Thelma Furness
American actor
Thelma Furness
Thelma, Viscountess Furness, born Thelma Morgan, was a mistress of King Edward VIII, who later became the Duke of Windsor, she preceded Wallis Simpson in the affections of him. Her first name was pronounced in Spanish fashion as "TEL-ma. " Her niece is fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt.
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  • 1970
    Age 65
    Lady Furness died in New York City on 29 January 1970.
    More Details Hide Details As her niece, Gloria Vanderbilt, recalled, "She dropped dead on Seventy-third and Lexington on her way to see the doctor. In her bag was this miniature teddy bear that the Prince of Wales had given her, years before, when she came to be with my mother at the custody trial, and it was worn down to the nub". She was buried next to her twin sister, Gloria, in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.
  • 1934
    Age 29
    Reacting to the Prince's coldness later that year she threw herself into a short-lived affair with Prince Aly Khan. although she had openly flirted with Prince Aly Khan during her voyage back to the UK in March 1934 which was reported to the Prince of Wales and widely reported in British and American press including the social gossip magazine of the day, Tatler.
    More Details Hide Details For a very brief time, she was a motion picture producer and actress, after founding Thelma Morgan Pictures at the age of 17 in 1923. As she told Time magazine, "I am incorporating the Thelma Morgan Pictures, Inc., with $100,000 capital and will produce big, sane, and sound 'specials.' I will be my own star. Hitherto, my chief experience has been in Junior League shows." Her first starring role, in 1923, was the lead in a film Aphrodite, produced by her own company and filmed at Vitagraph Studios. She described her leading role in Aphrodite to The New York Times as that of "an American girl, brought up under the sinister influence of an old Egyptian woman." She also had small parts in the films Enemies of Women (1923), a William Randolph Hearst production whose cast included Lionel Barrymore and Clara Bow, So This Is Marriage? (1924), and Any Woman (1925).
  • 1931
    Age 26
    On 10 January 1931 at her country house Burrough Court, near Melton Mowbray, she introduced the Prince to her close friend Wallis Simpson and, while visiting her sister Gloria in America between January and March 1934, she was supplanted in the Prince's affection by Simpson.
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  • 1930
    Age 25
    On the Prince's return to England in April 1930 she was his regular weekend companion at the newly acquired Fort Belvedere until January 1934.
    More Details Hide Details She also entertained the Prince at her London home, in Elsworthy Road, Primrose Hill, and the Furness country house, Burrough Court, in Leicestershire.
    The Prince asked her to dine and they met regularly until she joined the Prince on safari in East Africa early in 1930, when a closer relationship developed.
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  • 1927
    Age 22
    Married in 1893, they were divorced in 1927.
    More Details Hide Details Her maternal grandfather was a Union general, Hugh Judson Kilpatrick (1836–1881), who was also U.S. minister to Chile, and through her maternal grandmother Luisa Fernandez de Valdivieso, who was a niece of Crescente Errázuriz Valdivieso, Archbishop of Santiago, she reportedly was a descendant of Spain's Royal House of Navarre. Thelma Morgan had two sisters: Gloria (her identical twin, the mother of Gloria Vanderbilt, the fashion designer and artist and mother of news anchor Anderson Cooper) and Laura Consuelo Morgan (aka Tamar), who was married to Count Jean de Maupas du Juglart (a French nobleman), to Benjamin Thaw, Jr. of Pittsburgh, and to Alfons B. Landa, president of Colonial Airlines and vice-chairman of the finance committee of the Democratic National Committee in 1948. She also had a brother, Harry Hays Morgan, Jr., who became a diplomat and then a minor Hollywood actor in such films as Abie's Irish Rose (1946), Joan of Arc (1948), and others. Her half-siblings, from her father's first marriage to Mary E. Edgerton, were Constance (1887–1892) and Gladys "Margaret" Morgan (1889–1958).
  • 1926
    Age 21
    Lady Furness first met the Prince of Wales at a ball at Londonderry House in 1926 but they did not meet again until the Leicestershire Agricultural Show at Leicester on 14 June 1929.
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    They were married on 27 June 1926, and divorced in 1933 They had one son, William Anthony Furness, 2nd Viscount Furness, and as the former wife of a British nobleman she was known as Thelma, Viscountess Furness.
    More Details Hide Details By this marriage she also had a stepson, Hon. Christopher Furness, and a stepdaughter, Hon. Averill Furness.
  • 1922
    Age 17
    Her first husband was James Vail Converse, a grandson of Theodore N. Vail, former president of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T). They were married in Washington, D.C., on 16 February 1922 when she was 17 years old; Converse was about a decade older and had been married before. They divorced in Los Angeles, California, on 10 April 1925.
    More Details Hide Details By this marriage she had one stepson, James Vail Converse, Jr. (born 18 January 1918), her husband's son from his first marriage to Nadine Melbourne. After the divorce, Thelma Morgan Converse was rumored to be engaged to the American actor Richard Bennett, the matinée-idol father of Hollywood film stars Constance Bennett, Joan Bennett, and Barbara Bennett (the third was the mother of talk-show host Morton Downey, Jr.). Her second husband was Marmaduke Furness, 1st Viscount Furness (1883–1940), the chairman of Furness Shipping Company. She was his second wife.
  • 1904
    Born on August 23, 1904.
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