HAROLD ROBBINS, CANNES, SOUTH FRANCE, JULY, 1972
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David Steen: “I’d been in Cannes photographing Harold (The Carpetbaggers) Robbins and he invited me to join his guests – including Soraya Khashoggi – on his motor yacht. We speeded off heading up the coast to lunch in Monte Carlo, closely followed by a smaller boat carrying Soraya’s three bodyguards. We dropped anchor a short distance out to sea and I dived overboard to swim. As I came up our host was shaking his head disapprovingly. ‘You shouldn’t have done that,’ he said. ‘Nobody swims off this coast. Turn around and take a look.’ I did. I saw, or rather what I didn’t see, was the coastline. It was obliterated by thick mist. Only this wasn’t mist it was smog. ‘It’s pollution,’ he said…’Now look down.’ The water was foul. Waste everywhere. ‘Their sewage is a scandal,’ he said, ‘this is the dirtiest place in the Mediterranean.’
Harold Robbins (May 21, 1916 – October 14, 1997) was one of the best-selling American authors of all time. During his career, he wrote over 25 best-sellers, selling over 750 million copies in 32 languages.
Born as Harold Rubin in New York City, he later claimed to be a Jewish orphan who had been raised in a Catholic boys home. In reality he was the son of well-educated Russian and Polish immigrants. He was reared by his pharmacist father and stepmother in Brooklyn. His first wife was his high school sweetheart.