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Former Madeleine Force Was Married to Col. Astor, W. K. Dick and Italian Boxer
Gave Up Fortune to Marry Again, Then Got Divorce to Wed Pugilist
PALM BEACH, Fla., Thursday, March 28 (AP)---The household of Mrs. Madeleine Force Astor Fiermonte stated early today that she was dead.

Mrs. Madeleine Force Astor Dick Fiermonte was married three times, and divorced twice.

Her first marriage to Colonel John Jacob Astor, head of the Astorfamily in this country, was of short duration, ending when he lost hislife in the Titanic disaster. Her second union, that with William K.Dick, member of a family whose fortune was made in the sugar refiningbusiness, terminated when she divorced him in Reno.

As a woman past 40 she made her third matrimonial venture, becoming thewife of Enzo Fiermonte, then Italian middleweight pugilist, many yearsher junior. Five years later she divorced him in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Mrs. Fiermonte first came into public notice when, as Miss MadeleineTalmage Force, her engagement to Colonel Astor was rumored. Some monthspreviously Colonel Astor had been divorced by his wife, Mrs. AvaWilling Astor, who subsequently was married to Lord Ribblesdale ofEngland.

Met Colonel Astor as Schoolgirl

Mrs. Fiermonte was a schoolgirl when she first met Colonel Astor at BarHarbor, Me. The next Winter she made her debut in society. As she andColonel Astor were often together at dances during that season, manyrumors arose coupling their names. The fact that Colonel Astor was oneof the richest men in the world, head of one of the most distinguishedfamilies in the city and recently divorced, and many years the seniorof this hitherto unknown and demure daughter of a New York merchantwith Brooklyn family antecedents, naturally caused comment and keensocial interest.

It was not until the late Summer of 1911 that their engagement wasannounced. The announcement was made by Miss Force's father, William H.Force, then head of the forwarding firm of W. H. Force & Co. at 78Front Street.

Colonel Astor's son Vincent was then about the age of his father'sfiancée, and his younger daughter, Alice, was still at school.

Colonel Astor and Miss Force were married on Sept. 9, 1911, atBeechwood, the Colonel's home in Newport, R. I., by the Rev. JosephLambert, pastor of the Elmwood Temple Congregational Church ofProvidence, R. I. By the terms of the decree obtained by ColonelAstor's first wife, he was not permitted to marry in this State exceptupon amendment of the decree. Just before the marriage it was reportedMiss Force signed away her dower rights in a nuptial agreement by whichColonel Astor settled on her the sum of $5,000,000, with furtherprovisions for her in his will.

In January, 1912, Colonel Astor and his bride went to Egypt, and ontheir return to England, several months later, took passage on theTitanic, bound for New York on her maiden voyage. Then came the greatdisaster that shocked and saddened the world, when, on the night ofApril 14, the big liner went down.

Colonel Astor was drowned. His body was recovered and buried in TrinityCemetery. His widow lived in the Astor mansion on Fifth Avenue untilafter her child was born, on Aug. 14, 1912. To his posthumous son, JohnJacob Astor 3d, a great-great-grandchild of the founder of the Astorfortune, was left a trust fund of $3,000,000 under his father's will.The widow was named as his legal guardian.

In 1918 Mrs. Astor relinquished that historic name and the bulk of herwidow's share in the Astor fortune, $5,000,000 as well as the right tooccupy the Astor mansion, to become the bride of William K. Dick, whichcaused another social stir.

Through this match there ran a thread of romance that dated from theearly childhood of the two. The friendship of Mr. Dick, son of Mr. andMrs. J. Henry Dick and grandson of William Dick, a pioneer sugarrefiner of Williamsburg, a section of Brooklyn, and his bride beganwhen they were children and the Force and Dick families resided inBrooklyn. He was wealthy in his own right, having inherited a portionof his fortune, about $3,000,000, from his grandfather, the sugarrefiner.

Married to Mr. Dick in Bar Habor [sic]

They were married on June 22, 1918, in Bar Harbor, Me. Among those atthe wedding was the young son of the bride, John Jacob Astor 3d.

After an apparently happy married life with her childhood playmate, bywhom she had two sons, Mrs. Dick caused another social sensation whenshe went to Reno, where an July 2l, 1933, she obtained her divorce. Hername was already linked with that of Enzo Fiermonte, the pugilist.

In September, 1933, she suffered a shoulder fracture when she slippedand fell on a highly polished floor in her home in Bermuda. In Novembershe returned to New York and was taken on her arrival here to theDoctors Hospital.

There, on Nov. 27, 1933, while recovering from her injury, she wasmarried to Mr. Fiermonte in a civil ceremony. Her third husband's agewas 26. Present at the ceremony were her three sons, John Jacob Astor3d and William and John H. Dick. The last two Mr. Fiermonte had taughtto box.

In March, 1934, she relinquished her claim on her former husband,William K. Dick, to all her right of dower, in much the same manner asshe had relinquished an income from $300,000 and other pecuniarybenefits in her first husband's estate.

After five years of married life with the Italian pugilist, which wasmarked by frequent reports of estrangement and reconciliation, Mrs.Fiermonte received a decree of divorce on June 11, 1938, in West PalmBeach, Fla., on grounds of extreme cruelty.

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Related Biographies:

John Jacob Astor
Madeleine Talmage Astor

Relates to Place:


Mark Baber


Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) MRS. FIERMONTE DEAD IN FLORIDA (New York Times, Friday 29th March 1940, ref: #3259, published 27 July 2004, generated 3rd August 2021 04:28:59 PM); URL :