German playboy Gunter Sachs committed suicide at his chalet in Gstaad aged 78. He was a scion of the Opel motor dynasty, European bobsleigh champion 1958 and the third husband of Brigitte Bardot.
Sachs first met Brigitte Bardot at San Tropez in 1966. She was drinking champagne with friends in a bar when she spotted the handsome German with striking blue eyes: “I thought he was magnificent,” she recalled. “I was hypnotised… he had the same Rolls as me! The same model, the same colour. In fact, the same everything!” The next day Sachs paid for a helicopter to fly over her Cote d’Azur home, La Madrague, showering it with thousands of red roses. The couple were married for a tempestuous three years, drifting apart after Bardot had an affair with Serge Gainsbourg. Sachs introduced Bardot to his influential chums, who included Edward Kennedy, Salvador Dali, Guy and Marie-Hélène de Rothschild and Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco.
Sachs always denied being a Lothario: “Playboy, moi? I would rather call myself a gentleman”, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. By the late 1950s he was a popular figure on the Riviera, where he was known for his enjoyment of dressing up and his generosity to friends. He loved gambling, and would routinely lose up to 160m old francs (around £300,000 in today’s money) in one night at the tables. From 1969 until his death, Sachs was chairman of the St Moritz Bobsleigh Club. Turn 13 of the St Moritz-Celerina Olympic Bobrun is named in his honour.
Sachs was fascinated by astrology, and in 1997 published The Astrology File: Scientific Proof of the Link Between Star Signs and Human Behaviour, the result of years of research carried out at his astrological institute. He claimed to have found significant connections between star signs and individual lives “way beyond what is explicable through mere coincidence”. Sachs explained in his suicide note that he had shot himself because of what he defined as “no hope illness A”, which is thought to have been Alzheimer’s.