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Maestro Aldemaro Romero creator of Onda Nueva and Ludmila the night of the opening of the concert

Maestro Aldemaro Romero creator of Onda Nueva and Ludmila the night of the opening of the concert

After all, everything has to come to an end, and we finally came to the end of this fantastic festival with an invitación from the president of Venezuela to the presidential balcony at the Hipodromo National de Venezuela! This very famous horse race party  featured champagne, formal dress and society galore.
Now the party is over my friend, time to go back home to LA.

Of course we had to celebrate some more for the ones that could not come for some reason or another, so we gave this party on Halloween night. It took us a couple of months to recover, but we invited all the LA people that were at the festival and the ones that did not go. By that time Rona had moved here with her entourage, after her terrible accident jumping in an empty pool.
Of course, she must have been smoking some funny cigarettes and drinking too much with her friends, not to see that there was no water in the pool! As I said before, it must have been a dark night– well, that was not a good party for her. She recovered but was paralyzed from the waist down.

At this particular Halloween party, when David Carradine arrived he went straight to my rose bushes and peed in front of the other guests as they arrived in our circular drive! His brother Keith was in the pool, humming and composing a love song as he swam in the warm water (that’s how we liked it, hot!). Jim Maddox, our partner in filming the Onda Nueva Festival, arrived alone in his BMW sports car. He had eyes for me, and in some strange but pleasant way I liked him too. He was not very tall, but he had sensual lips and a warm smile, with eyes like mine, honey colored.
Eyes that said “I love you” all the time whenever he looked at me, but of course he wanted to party with me alone- he never participated in the group lovemaking “therapy” as he called it. His gentleness was warm and protective. But one evening, at a private dinner in our home with him and other couple, he turned me on to PCP or something. It was some new drug that the flower children came up with, kind of like the psilocybin mushrooms.

Telly Savalas brother being a Vampire

Telly Savalas brother being a Vampire

Rona arrived early, “before the therapy party” jajaja, and we had a blast of a time. She was fun to talk to, a good sense of humor and diplomatic (no wonder she became a senator). After family and special guests left, we had a couple of men stay and we had lots of fun in front the indoor fire place on the floor, then on top of the roof!

The festival of Onda Nueva! The music became so famous that it was played for years to come until Aldemaro Romero the great artist became ill and couple years later he passed away.

Jim Maddox looking at Ludmila

Jim Maddox looking at Ludmila

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Ludmilas husband Jack Millman famous jazz trumpet player

Ludmila`s husband, the famous jazz trumpeter Jack Millman

Before the great New York blackout, I was working as a model for Oleg Cassini, a very famous designer of royal blood. He was the wardrobe designer for First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, the wife of President J. F. Kennedy. Cassini hired me for a big show, but said before the show (two days away!), “You cannot eat, you can only have 3 glasses of Metrecal a day!”, At 115 pounds, I was the skinniest I had ever been as a model, but in the 1960s you could never be too thin!

By now my love for William was fading,  into a memory of a beautiful painful dream, and for obvious reasons I tried not to think of him any more. But I couldn’t help hearing the music from “My Fair Lady” music, or “South Pacific” or “Gigi”– all those musicals that we went to together. Their soundtracks were famous and they were playing everywhere; the tunes haunted me and tears would roll down my cheeks with a discreet silence I wept  and kept on going, on to more dreams and the life that is await ahead! I still had so much to go through, but deep inside there a small torch of hope is  still burning for him: one day maybe one day………?

While I was married to Tom, he went to Las Vegas with some friends and Bud had come by my house. The nosy neighbors had said to U.S. immigration investigators that I had a man visitor, and his car was there overnight. This was the report that the nice neighbors gave to the immigration officers! True or not, it did not matter, that was the way it was back in those days! True, when Tommy was still alive Bud came by several times and left me his car. Tom was off in Vegas doing his thing, but after he died I went ahead with my immigration application, and they sat me down and ask if I had committed any crimes while in this country?

Ludmila on the magazine cover, advertising for the Hotel Tropicana,  Las Vegas

Ludmila on the magazine cover, advertising for the Hotel Tropicana, Las Vegas

This was the day for my swearing in to become a U.S. citizen, and I was thinking  of the stuff that had happened in Florida, so I said, “Well I was arrested in Miami for driving intoxicated with no license…”  They said “We know all about that! What else?”  We are talking 1965, when there were no computers like today. What did they think?  I couldn’t think of anything more to say, then the man said, “What about being an adulteress on Kings Road?”. I almost fell out of my chair!  What?  “You’re married and had men visitors in your home, so that makes your an adulteress. You have to prove to the contrary!” I explained that Bud was a friend who left his Cadillac overnight while we flew to Las Vegas to do a layout for a magazine of his clothes. “So he slept overnight in your home, that’s what the neighbors said! You  were with another man and been seen with him a lot, while you husband was not home with you!”.– Oh my Lord, I could only say nada! “So I cannot become a US citizen?” “No, not until you’re proven guilty or innocent or you prove what you are saying is true.”

So I was denied citizenship the first time I applied. Nothing could stop the party, though!  It was the 1960s, and I was living it up and doing everything I wanted. Life was full of surprises and crazy, wonderful times. The flower children were parading under my balcony in Sunset Strip.. Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Club was on the other side of the street– I could see the whole building from my balcony. The Beatles were on television and the radio, psychedelic sitar where the prefer music of the hippies was playing everywhere, Bob Dylan was in the news with the song that was forbidden in some countries “Lay Lady Lay.”  It was the best of times…

I met jazz trumpeter Jack  and we went to a movie premier together. (That’s another story that will be in my book!).
To celebrate my birthday  we went to Disneyland in full high class formal attire, and in my big modeling bag I head on, on dry ice, 2 bottles of Dom Perignon champagne and a small bag of cocaine. We wanted to have fun at night riding the rides and then sit on the beautiful gazebo in front of the stage, where Louis Armstrong was playing his great trumpet. Jack told me that when he played the last time, he had reached the highest notes that were possible for him, and that was the end of his trumpet playing days! After that he threw his trumpet from a cliff in Malibu into the Ocean and never played again.  He told me this in this gorgeous setting full of the smell of roses and  under the California sky full of stars, in that time this place was sairaudet by orange grows so the skies were clean and very little pollution.. That was the type of  quality time, that Jack and I had together, besides going to red carpet openings of new films and hot nightclubs and lots of private parties….

One night we were invited to Hugh Hefner’s party, so we dressed up to the nines and went across the street to the Playboy Building. The Bunny Club was on the first floor; up on the top floor was Hugh’s living quarters, until his Playboy mansion was built. His Penthouse was very private: no one without an invitation would be able to go up to his top floor. When we arrived at the club, there were bunnies everywhere serving drinks, and pictures of his black playboy jet were hung on every wall. Apparently it was a flying orgy club! Marisa, a very cute Bunnie, was his lover at that time. A waitress bunny asked what I wanted, and  I simply said “Coca!” in Spanish, wanting to get high. She came back with a tray and a glass of Pepsi! “Mr. Hefner only serves Pepsi!”: Jack and I laughed and looked at each other: “It most have been the loud music obviously that’s why you didn’t hear me well.” But we ignored her and the soft drinks, because at that moment everybody was heading in to see Hugh on a round rotating bed, fornicating with Marisa! Everybody was watching them and some even started undressing and jumping into the action! After a few minutes I said to Jack “You’re welcome to stay, but I am going home.”

I was not so much into sex, I was more into love. :Love me, caress me, cherish me, accept me–  that was what I was hungry for!

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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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“Nina Blanchard’s” favorite models, me standing above her

This was at the end of 1960. In Caracas, everything had look so promising with William and me. We had wonderful time going dancing, celebrating the holidays, and of course living it up with alcohol and cocaine. It all seemed so inoffensive back then. But one night, before we went out to the Key Club, he told me he wanted to stop so I could meet this French lady. He said they had a business relationship, but of course they spoke French so I was in the dark. Her place looked like Gigi’s aunts place; I thought she was a prostitute or maybe a madame, because she looked so much older than I and so made up.. They went into a room, closed the door, and when he came out I felt sure this was where he got the cocaine for that night. Taking the coke back to the US was dangerous, even then, but it was so easy just to carry it in your pocket or purse. No problems! At least, I did not yet know the consequences of such acts, and unless you were a suspect the customs did not search you then like they do today.

On the other hand it is more difficult for me to describe my love for Oscar. Our romance was different, so innocent and full of outdoor life- polo, scuba diving, fishing, wine with dinners. It was so romantic and charming, the very different and rich old money world! Oscar was a young generation of that time, a Venezuelan men of European ancestry, but Oscar was the good boy, and William was the bad one, crazy and adventurous. Each one could be a romantic novel or film by itself, and in my crazy young mind I was not being bad or immoral. Since I was not married to anyone, it was all very simple and justifiable.

From Caracas William and I flew together to Miami, in first class with real napkins and crystal goblets. Even the water glass was crystal, and there was a real menu and washcloths with perfumed, or cologne on the napkins. After dinner again they served a clean hot perfumed bowl with floating flower and a piece of lemon to clean your hands. In the bathroom were cologne, perfume and all kinds of pretty things. We were talking about how things had changed in N.Y. and especially in California in the last few years. I remember when I first sat on a bus they were no black people allowed to sit up front, they all sat in the back. I have read a little history about slavery and that really made me sad, that people could treat other people like that, but I was not into politics nor I was so unselfish as too feel too busy to spend my time for any one. I did not think I could save the world – I only was interested in me, myself and I.

At our arrival at the Miami terminal, William alter picked up his new Mercedes Benz convertible sports car, which was already there awaiting for us. I’ve never understood why Jewish people would buy German cars– Hitler and the Nazis were German weren’t they? William was a French Jew and said he had been in the French Legion in World War II, spying for the French– so he said. He also told me a story that one time he was briefly taken prisoner and the Nazis were going to bury him alive, until he fooled them by screaming in perfect German that they were idiots, burying one of their own people, and that he was an important counterspy! So why a M. B.?

There was something dark and mysterious about him, and I was so naive or ignorant about things that I never went any deeper than loving him and enjoying life with him. So I didn’t dig any deeper , honestly I was not interested on his past. We drove the car up to New York together and then he shipped the car west and he flew to San Francisco. So I went back to Hollywood where Daud was awaiting me. Mama told me that he even spent couple of nights on our sofa! I forget the reason why- maybe he did not know when I was coming back?

Now I was back in Tinseltown and seriously had to look for an agent.

One lucky morning, after Gala went to work, my niece went to the school across the street and mama went to see some Russian lady friend for a job. I went off to see an agent by the name of Nina Blanchard, in a little one room office on Sunset Strip. She was just getting started and was planning to expand her operation on Sunset Blvd, since already she had one of the most famous models in the world signed with her. A few years later her supermodel died of drug and alcohol abuse, but I did not know that she was using at that time, she was so very beautiful but totally wasted her life, little I knew then that is where I was headed two…….

I walked in and Nina was right there. She just said sign here and tell the secretary to take your measurements and give all your information. Then she sent me to some photographers to take some different test shots. She did not want to change my look or cut my hair –nada , nothing, she liked me just as I was!

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Dancing Flamenco in Seville

Dancing Flamenco in Seville

From London, we went on to Germany where William pick up a Mercedes Benz that he had ordered; they delivered it to our hotel door in Frankfurt! It had a sunroof, four doors and was jet black. I never did care too much about cars. so I didn’t know the price, nor did I care to know! After we came back from the teatro, there in our room were two very sexy women.  To hear the rest you will have to buy the book!

From Frankfurt we drove on to  go skiing on high mountain on the  German Alps, where you could see five mountain peaks from the top of one of the tallest mountains in Europe. After that we went back to  Munich, where William arranged to ship the car over to Venezuela; we proceeded  by train to France. In Paris we stayed at an old fashioned Hotel, almost a private house. I guess  it was what we call today a Boutique hotel. Of course we had dinner on top of the Eiffel tower, then went to the Lido in the heart of Paris. Next day it was the Louvre and it was then I decided that I was not going back with William to Venezuela after all. I wanted to stay in Europe, go to Madrid for a job offer with a designer Rosina, and this was my big chance!

So I left Paris, arriving very early in the morning. I didn’t know where to go or where to stay, but I found a  motel thanks to the pilot of the plane. In those days you could talk to them on the flight. We went from the airport for breakfast, but nada de nada was open until ten in the morning. Then I found Rosina famous Creations boutique, and I went in . I was I was hired on the spot to work almost immediately!   Somebody said “put this dress on please, and call Africa (another house model) to help me out. Well, they hired me to go on a tour all over Spain, real High Fashion runway shows. We traveled through Leon, Castilla la Vieja , Cordoba, Seville  where I dance the night away learning Flamengo on the caves of the gypsies.   Back to Madrid, Africa and I became begin two know each other, she took me everywhere  for Tapas and aperitifs on the outdoors cafes,  under the cinzano umbrellas where Hemingway and Picasso and other fabulous artists had been.

One day Africa had a surprise for me! By now we were very good friends and she knew about my dreams and disappointments. We went to this fantastic bar where all the movie stars went — Carmen Sevilla, Sarita Montiel– and as we had our drinks in our hands, in walks Jorge Mistral himself! I almost fell off the bar stool, so Africa’s boy friend Manolo introduced us. Jorge took my hand and didn’t let go, plastering i n it  long passionate kiss on my hand,  my dear. I was 18yrs. then, but when I was in boarding school at  age of 13 or  I had dreamed of him. Now here he was, en carne y huesos,  right in front of me. I was shivering with anticipation, to hear him speak, his voice was so sexy, at the same soft and full of life.

So we all had lots of drinks and lots of fun then when we were leaving he invites every one of his friends in the bar to go for Easter weekend, which was the following weekend to his home in Alicante , especially instructing Africa and her boyfriend Manolo to make sure to bring me. He had to finish shooting a film before Easter, so we depart with  an until then.

Little did I know at that time that his girlfriend Carmen Sevilla would be furious with me, since he did not go with her and stayed with me in Alicante the whole weekend. At night when the quest live us alone, we lay on the carpet and listened to his voice recordings, the poems of love by Garcia Lorca and many others famous poets. It  seems  strange that he went to the bathroom so many times,  he never mentioned or offer me any  drugs, I  presume he was on coke all the night we  just talking and just enjoying being together,, the cocaine which it was not necessary for me, I was on cloud 9 (even if I tried it with William already) just being there with him was enough, I was still very gullible and did not understand what addiction was..

Working in Spain was fantastic: dancing in the flamenco caves, drinking in taverns and listening to the gypsies sing and play. People would ask me, “Where are your from? Russia, ( soy Rusa, no andaluza, de Andalucía)   The two sounded similar, and in some ways they were not wrong. I felt like a gypsy ……….

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