Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

I have to clarified what was not clear in my last blog. La Negra Maldonado is a daughter of a large Hacendado of a coffee plantation in San Lucas Toliman, Lake of Atitlan. After the bike accident they took me there, to the only  Dr. available around this mountain area of the lake, without going to the other site of the lake,  where all the tourist area are. Jose meet some friends walking with La Negra, while I was with the local Dr. and they all agreed  that I will be better in  her Hacienda because I would be much more comfortable there, with servivent etc. which Jose did not have in his small cabana.

Grant and Ludmila going to the stables in Hollywood to horseback riding.

Grant and Ludmila going to the stables in Hollywood to horseback riding.

After my motorcycle accident, I could not walk, nor do modeling, but I could be a makeup consultant, with my large experience in cosmetics and makeup. I was very good  at it, so I landed a  fantastic job, on the  top floor of a gorgeous salon in one of the most famous stores in Beverly Hills.

And the another picture that was before,  that  did not make sense in my story,  was the one me laying on my living room floor with drinks,  plenty of them and pain pills,  with my left leg immobilized, watching Grant remodeling my little  horrible nightmare house that I purchased for a very good price.

I start feeling that familiar feeling that I was on my own, alone, no one to protect me like Jack used to do- I used to feel so secure with him!

I don’t really know how that made me feel because I was always medicated with alcohol,  so in a way I reverted to some degree, confronting myself and taking responsibility of myself. Now that life showed me this, I am back starting where I began at birth!

I remember it well!  This insane house purchase. Well, at the time it seemed like a good idea!

Jose and Ludmila sitting in the street of Guatemala

Jose and Ludmila sitting in the street of Guatemala

Before I  left  for Guatemala, I purchased this house without even seeing it, just so we would have a house when we came back. Well, now Mr. Grant Lesley was working on remodeling this horror, and he was handsome, but short, with blond hair, blue eyes and an outgoing personality. Just what the doctor ordered, jajajaja!  He was very charming, so he convinced me to remodel this little garbage house into a mini-jungle in the guest room, wall-to-wall paper with jungle animals, tigers, panthers and lions, orchids and palm trees in the living room (for real) so you could not see on from the street but I could see out.

In the main bedroom was a white wall-to-wall carpet, white walls, white silk bedding, a white  fox fur imitation  bad cover,  a night table with a red base, and white and red roses, and a large mirror reflecting the light of the window and plants from outside there was a mini garden  out their, plus  a white rocking chair.

Taking a ride whit Bud Harrod after modeling

Taking a ride whit Bud Harrod after modeling

Today, I realize that Grant was a really good friend:  he took my mind off  Jose, my injuries,  and the pain of mourning I was going through. (Thank you Grant–I hope your are reading this wherever you are. You were a fantastic decorator, carpenter, designer, everything !) The living room was Mexican with large wooden furniture made by him,  in front of the new design  red brick fireplace,( replacing the one I almost die by the night I arrived)  with a large red hardwood mantel,  the kitchen head a  table which stuck out of the counter of the dining area with a bar behind at an door to the small garden and garage and the other side to the living room and the hall away to the lef.

Well, I spent most of the money from the divorce settlement, but I had a showplace that I loved and that made me grow. It was the most romantic place, tiny but enchanting! The hallway to my room was  full of books on each side of the walls. I could had almost any fantastic book, some that I lugged with me from Venezuela.  (How strange now I rarely read anymore!)  from Thomas Mann to all the collected works of  Winston  Churchill,  philosophers all the way back to Socrates and Plato. (Socrates did not write, of course, he spoke and Plato wrote down his dialogues his ideas and philosophy)..

Smoking a tabaco pipe

Smoking a tabaco pipe

Grant and I become more than friends, lovers of course,  but with no attachments. We had a lot of fun remodeling this ugly duckling into our fantasy of beautiful fairy tale home.  I loved it and everyone who came to my home loved it too. I had some really good parties. Jack came by with his new girlfriend Joy who he married later on, Jeff Cooper, and many other famous people and of course movie stars…

Then when I got better I went back to work, with my favorite designer Bud Harrod, who at one time was my boyfriend– and the only man that ever put a diamond ring on my finger! it was over a one karat rock that had belonged to his father. Not for a proposal, because he was scared of marriage after his last experience.  But we worked well together, in harmony you could say, and we went in to New Years to Las Vegas and many other US cities for designer week– New York, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas. On one trip to San Francisco, I saw William again for the last time. He was back from Hawaii, and we had a farewell dinner at the Saint Francis hotel. We talked about his Cafe Imperial, the coffee I helped him sell door to door in L.A. It was a fantastic idea, but it did not sell at that time.

My set of friends had begun to change, and I was moving more into the business world instead of Hollywood showbiz. I was thinking about starting my own line of beauty products, facial creams, so  I contacted my ex-lover and dear friend Buck Rogers, who by then was living in Mexico City instead of Acapulco where I met him..  Then in LA I was introduced to a Clairol executive.

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Jose mention yesterday that if I like we go two see Guatemala everywhere, but we had two weight for my ring,  which we recovered  the next day. Jose went out  that evening , but I stayed home and  his old aunt that never been married, came to my room with a liquor bottle! Of course she said, “I  keep this for medicinal reasons”‘

I was so happy that I did not have to go out to hunt down some liquor store, let alone to get something to drink.  I couldn’t stand being without alcohol, especially being under so much stress. So I definitely wanted a drink or two… or more. Jajajajajaja!

" Back home in L.A. had to walk whit a cane for a long time."

” Back home in L.A. had to walk whit a cane for a long time.”

Next morning after breakfast, we were not talking at the table– no one cared to ask me anything. So I packed a few things and we took off on the big Kawasaki Ltd 1000 motorcycle that I bought for him. We went to the beautiful countryside en route to Lake Atitlan, stopping by the river and at the homes of some of  Jose’s friends. As we rode through the indescribable beauty of rural Guatemala, there were flowers everywhere, pine trees, rivers with little waterfalls and the smell of smoke from the wood fires in the valleys and hills. Then suddenly, we slid and tumbled over, and I found myself underneath this big motorcycle the motor were still running hot it was very hot..

Jose was screaming “Stay still, don’t move,” while trying to lift the bike, but of course he couldn’t and I couldn’t move at all! Finally some people came passing by in cars and one of them stopped to help him lift the big motorcycle off of me. It seemed to take forever, with me lying under the burning hot motor, the bike crushing down on my whole left leg.  I can’t remember much, but later they said they took us immediately to the nearby clinic in the village of San Lucas Toliman to see if any doctor was available.

Well the only thing I know was that I was in  so much pain, now  numbed not only by alcohol  and  with the the drugs to,  laying in bed in the house of La Negra Maldonado, her family hacienda with a coffee plantation. That  delicious smell  was my  companion as I was  healing….

Dancing whit William in Caracas to " It Was Fascination I know"

Dancing whit William in Caracas to ” It Was Fascination I know”

Jose was in the next room, laughing and smoking pot, and many other  people  were there, I barely could move, but slowly I was helped up to  the living room, where not one was interested in my problems. They were so high including Jose who was busy making eyes at La Negra,  and the gays were making passes at him. Wow what a group of weirdos! But there was one guy that looked half elegant with a little class ,and he had a big new van like a Jeep  and was proposing something.  I felt like I didn’t belong there with the gays and dropout drug users and la Negra  making passes at Jose– this was not exactly a happy situation for me!

Well as always , I  made the best of the worst.!   I  heard this one guy saying something about the beach and my ears perked up: The beach, yes!  I need to get out of this cold house in the mountains where we are. So when one of the boys said, Lets go to the beach!”  I was all for it. The pain was still bad, and although nothing was broken my whole leg was swollen up like a big  balloon. Some of the muscles were torn and muscle trauma had appeared, enough to make me scream with pain. So everybody was giving me pills and of course la Negra give me more stuff and aguardiente, wow wow weeeeee!

.We took off to the beach; all the way there I wanted to drink  more aguardiente until I reached oblivion. for me not two remember the countryside, which was totally different than the one we drove from,  it was hot, tropical, with a smell of iron from the sea,  the beach air was so inviting warm and nice! I don’t remember too much the scenery as we arrived ,  Jose with the three other guys went into this fantastic looking hotel which I supposed was to  get or see a room for us, and I just sit by a fishing boat and wait!!!!!

Next thing I knew,  I awoke with a cut on my forehead, inside the same boat , I remember sitting there, now I am inside of it, alone  with no one there.        Shortly Jose arrived and said something to his friends,  Look  she’s  hurt , blood in her forehead,  I thought to myself  that meant he left me alone and was with his male lovers in this luxurious hotel , which  I didn’t even seen inside, so I just wanted to go back to beautiful Atitlan.

 I did not speak to him the whole way back, until we arrived 2 or 3 hrs. later. Of course no one cared to even talk with or to  Jose, they all seemed tired. If he head?  had any dignity or concern for me?, he hid it from me, but probably not from himself.

I was in no shape to argue or judge anyone. I justed wanted to be free from the pain and to be able to walk again. so I went into the house with this mayan servants helping me carried me at this a graceful, lovely small hacienda-type pueblo ranch home of the Maldonado family, on the middle of San Lucas Toliman in Atitlan, were The Indian women their, and most of the interior of Guatemala still dressed traditionally, carried their babies on their backs, and did not dare look into anyone’s eyes. We couldn’t take pictures of them because they believed we’d steal their souls, and it we’ll be captured inside  the camera .

Arriving it this hacienda ranch I realize this was  her home then,  where she was waiting our coming back anxiously  she greeted me with  a present, just  for me,? some kind of coins and bets, (probably witchcraft– who knows?  They carried me on into the bed,  they were smokin weed all the time and she was  always high in pot or something else. She was obviously enchanted with Jose. He was tall, blond, slim and always very charming.

The servant handed me a cane,  so I could get to the bathroom or go to sit up for a moment,  which was almost impossible, I had to lie down almost all the time, even inside the cars, (which the only time  was in  our last trip to Lake Elizabeth that was the name of the beach we were at,  It was impossible to sit comfortably, being so painful I could scream, so I lay in bed almost all the time. The local doctor said not to walk for a couple of days.

In the meantime, Jose and his friends went to parties and picnics, and as it turned out, the romance between Jose and La Negra had already started.

Incredibly, in this part of the world, to hear that music on the radio!  “It was “Fascination I know”! My goodness, tears were rolling down my cheeks, with my eyes closed and even now remember dancing to that melody so many times with William, to that some music!  It was so vivid, one of our favorite songs. The last time I spoke to him was in Sausalito (near San Francisco) in the  “No Name Bar,” still where he said he loved me… but that was last time we spoke in person two person and kiss and love each other,  at that time  felt so long ago .  I guess it must have been ?   before he moved to Hawaii and become a rich, successful men,Ice cream and coffee merchant, o crepes two go on Sausalito.

So you see, the wind carries all our promises away,  on the lips of cocaine and alcohol.  Any promise seems real, whether to the one who lies or the one who wants to believe them. sure,  we would believe  everything, I did for many years 10 o so,  all promise “ el aire se las llevo” almost anything to get what or who we want, if it feels good and looks great at that moment, when we are high…

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On the beach in Acapulco Buck, Ludmila and Ron lavender Children

On the beach in Acapulco Buck, Ludmila and Ron lavender Children

While still in Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta, I was really having fun with Buck,and finally Ruth went back to L.A. Of course she told her son about my promiscuous behavior. Jack keep calling and asking, “When are your coming back home?” But there was always another party to go to, so one more last time we went to the big Disco in Acapulco. I loved the balloons at midnight, the confetti and serpentinas, it was so gay and such fun dancing with Buck! I got carried away on the dance floor, then something terrible happened: I fell down to the floor drunk and shaking…
I got up, smiled and continued dancing Then again I fell down, and I remember saying to myself “What is this? am I really so drunk ? how embarrassing!” And once again I fell down, so I said to Buck, “Lets sit down at our table!” Finally I told Buck “Lets go home.” But everybody came along with us, thinking that as usual I was just taking the party someplace else. I don’t even remember how or when we arrived back at Buck s, and I don’t remember who stayed behind and who came to Buck’s house, but apparently it included some other young ladies.

Dining in D.F. whit Buck and very important people

Dining in D.F. whit Buck and very important people


I was awakened by hands groping me and this young beautiful girl kissing me all over! Well, l got up, took another drink and the sex party proceeded, until I passed out and woke up for cocktail time that evening. I went down those long beautiful stairs that went around above the living room to reach the bar, where Buck and Rudy and Anna and Ron and everybody else was standing there. Arturo arrived with his wife Mary Arden and Buck’s sister. After the cocktails we went to dinner and someone said, “Diane is arriving day after tomorrow,” so I said to Buck, “Book me on the flight tomorrow to L.A. please!”

Going up the stairs to pack, I saw he had hung pictures and even a large portrait of me on the wall! In fact, there were many pictures of us everywhere on the home.. I could not take them with me, there were too many things to pack, so I left them behind. Well, she destroyed them all!) I was too hungover to pack or think about anything., my head was pounding and I heard the sound of a voice: “Its time to go home, I stayed too long at this party, its over, “Its time for Jack to put me over his shoulder and take me home.” But of course he was not there , or he would have done just that, so I had to do it myself!, Jack was totally the opposite of this gentle Charles Rogers (Buck his nickname) from Boston, high society and descendant of the Boston tea party. One of his great grandfathers was a pirate, and his ship had been confiscated by the first U.S.Navy to start the first naval fleet.
The next morning, as I was still posing for personal pictures at the airport, saying goodbye to all my friends and Buck, I was oblivious to the fact that Diane had changed her schedule and was already arriving in Acapulco! I headed out to the plane in the shirt that Buck gave me because I liked it so much. Just as I was almost ready to get on the plane, I saw her descending the ramp from her plane! It was just a miracle that we did not run right into each other that day, or the fur would have flown! That would not be a happy meeting! Somehow of course we missed each other, thank God, because I was too busy saying goodbye to Buck and to Acapulco.

Later he called me and told me that he was divorcing her and she was taking everything he had, including the Pierce Arrow– (like she needed it!) along with a Cadillac and some other cars, all of which poor Buck had gladly given her. Katy (one of his daughters) and I were good friends and she wrote me all the time, so we had good memories of our friendship and she kept me informed of all these things. Our friendship continued for a long time, writing to each another, so I learned that she burned all my things and all my pictures and he had asked her for a final divorce. That was a big scandal! I never met the lady so I can only speak from what I heard and my own experience. I would see Buck a couple more times, but only as friends, not lovers…

Buck had a beautiful home with its wide open spaces, Mexican baroque style with a tile pool, palm trees, and separate quarters for the servants (who did not like me–they were all faithful to his wife Diane, who was busy taking him to the cleaners, leaving him with no balls!) I guess that’s why all his friends loved me, because they said I restored him to manhood by “giving him back his balls.” That was where I should have burned one bridge and chosen the other, but that’s so difficult when the time comes, to know which bridge to burn and which to cross!.

This was only the beginning, going down the torturous road of alcoholism. I should have quit then. But I didn’t, I was too obliterated and drunk to care When I finally arrived home I received a bunch of photos of me in the mail, in the front row at Reni’s big funeral. Life was getting a little rougher on me, sending me a message that I did not understand at the time.

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The Jubilee was not as successful as we would have liked! Jerry Lee Lewis arrived with 5 trailer trucks and all his menagerie, but of course they kept  him so high that he could fly and no one was allowed to talk to him, not even us.  Well, his performances was not fantastic; I think his years were already catching up with him. David Carradine did his folksinger gig, and one other artist, but some of them did not show up at all.

Jeff Cooper ( Caliman) and Ludmila

Jeff Cooper ( Caliman) and Ludmila

As usual, after the Jubilee there was a party at the Millmans!  Arturo Hanzel my dearest friend , David Carradine and many many more guests– Jim Maddox and the two Israeli brothers, everybody had a blast. There was champagne, whisky, rum, gin was like water going around and cocaine and pot and quaaludes and LSD…. God know what else. Well, I don’t remember much of anything, but I just think I had fun.

Of course, when the buzz wore off, it was time to go to another party. Jose  #3 was working with that very famous singer– that fellow who was blind in one eye short black and Jewish, a member of the rat pack– of course, now I remember his name  it was Sammy Davis Jr.! Well he had lots of cocaine at his party house, and good drinks, so there we went! Liza Minnelli was there and many other stars. They will all will be in my book, I promise you- this is just a teaser!

 Ludmila holding the big fish

Ludmila holding the big fish

As we were all having fun, one of my Mexican fighting cocks was lose and would not leave any body alone, attacking everybody and wanting to fight very bravely. the people were going crazy, so finally we caught him and put him in a cage. He was a beautiful bird with gold and red,  and black under his chest, just so spicy and proud like a Mexican bullfighter.

Arturo Hanzel (related to the Morgan Bank) invited me and Jack’s mom Ruth to go to Mexico for a long vacation.His wife Mary was my hostess, introducing me to all her friends including Buck Rogers, who impressed me immediately: handsome, well mannered, relaxed, educated, and witty.  After going with Mary and Mrs Lavender to operas and ballets we went to the discos!. Marry said lets go to Acapulco so we all went to Acapulco, and had an incredible time. Even Jack’s mother come with me, so she could enjoy Mexico.

Arturo Hanzel and daughters of Buck Rogers

Arturo Hanzel and daughters of Buck Rogers

Arriving in Acapulco we stay at Ron Lavender’s house. At that time he was just beginning to grow his Real Estate business; later he became number one,  his soon sequestered and head same sad times. Charles Rogers  (his friends called him Buck), fell for me immediately, as soon as we were introduced that evening, during the cocktail hour in  Ron’s home had a typical Mexican house   as your walk in the living room, which was  very open bright,  that was a small  house , in comparison to his  famous rich friends, a modest  bar and followed by the little patio with palm trees and at the end  there was a small pool with a  very Mexican fountain with gorgeous tiles, it was a charming place, cozy  everywhere you looked!  There was Mexican art work and in the upstairs  second floor the guest rooms.   This where  magic time, everything was new and beautiful,  different from Hollywood or anything a seem before,even different from Spain, and without my husband carrying me out over his shoulder out  shouting to me that I had had enough!  may be he had enough but not me, The funny part or the good part, is that  I did not get mad at that,  actually in a strange way I liked it, I felt protected and or  cared for– who knows?

But here in Mexico, I am free, so I have to get rid of Ruth, so I can really do whatever I want!  Well,  we disappeared all night to the bars, but no Ruth. We all went, Mary ,Buck, Ron, Ana and her husband Rudy, after dinner to a bordello to  see how it was, we laughed and joked and drank champagne and watched the parade of men going and coming.  I was even invited to see one of the private rooms, where the prostitute conducts her business.  I think I asked the girl if it ever repulsed her, a man that was not appealing? She said, “I just close my eyes and think of Errol Flynn!”.

After Ruth left, Buck took  me to every society part, in the Yacht Club  in Acapulco, we went to Merle Oberon’s the gorgeous actress’ house, and other celebrities –even the beach house of Senor Cantinflas himself.

Next day after Arturo Hanzel arrived, as he by now finish La Novela he was filming in Mexico City, with Jeff Cooper the Canadian actor  who play the Mexican hero “Caliman”  Then we all went across the jungle in Jepps  and then by boat to a clean and beautiful beach. I still have a picture of me holding a fish, the workers and fishermen had prepared a feast on a long wooden table on the sand by the old palapa, with fishing nets hanging around and hamacas between the Palm trees. We ate all kinds of seafood, and then more tequila , then we went to lie down in the gold warm sand. Later when it was sunset, we went back on the sailboat to Acapulco bay. ( more to follow next week.)

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As usual Holidays where becoming an very busy social events for the Millmas, will   to the house of Dean Martin for Christmas a second time or 3 event, this time  I invited my  sister and my niece,  and every time it has been a adventure,, it was  a great party – this year ,  full of 60s stars who were as big as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in our era. After the party Rex Harrison had called our home again, but I was too busy to get to know him better. My lifestyle was modeling, partying and drinking, which took up all my time– so I guess I will never know what he wanted!
Then  it was time to prepare for the Country and Western Jubilee, we I tried two sign on  Jerry Lee Lewis, and David Carradine and Johnny Cass and invite same  famous stars,  we  hope it turns out great , all this is only on few  months , so we go two as many parties as we can two invite or sign every Start we can , either two  perform or as an quest at  the Festival.

Ludmila with red hair

Ludmila with red hairs

Friends called our ranch home Sherwood Forest  (I have no idea why people started calling our home that, I had another name on my library studio office: Piggy Pig Farms. I had so many animals there I started selling them! In those days, the flower children were calling the police officers “pigs,” and I love pigs so in my niece, crazy way, I thought I would glorify their name by calling my farm that, Pigs are really very intelligent animals and I don’t understand why its considered an insult.

One day, we ordered a whole piglet for New Years, and it was hanging in a cool room just before the big garage. We were going to roast the pig over an open fire by the pool. This was a New Years party, but it was only December 30 and the party was going already.
The 30th was my sister’s birthday so after a quiet dinner with my blood family, we retired to our Hacienda. We should have called it Las Vegas– what happens here stays here! Well, my dear husband disappeared in the middle of the party, and of course I did not even miss him with so many young men around me, flirting and wanting me. I did not find out until later that he was in the “pig room” with the girlfriend of Gus Savalas– I forget her name– doing what animals and people do! She was very different from me bodywise, and I think she was a nymphomaniac, so they had really lustful, promiscuous sex. As your see I think I was more open two my sexual behavior,  then my husband he knew every one I had been with , but I did not suspect nor worried about  him,  because  I thought we had no lies or secrets regarding our behavior in the parties of sexual indole,  but that was not his way, which I found out  later.


Gus Savalas, Jack Millman and Ludmila, having lots of fun

Gus Savalas, Jack Millman and Ludmila, having lots of fun


If the only value my book will have for anyone  ( beside it entertainment), is to make the reader see how an alcoholic functions and what makes him or her that way, it will serve a purpose.  It is the same with all of us, a sickness. It shows up in different forms with different people, but it is really all the same. No matter if you are white, yellow, black, or purple, it is always the same. I don’t like to generalize, but I think we are all borderline genius, idiot, artist in everything and nothing. Of course this is only my opinion, and for sure it is an unscientific one, but by the same token the doctors will confirm one thing that I mention here. Alcoholism is a disease that only a Power greater than ourselves can remove– but how, you will ask? The only way I personally found out was through Alcoholics Anonymous, where the members showed me by their example, and I did the work. After fifty years of drinking every day, God still let me live and sober up, so that today I am a writer and have a reborn life.  Their  things that became real instead of an dream and it is great two rediscover every minute of the life and feel not nam.

Yes, today I am still beautiful and attractive, but this time I know it because I am grateful for everything- for my friends and admirers, and especially to the men I loved and they love me their too many to remember each name , but each left I leson good or bad a lesson never the less. . Above all I am happy, and I still have a lot of love to give to the world- humanity, animals and nature. Today at last I can stop and smell the roses, even laugh at myself when it is appropriate!


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Maestro Aldemaro Romero and me celebrating the success of Onda Nueva in ALejandro's Bar, (Penthouse)

Maestro Aldemaro Romero and me celebrating the success of Onda Nueva in ALejandro’s Bar, (Penthouse)

At this party at Reny’s house, Jack and I met some people that were talking about holding the First World Festival in Caracas, called Onda Nueva. They suggested that we might like to help, especially since I was in show business and rubbing elbows with lots of stars and knew lots of interesting people. So Jack decided to send me with mama to Caracas to organize things. By now William was living in Sausalito and I was married and apparently happy, there was no reason to go home except for business.

We arrived in Venezuela at Maiquetia Airport and  my sister  husband picked us up. As  we drove to Caracas, he wanted to thank me for “that wonderful introduction to that pilot with Alitalia airlines,” because he was very helpful to him in Rome. The pilot took him to his home for lunch and escorted him to many places, This Italian handsome pilot, Giovanni, showed Valery great hospitality; he was not my lover or anything, but he was a good friend that liked me very much.  So that was very nice of him two take care of Valery Chechelev, my ex brother in law.

Mama and I arrived at the Tamanaco Hotel and I had invitations to the Penthouse of my friend Sr. Alejandro Rodríguez, where I had been before.  I went by myself and mama stayed in our room on the hotel with some Russian lady friends of hers. There at the party was everybody I needed to meet for the Onda Nueva festival: the President of the show and creator Aldemaro Romero in person. Maestro Aldemaro was a great Venezuelan composer, musician and director of the Symphonic Orchestra of Venezuela. So officially we were the people to be contacted for the invitations for The first world music festival Onda Nueva.

This was the most exciting thing happening in the whole of the music industry, there would be artists from all over the world and I got to invite famous friends from Los Angeles and Hollywood. One of the famous at that time was Peter Graves, since his Mission Impossible TV show was playing everywhere in the world. My dear niece went with us a day before, and the preparations began from our part to the staging and financing probably the greatest musical event Venezuela ever had.

We were back again at my favorite Hotel Tamanaco, where almost every one of our guests was staying. Just entering the elevator you might encounter Manzanero or Daniel Rio Lobos or Peter Grave’s wife Joan Or Aldemaro himself. It was just great, the energy of the atmosphere was electrifying, alive, gay, happy, smiles on every face, flowers everywhere and full preparations for the quests, every salon, dining room everywhere was a magical atmosphere.

The fantastic energy the Opening night was indescribable, we were all in formal dress, and we walked on the red carpet at the entrance of Teatro Municipal, where the event was taking place. The theatre was full of celebrities and people anxious to hear the new sound call Onda Nueva (New wave), after the acknowledgement to everyone present, very briefly and applause (yes Jack and I were mentioned!)  Many thanks were given to all of us that were part of this magical night,  the first night was powerful, glorious, strong and every one love it,. When the music started playing everyone stood up!  It was electrifying, indescribable, fabulous sounds blaring at our ears., with Aldemaro at the piano, playing music of then unknown composers like Manzanero and others. They were playing the rhythms of Onda Nueva and the festival made many artists and composers very famous overnight.

Afterward, everyone was invited to the hotel to celebrate the great success of Onda Nueva, and then on into the wee hours of the morning some of us were still partying at Alejandros Penthouse, as this picture shows!

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Filming a movie

I am grateful for all the men in my life, and especially grateful for all the places they took me and the lessons that they taught me– solid gold and pure Fort Knox!

My life with Jack was an open marriage, but I did not understand that completely. In any case, I did what I wanted, regardless of my husband, so I was invited to incredible parties as a model, without my husband. Likes the one at Paul Newman’s  house, when I took my sister with me; of course, first that afternoon I went to the bank, opened the security box for jewelry, and got a little cocaine from my stash for that night. My sister had no idea I was using coke yet.

The house of Paul Newman was full of people, stars like Ali MAcGraw, but also hippies, motorcycle riders, and other types. Later on there was a big fight, I don’t remember if I provoked it or what?  My sister was singing Russian songs with the pianist, when I ran into the room grabbed her by the hand and said lets get out of here! Bottles were flying overhead , drunk and high people were screaming, and we just ran and ran until we reached where the  taxis, we could find the one we came on.. We were  laughing and bewildered, but I lost a beautiful brooch that William had given me on that mad dash. I don’t even know where we were in the Hollywood Hills? That was the craziest experience at a house of the rich and famous, but I did meet Ben Gazzara and we had a couple  of encounters, he love “poppers” very common at that time…. more of this in my book…..

Dancing whit Bernard Apteker

Dancing with Bernard Apteker

Christmas time came and we were invited to Dean Martin’s house in Beverly Hills for Noche Buena. Well, there was Lucille Ball, Shirley Maclaine and many big names– they were all there, but especially Rex Harrison! I was fascinated by him, he was wearing a dark blue tuxedo with velvet sandals , slippers,, and I just looked down at his feet. Of course I had seen him in My Fair Lady in London with William, so memories came back into my head. I was amazed, flabbergasted, speechless (well almost!) that here was the man I dreamed of meeting years ago, right in front of me, talking to me !!  He saw my look at his feet, as I was surprised by the dark blue slippers that he was wearing, and said with a beautiful Henry Higgins attitude, “A man of my age is allowed to be comfortable!”  I could not help but have a wicked smile when I heard him speak, as I looked up into his fantastic eyes, and heard him saying: “I can always be well-dressed but can’t  tolerate being uncomfortable on my feet! ” as he proceeded very elegantly to ask where I could be reached. Of course, I was always prepared and had a little gold pen (yes another present from William) and a little note book. This was part of my job, since I never knew when I would meet someone that could gave me a job. That was all part of show business, so I give him my number. He was so charming and well mannered, I loved that to no end!

Of course it looked like I was there alone, since no one realized that I was married and had a husband with me. Jack was off in the Martin library reading, then trying to wheel and deal with some gentleman I did not recognize him but anything to promote Jack’s music company. In fact, Jack rarely went to parties since he was not a drinker like all of the rest of us. Soon I was chatting with Ginny and Dean Martin; Dean was complaining that his bartender did not know how to do his scotch and soda drink. Of course I did because that is what I drank!,   I assumed he liked it the same way I did, so I went over to the bar and I told the bartender, “Please pour two shots of whisky over 3 cubes of ice with just a splash of soda!” Dean loved it, and we became friends! People at the party were smoking pot openly; I couldn’t believe my eyes– aren’t they worried about being seen?  Later I learned that  in Hollywood stars homes,, what goes on among than, stays among them. (just like Las Vegas: what happens in Las Vegas? Stays in Las Vegas!).

Dean Martin's house in the library Jack and Ludmila in Christmas party

Dean Martin’s Christmas party:  Jack and Ludmila in the library

The party went on, but most of big stars eventually left and as we were leaving (my dear hubby was still with this music biz man talking until we got in the car), two police cars arrived and parked outside Dean Martin’s door. We were parked a little ways away, looking at the show. They asked everyone in the house to leave. Later I heard that Dean had gone upstairs to his bedroom and called the police, so he could get some sleep, I guess it must be nice to be so important!

But now you see that each men that I met gave me something of themselves, and for that, I love them all.

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Alejandro's Penthouse. He is in the center, Ludmila next to him in one of the parties.

Alejandro’s Penthouse. He is in the center, Ludmila next to him in one of the parties.

Now we were headed to New York again, for the big Fashion Week, staying in a luxury penthouse by the East River across from the United Nations Building,–a gorgeous little apartment for Bud and me. I heard this Willie Nelson song “On the Road Again” some time ago– this song matches my life: in the road all the time, even to this day, I’ve led a gypsy life. But now I had a beautiful home and my mother to come back to, and I has William and many other friends. What started with William as antipathy had become a burning love which was  so full of admiration and respect, but as the saying goes, there is no light without dark. Inside my heart there is still a light keeping my love for him alive,
Now in New York everywhere I go reminds me of us together, happy and enjoying life-  living, loving having fun. Sometimes the work  makes me forget him by going here and there keeps me very busy. Today as  every day after worked I go for a drink or 2, or 3, after living my modeling things with my enormous bag in our apartment where we are staying, on the same building  there is a great bar, overlooking Manhattan so I go there,  while Bud gets ready  to go out, or if I am very tired than I make dinner in our penthouse, but is so tempting to go out,  have same cocaine, dance, drink all night,  especially in that famous discotheque that belongs to the wife of Richard Burton before they got a divorce. After a  few sniffs and dances we inevitably we start talking about how was our day, and constantly have two here from my boss Bud, way can your train the other models two walk like your ??  (Will, now you know? Way they don’t like me.) Then he will go home and I still have La Vida Loca until morning,  and walk two our place  with a glass full in one hand  ( not coffee) and on the other my shows, my poor feet head enough activity so did I, Bud was such a nice person,  then at work he let me sleep until the show stars and everybody is ready, in the private little dressing room of my owned (this only happens when the designer needs you body for his or hers creations and your are a great model in the cat walk or photography, and  you sale every piece of garment you’re showing, than than and only then, your will  get away with a lot). Then finally  modeling again, all day long and then maybe go out to dinner at some really good place. Next day its the same routine all over again, for the entire week, and discotheques at night!. Modeling all day.

Ludmilas birthday party in her house. Daud  proposing her in front of all her quest and mama.

Ludmila`s birthday party, 1964:  Daud proposing to her in front of mama and all the guests.

Today we went to work to our showroom, on the 30th floor. As usual when we finished work it was dark already, and the last buyer had left. All of a sudden the lights started going out; we stood by the big window and watched as area after area of Manhattan and greater New York were shutting down the brilliant lights and everything turned pitch black!  People were just coming out of the showrooms and boutiques, the ones like us that had stayed late where all coming out from everywhere, what a commotion, half panic started. None of us knew what was going on? Maybe an atomic bomb attack from the Russians? There was no radio transmitting, no electric power, so now people started walking down the escalators but it was not easy it is a long way down, besides we were in fear  not knowing, it was very scary to say the least.
Thank God Bud and I were healthy and strong, so down we went, all 30 some floors expecting the worst,  when we finally arrived two the  main floor, Bud went immediately stood on line with another maybe 50 people or so wanting something from   the lobby desk manager of the building hotel. The hotel management was trying to accommodate us with what they had, just some snack and drinks (the showrooms for fashion week generally are in big  plash  hotels). People everywhere were playing cards, drinking and talking, not in a real panic anymore, but anxious because no one knew for certain what was going on? The people of New York behaved amazingly well, actually, with no robberies or vandalism. Somehow Bud got help from the lobby manager and put us up in the basement on some cots. In  among all this we meet this color men, who became our suppliers, even offer us some for free, how nice of him, free cocaine and wish as a good trip back and that soon we will see him back in L.A. Later back in Hollywood he did contact us.

The Great New York Blackout …What an experience! But now I had to go back to Caracas again,  although this time I was going on my own business. I flew down with my portfolio, my composites and my ideas for a show of models in Venezuela. I don’t really know how or when this came about, but there I went with mamachka Palina. We stayed in El Hotel Tamanaco, so familiar to me– thoughts of William suffocate me! With so much going on in my life I had almost banished that memory, but now here I am confronted with all our past, reminding me that I was not cured of his spell, and the pain and anger and sadness came to me so strong, that horrible awareness of what I had done. I killed those innocents souls, and I will have to live with it the rest of my life, paying for my sin– can I ever forgive myself?

Renee called me and asked if I could come to an interview? Everyone wants to know how this girl from Venezuela made it in Hollywood? On his show was the men who played in the French film “Papillon”, and the men from the hit film “Asphalt Jungle”!
I have forgotten their names today,  but before the book is out I will have their names, I promise. This was really fantastic, I really felt like a star in Caracas! I was someone people recognized and saw on the cover of magazines, with my pictures larger than the President of Venezuela (I believe it was Larrazabal?). I was invited to many fancy places, one of them was a very private penthouse party for Mr Rodriquez.
Anyone who was anybody in the society of Venezuelan was there! One way or the other, they were there, and some of the prettiest ladies too- Miss Venezuela Susanna Duin and Miss Universe and Miss Mundo!

Of course the party included a very formal dinner under a bougainvillea tree that must been there since the building was built! It covered the whole outdoor terrace like an umbrella of deep red flowers, and seemed to bloom all year round. The table was laid with exotic seafood dishes, but then I went to the bar, after having wine and champagne with dinner, like this was not enough!  I had to drink some more and I took a couple of pills, pep pills  were there under the bar top behind the bottles. The bar was next to the terrace, with the living room  next to the bar, a very cozy, warm room with soft pillows in chairs, full of new music and wide open French doors and windows. It was just right, with the fragrance of the flowers and the moon peeking in, in this wonderful semi tropical nights of Caracas (it was never hot at night!).

Sitting in the big comfortable seats, with albums of pictures of famous faces of past visitors on the tables, one of them that comes to mind is Natalie Wood. I thought, that was my favorite bar room in the world, this cozy bar usually attended by Alejandro himself, when he wasn’t busy in his boudoir making love to one, two or three ladies. Once I “brought a sandwich to a party” on one of my flights down to Caracas. I was picked up at the airport by Alejandro who never goes anywhere, but for me he made a real gesture of friendship and showed up in a black limousine. Once inside the limo, I told him I had cocaine with me, He almost jumped out of his skin, here he is picking me up, can you imagine the scandal! He was a very prominent socialite and from a good family, with a good name to protect. I laughed and told him  nothing could happen.  Well that is how nonchalant I was about life at that time. After that we became even better friends when he realized what a silly worrier I really I was, so innocent, in so many ways and naive and gullible, and we became the best of friends. Ever since that day I was invited every night two his Penthouse  parties, and I met so many people there — very important politicians, film and TV stars, and spies, people from all over the world. There I meet the grand Venezuela maestro composer Aldemaro Romero and Luis Felipe Herrera my dear friend, his father Reynaldo the one marry two a very lovely dear lady, tried to take my virginity a long time, but I love that family too much, pure class  (too bad it was not him, probably would’ve  much better), this family probably is the most aristocratic  and old money family besides the Lord Boulton’s family…

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Teaching Gala how to do manicure

Teaching Gala how to do manicure

My  own apartment! I walked into this empty three bedroom place with amazement, There was all the basic furniture, a refrigerator and stove–that’s all I need!    I must call and tell mama and Gala where life has taken me! I am here now,  I live in Hollywood, to be exact in Beverly Hills 3 blocks from Rodeo Drive, 4 blocks from the Wilshire Hotel where many stars stay, near   Beverly Hill Hotel and  Bel Air Hotel.  There are the beautiful people, going for cocktails and to play Tennis and to meet other people.

Outside my door was a newspaper I could barely understand. But I saw an ad, “Models Wanted, so I wrote down the address and there I went! I am in Jocelyn Ryans studios and the receptionist wanted to sell me a modeling course! This  place was more a school than agency  So indignantly I get up and head for the door, when a lady in the far office opened the door and said: “Please wait a minute and do come into my office.” Jocelyn offered me a job as the top teacher for her students!  I needed a job and money so I said  okay, but I never taught before! She said, Your etiquette and manners are perfect, and you walk fantastically!  That is what I want you to teach!”  Later I trained her other teachers.
When I was leaving I had no idea how to go back to my apartment, but  there was another young lady, Cathy, and she said, “Can I give you a lift,?”  The Americans seems so kind and graceful,  simple like children!  She said she was friends with Bob Denver, the star of Gilligan’s Island TV show. On our way she somehow conveyed  to me that she had a date with two brothers for dinner, would I like to go?  I agreed, and that night a white big Lincoln town car, came for me, with Daud  at the wheel and his brother in the back. With my new friend Cathy. Daud  opened the door for me in front and I sat next to him. I soon found he was a Muslim, born in Baghdad. I thought, how romantic! I had read “The Arab” and was fascinated by that novel, where the Arab steals the girl and takes her to the desert to a passionate romance! Daud was very attractive, but a little short and kind of  round,  divorced with  a ten year old son Douglas who was away in school someplace, and he did not see his ex wife.

Daud fell in love with me, but being of two different religions ‘ Baba’  the chief of this group of Hollywood Arabs was okay with him loving me,  but marriage was not a sure thing.  Of course we talked about other Arabs with children born in America and with a very open mind, but marriage was the furthest  thing from my mind at that time.  So we went out, the four of us, again and again. One night we went to a belly dancing cabaret, very sexy, until the wee hours of the night, with lots of champagne for me and Cathy. Daud (in his way he was a very religious man, he read the Quran all the time in his house) did not drink. But his younger brother Ali did, yes, and so we all wound up at their beautiful newly constructed house  in  the Hollywood Hills. There was a large Arabic rug in the floor where were making love! Soon he became almost like my shadow, a good person to have as a friend  very helpful and generous when  a need would arise.

I still had no money to pay the rent, because I hadn’t received my first check yet,  but he helped with the rent, and then he helped me to call my sister and invite her to live with me and  bring mama too! He took me to interviews and to photographers, and was a good person like a Godsend. Every time I was lonesome or wanted to go out, I  just came to one of the  houses that he bought and fixed and resold.  I always knew where the keys where.

Then I worked in a Boutique as a mistress assistant to pin the dresses on the customers and of course I was fired! But I still taught a few times a week and then later in  November when all the family was together, I was teaching almost every day.

Then of course came the one of so many communication with William, when he asked me to go to be with him for few days? Off I ran to Caracas, just like the saying,  just whistle and I’ll be there. William was saying yes I will marry you, but after I sell the business (another promise he was making that he didn’t keep). How stupid but I thought that I really loved him. Then I saw Oscar and told him how I missed him and where I lived now,  and gave him my address ….

You probably wondering,  what was going on in my mind? Did I think I could have as many husbands as I wanted? I read about a place where the woman had a husband for every day!
if I only can explain that to myself?  I  was supposed to be a decent girl who believed in God , Was I alright? Well, no, I don’t think so. I was a sick puppy in a sick world.  I was  already an alcoholic, but of course I did not know of such a sickness. Nobody ever told me that I was drinking too much, and I had no parents smart or rich enough to send me to a psychiatrist.  I never thought that there was something wrong with me, I was just living life, the way it came, moving with the breeze like a feather, with no rhyme or reason, only enjoying it day by day.
I honestly enjoyed my  life back then, just like always, creating my own reality, but the fantasies and dreams were soon evaporating like water on the sand.

I was worn down, so I went to a doctor for Benzedrine so I wouldn’t eat . I thought I was heavy and wanted to lose a miserable five pounds. No one  ever told me that I was not going on the right direction…..
Now I had some modeling jobs. One of them was with Johnny Mathis, as the announcer to a big party in Bel Air. When he introduced me he said something like,  “I present to you Ludmila,  the top High Fashion Model of Hollywood!”

I start going to beauty salons, one of  the very famous Paganos,  which was later sold to  John Peters, the boy friend of Barbra Streisand. Soon an idea came to me – why not tell my sister to  become a manicurist; after all she had that beauty salon on Porlamar? So I did, and we started practicing at home. Then she had to get a cosmetology license to work at Paganos  where I had introduced her.

So  away we went to the city hall to the board of cosmetology !  She  would   not go unless I took the exam with her! Okay, we did the paperwork and took the exam and of course we flunked! So the person in charge said you can stay and do it again, you have  another chance.

We ended up three in the room, after everybody left including the examiner. But when she checked the paper she had put a cardboard template with holes on it, that told her which answers were correct. So, very smart of me I said to  Gala, you look at the door  to warn us if the lady is coming. I will get that paper and mark our exams and also for this little Italian guy that wanted to work as a beautician. So we sent back after I had copied all the correct answers for all 3 of us, and guess what? We passed!

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 Arriving on U.S.A.

Arriving on U.S.A.

Hello New York! I had been there twice already but landing at Laguardia airport (that was the name then) was still exciting The air is so different – it smells of success, money and fame. But to get to our new home at Syracuse, we had to change planes or take the Greyhound bus. I was thrilled to be on American soil with my mama, so she could see for herself the American dream. The Statue of Liberty stood in front of us, shining for all mankind to come and work for freedom honestly.

In Syracuse, we stayed for a couple of days at a friend of mamas house, then mama went to worked as a waitress, washing dishes at night in an Italian restaurant. I went straight to a local television station and told them how great I was, showing them my pictures dancing on TV in Caracas. So this Greek producer – director gave me a chance to perform one day on one of his shows. He was Orthodox like me, so we went together to the Greek Church. In no time, he was ready to propose marriage, but I just stalled for time. I did not want to be married yet; no, I wanted to be free, although I did like him a lot.

I went on the bus to New York and went to see Oleg Cassini, who became one of the favorite designers of the new first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. I first worked in the showroom, modeling fur coats – I always looked good in fur and in hats. I was 5’8” and half, and weighed only 120 pounds, with big shoulders and a great walk, so I did not have any trouble finding work. But it was only in the showroom, because I had no agent and did not speak English yet. I was still very green, a kid in the biggest city in the world of fashion. I realized they were paying much more money to the models with agents who came to do the 1 hour show, than I made for hours of working. I had to stand up for hours, so they could wrap fabrics around me to create new designs. Never forget my job on the showroom of “ Schwartz furs creations”, mink, chinchilla Russian Savel, wuieiiiiii how sexchual is to feel that expensive fur on your skin, you have no Idea.

I lived on Riverside with a Jewish widow, in the second bedroom so the place was very small and you can hear everything you do, not much of privacy.

My niece Vera arrived alone she was 10 yr. At the airport I pick her up, mama came from Syracuse and we head a fantastic 2 days exploring N.Y. I show them N.Y. and of course central park , Empire State bld. etc. etc. etc. Pelagea Vasilivna went back two Syracuse and Vera stay with me i don’t remember for how long?, she went to worked with me, poor thing she behaved so good, just watch what I was doing and imitate me when we were back at our small room. Then Galina Fedorovna arrived and they went the 2 of them to Syracuse..

William came from Caracas to spend a weekend with me, but this little room did not worked for us, to well.

After he left, he left me 1000 dollars and said, please take it and do what you think is right. I took it and I decided to——————————-

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