Who was May Yohe?
Who's That Alluring Lady
Who Shines So Radiantly?
“Madcap May” Yohe was undeniably one of the most-famous stars of the 1890s. She was also the most scandalous of them all. (Think of her as her era’s Kim Kardashian, but with talent.)
Her celebrity, immense wealth (she owned the Hope Diamond), and penchant for grabbing headlines and husbands were legendary in her day, although she is now largely forgotten.
The Men...many, many men!
The Deans of Broadway Stages
And Scandal Pages Agree
How many times was May wed? Was it three? Or six? Or twelve? Nobody knows for sure--perhaps May herself even lost count. But a partial list of the men she wedded (or bedded) reads like a veritable who's who of society's elite: An English Lord, A ne'er-do-well son of the former mayor of New York, A Massachusetts Senator, A British war hero, Boxer Jack McAuliffe, Actors, Businessmen, Musicians...
The Triumphs! The Scandals!
That Blitz of Glitz and Glamor
Who Lives Life Amorously?
With a striking face and figure--plus a voice that was alternately described as that of an angel and a foghorn--she took two continents by storm. May's career was like a yo-yo, however, and she eventually found herself going from being the top-paid headliner of her day, to touring in the lowest rate vaudeville.
All the while, the oft-married (or co-mingled) star amassed a first rate list of scandals, including: Being accused of shooting one of her husbands, being the defendant in multiple maternity cases, escaping from an insane asylum, faking her own suicide, being accused of having her own jewels "stolen" by one of her paramours, and more.
When her star faded, she worked as an innkeeper, a chicken farmer, and a charwoman. Late in life, she faced-off with the Government to regain her unwittingly relinquished U.S. Citizenship.
The Hope Diamond...
There's Only One
Who's Known As "Madcap!"
As Lady Francis Hope, May owned and wore The Hope Diamond...or did she? As the jewel's legend grew, so did May's stories about how its curse had negatively impacted her destiny. Late in life, she even wrote and appeared in a silent movie (the only known footage of her) about the gem's supposed curse.