been a shy, quiet and unassuming young woman who craved domestic bliss – a far cry from the sexual charisma she exuded on camera.
She was used as a pinup during World War II, when her pictures decorated barracks walls and ships’ bulkheads wherever servicemen went.
A picture of her in black lace used in Life magazine was even pasted to a test atomic bomb that was dropped on Bikini atoll in 1946.
Just as her roles on-screen garnered world-wide attention, so did her life off-screen.
Her tumultuous and colourful love life was the subject of much media scrutiny.
Married and divorced five times, Hayworth had two children: Rebecca Welles, to second husband Orson Welles, and Yasmin Aga Khan to third husband Prince Aly Khan, whom she was having an affair with while married to critically-acclaimed director Welles.
When she married Prince Khan in 1949, the fact she was visibly pregnant was widely reported by the media.
The couple divorced two years later and Hayworth was subsequently married to and divorced from the singer Dick Haymes and then James Hill, a movie producer.
She was said to be the subject of much mental abuse and cruelty throughout many of her marriages and chose men who were out to use her purely for her success.
Hayworth once said of her love life: ‘Basically, I am a good, gentle person, but I am attracted to mean personalities.’
Some of her most famous movies include Gilda, The Lady of Shanghai, Affair in Trinidad, Dante’s Inferno and Human Cargo.
She attempted a stage career in 1971, but it ended abruptly because she was unable to remember her lines, which was said to be due to alcoholism.
She died of Alzheimer’s disease in her Central Park West apartment in Manhattan in May 1987 when she was 68 years old.
For confidential support call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or see www.samaritans.org.
In the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255
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