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Last hurrah for Dai: The Seducer of the Valleys dies after riotous life of wine and women

Last hurrah for Dai: The Seducer of the Valleys dies after riotous life of wine and women

Someone once asked Dai Llewellyn if he did the lottery. ‘No, old boy,’ he drawled. ‘I have already won the lottery of life.’

And so it seemed. Born into a famous, titled family, unburdened by the need to work and with abundant charm and good looks he did indeed appear to be one of the world’s great winners.

The game he so much adored ended last night.

Bon viveur: Hard-drinking Sir Dai loved a party

Llewellyn with former fiance Claire de Jong in 1991

Llewellyn with former fiance Claire de Jong in 1991

Sir Dai, wracked by cancer, cirrhosis of the liver and anaemia, died in a Kent hospital where he had been receiving treatment for several weeks.

His death leaves a gap in London society that will be hard, if not impossible, to fill. Sir Dai was defined by a recklessness that belongs to another age.

He was 62, a child of the post-war era, but he lived like an Edwardian rake, strutting the boulevards with a wicked smile, never too far from another drink or a beautiful woman.

They were the delight of Sir Dai’s life and they earned him his enduring nickname, Seducer of the Valleys.

Sleep was a waste of time, he would say, unless you were doing it with a beautiful girl. And there were very many of them.

Sir Dai on his 61st birthday with his youngest daughter Arabella

Sir Dai on his 61st birthday with his youngest daughter Arabella

Sir Dai outside court in 1980, left, after receiving a speeding citation. He had just spent 24 hour4s celebrating the birth of his daughter. Right, during a shooting trip in 1986

Paul Callan, the journalist, recalled: ‘He told me about a hilarious episode of having three debs in a bed, each of whom he was happily servicing, while a Mexican band stood naked around the bed serenading them.’

In 2005 he slipped away with another man’s date to a discreet bedroom. Things were going well, Sir Dai said, until ‘the corner of the bed started to go’.

Then, he said: ‘We plunged through the floorboards and a wardrobe fell on top of us’.

Sir Dai told such stories with a gusto that was infectious. He would never get up in the morning planning to make love to three women, he would say, adding ‘but if it happened, it happened’.

Beatrice Welles, daughter of Orson Welles, was a conquest, as was Annegret Tree, one of London’s great beauties.

Dai Llewellyn

Reconciliation: With his brother Roddy, left, in November last year

Playboy: Sir Dai Llewellyn with actress Carole Ashby in 1999. ‘I gave the message that I loved everything about women,’ he once said

He married a niece of the former Duke of Norfolk, Vanessa. The marriage failed and they divorced, but remained close.

She was at his bedside last night with their daughters, Arabella, 24, a banker and Olivia, 28, an actress.

‘It was almost like a little party,’ said his friend Dragomir Devedlaka, who went to the hospital to say his last goodbye.

‘He lived more in six months than the majority live in their lifetime.’

His close friend Ingrid Seward, the widow of the Daily Mail journalist Ross Benson who had also helped care for Dai, was there too.

Almost until the end he was still relishing a glass of wine a day.

‘Doctors orders, old boy,’ he told well wishers.

With his then fiancee Cristel Jurgenson in 2006

As a young man, Sir Dai pursued a modelling career under the name David Savage.

Nicky Haslam, the interior designer and writer said: ‘When I first met Dai he was incredibly good-looking and well dressed. The girls fell for him like mad.’

Sir Dai assisted the process with relentless flattery and assiduous attention, but he always maintained that women loved a rascal, especially those who make them laugh.

But it didn’t work on one young beauty who, it is said, was the love of his life.

In the late Sixties he left Britain to try to make a success of his modelling career.

He had fallen in love with Lady Charlotte Anne Curzon and vowed to come back, a great success, so he could marry her. It never happened.

Life and soul: At a fancy dress party in 1979 and Sir Dai, then 61, salutes in a pink gingham dress at a Chinese New Year party

His modelling career flopped and when he arrived back in London, two years later, she had married someone else.

Sir Dai threw himself with even more enthusiasm into the life that came to characterise him: parties, drinking and seduction.

Some detected a Celtic self-destructive streak and he was indeed a child of the valleys.

He was born in Aberdare, South Wales, on 2 April 1946 the eldest son of Sir Harry Llewellyn, the third baronet.

He was brought up at Gobion Manor, near Abergavenny and went to Eton. He never succeeded in making a career and never had much money.

Taki Theodoracopulos, the Greek shipping heir, said: ‘He was always short, yet he always went first class. He didn’t have the kind of money other people had, but I never saw him as a hanger-on. He had his pride.’

One of the things he was proud of was his prodigious ability to consume alcohol, yet remain sober.

The playboy with his first love Lady Charlotte Anne Curzon

The playboy with his first love Lady Charlotte Anne Curzon

Dai Llewellyn

The proud father, then 34, with ex-wife Vanessa, 22, and new baby daughter Olivia

In an interview at the hospice last November he said he once drank eight bottles of wine, a bottle of rum, a bottle of port and a bottle of vodka in one night, yet in the morning he was perfectly lucid.

It was a tale that will pursue him to the grave.

So, too, will the famous story of his rift with his brother, Roddy, who now inherits the baronetcy.

Roddy had a much-publicised affair with the late Princess Margaret and he accused Sir Dai of revealing stories about the romance to journalists.

They didn’t speak for years, then as it became clear Sir Dai would not recover from his illness Roddy visited him at the hospice.

They lunched at a nearby pub and, to Sir Dai’s immense satisfaction, parted brothers again.

‘Blood,’ Sir Dai declared after the making-up, ‘is thicker than wine.’

Well, he should know.

Llewellyn in a merry mood in 1979

Life is for living: Llewellyn in a merry mood in 1979

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