Frederick McEvoy

Frederick Joseph McEvoy (12 February 1907 – 7 November 1951) was an Australian born British multi-discipline sportsman and socialite. He had most sporting success as a bobsledder in the late 1930s, winning several medals including three golds at the FIBT World Championships. He married three wealthy heiresses and was a close friend of Errol Flynn. He usually shortened his name to Freddie McEvoy and was nicknamed "Suicide Freddie".

Frederick McEvoy
Frederick Joseph McEvoy

(1907-02-12)12 February 1907
Died7 November 1951(1951-11-07) (aged 44)
Off the coast of Morocco
OccupationBobsledder, racing driver, socialite
Beatrice Cartwright
(m. 1940⁠–⁠1942)
Irene Wrightsman
(m. 1942⁠–⁠1944)
Claude Stephanie Filatre
(m. 1949⁠–⁠1951)
(his death)
Frederick McEvoy
Medal record
Representing  Great Britain
Men's Bobsleigh
Olympic Games
Bronze medal – third place 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Four-man
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1937 Cortina d'Ampezzo Two-man
Gold medal – first place 1937 St. Moritz Four-man
Gold medal – first place 1938 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Four-man
Silver medal – second place 1938 St. Moritz Two-man
Silver medal – second place 1939 Cortina d'Ampezzo Four-man

Sporting achievementsEdit


McEvoy was the British flag bearer at the 1936 Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.[1] He was the first Australian to win a Winter Olympics medal.[2]

He was part of the four-man bobsleigh team alongside James Cardno, Gary Dugdale, and Charles Green who won the bronze medal in the four-man event.[3][4] He also finished fourth in the two-man event with Cardno.[5][6]

At the FIBT World Championships in 1937 he realised greater success in the sport. Partnering Byran Black for the two-man at Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy he achieved his first gold medal. He teamed up with Black, Olympic team-mate Charles Green, and David Looker in the four-man, again winning the gold medal.[7][8]

At the same event in 1938 three of the four-man riders returned to defend their title. Chris MacKintosh replaced Byran Black and the team once again won the gold medal. In the two-man race Charles Green partnered McEvoy and the pair won the silver medal. Both men partnered again the following year and, alongside two new team-mates, won silver in the four-man event at Cortina d'Ampezzo.[7][8]

Motor racingEdit

McEvoy came sixth in the 1936 Vanderbilt Cup, racing a Maserati along the 300-mile course "considered by European road veterans to be probably the most severe test for man and car in the world".[9][10] That same year he entered eight European races, usually driving a Maserati 6CM,[11] with his best result of fourth place at both the XII Picardie on 21 June and the XII Coppa Acerbo on 15 August.[12][13]

Other activitiesEdit

In 1943, McEvoy lived in Hollywood and was able to make uncredited appearances in two films. The first was in Thank Your Lucky Stars a scene starring good friend Errol Flynn in his only musical number.[14] McEvoy's only other appearance was in The Desert Song, directed by Robert Florey.[15]

There have been claims that McEvoy was an antisemite who covertly worked for the Third Reich.[16] The FBI, who had him under surveillance along with several of his friends and associates, described him as "an international pimp who is interested in his own well-being and probably not engaged in activities detrimental to the interests of the country."[17]

Throughout 1944, McEvoy was believed to have smuggled guns, valuable jewellery, and alcohol from Mexico City to Beverly Hills.[5]

McEvoy is said to have sold the shirt off his back for $2000 to an Argentine millionaire, "launch[ing] the fashion of flowered shirts for men".[18]

Personal lifeEdit

McEvoy was born in St Kilda, Victoria, Australia on 12 February 1907,[5] the son of New Zealand-born Violet Healy and Melbourne native Frederick Aloysius McEvoy.[19] After the death of his father the family moved to England early in his life. McEvoy was given the nickname of "Suicide Freddie" because of his love of danger both in life and in sport.[18][20][21] He was a rival of fellow racing driver and playboy Porfirio Rubirosa.[21]

Marriage and relationshipsEdit

McEvoy was described by newspapers as an "internationally known Australian playboy" and a "popular, handsome, heiress hunter".[22][23] McEvoy considered himself, along with Rubirosa, the "Playboy of the Western World" and was rumoured to be very well endowed which may have been part of the allure to his female conquests.[24]

McEvoy was married several times, taking his first wife in 1940. Beatrice Cartwright, a member of the Pratt family and heir to a fortune from Standard Oil, was twice his age and had lived with McEvoy for several years before their marriage.[5] The union did not last, and in 1942 Cartwright accused McEvoy of being unfaithful with "three well-known society women".[25] The divorce was granted on the grounds of misconduct. McEvoy was not present for the decision as he was embroiled in a statutory rape case that had been opened against close friend Errol Flynn.[26] 17-year-old Betty Hansen had accused Flynn of committing the offence during a party at McEvoy's Bel Air home, but McEvoy continued to publicly defend Flynn.[25]

In February 1943,[19] McEvoy married Irene Margaret Wrightsman, the daughter of Charles B. Wrightsman,[19] the president of Standard Oil of Kansas. Wrightsman was 18 at the time of their wedding, nearly half his age. Wrightsman was disinherited by her father after she eloped and the marriage lasted just two years.[5][23]

In 1945 he met Barbara Hutton,[5] another wealthy heiress who had just divorced third husband Cary Grant. Hutton was warned to stay away from McEvoy by friends and relatives and they assumed that the pair would marry as soon as he "legally divorces penniless Irene".[23] The couple were never wed, though Hutton bought a chalet at a ski resort in Franconia, New Hampshire and they lived together for a time. Hutton married again in 1947 and she remained friends with McEvoy who went on to marry Claude Stephanie Filatre, a French fashion model, in 1949.[5]

Errol Flynn married Patrice Wymore at a ceremony in Monte Carlo in 1950 with McEvoy as his best man and Filatre as the matron of honour.[27] At the time McEvoy was said to have been living in Cannes aboard his schooner Black Joke.[28]


McEvoy, his wife, and several others were sailing from Tangier to the Bahamas on his 104-ton schooner,[18] Kangaroo, on 7 November 1951. Just off the coast of Morocco a storm wrecked the ship and McEvoy swam to shore to look for help, leaving Claude Stephanie afloat on the mast. He was unable to find any assistance and returned to his wife. The pair tried to swim back to land but the waves were too strong. Their bodies and those of four others were discovered the following day.[5] One of the three survivors gave the name of Walter Praxmarer but was identified as Manfred Lenther, an Austrian man charged with murdering a woman in Berlin in 1945.[29]


  1. ^ Great Britain Archived 28 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Olympics at Sports Reference LLC; accessed 26 October 2011.
  2. ^ Yatman, Robert Upe, with Brian (24 February 2018). "The wild life and death of Freddie McEvoy, Australia's first Winter Olympian". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  3. ^ Frederick McEvoy Archived 16 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 26 October 2011.
  4. ^ Olympic Games – Men: 4-Man. Sports 123. Accessed 26 October 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Freddie McEvoy Biography and Olympic Results Archived 31 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Sports Reference LLC; accessed 26 October 2011.
  6. ^ Krastev, Todor. Bobsleigh Doubles Olympic Games 1936 Garmish-Partenkirchen (GER); accessed 26 October 2011.
  7. ^ a b World Championships – Men: 4-Man Archived 11 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Sports 123; accessed 26 October 2011.
  8. ^ a b World Championships – Men: 2-Man Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Sports 123; accessed 26 October 2011.
  9. ^ George Vanderbilt Cup Races 1936-7. Accessed 26 October 2011.
  10. ^ Motor Car Racing, American Contest, The Vanderbilt Cup. Western Argus. 20 October 1936. Accessed 26 October 2011.
  11. ^ OVERALL RESULTS – Frederick McEvoy. Racing Database. Accessed 26 October 2011.
  12. ^ 1936 Part 3 XII GP DE PICARDIE. Golden Era of Grand Prix Racing. Accessed 26 October 2011.
  13. ^ 1936 Part 5 XII° COPPA ACERBO. Golden Era of Grand Prix Racing. Accessed 26 October 2011.
  14. ^ Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943) – Full cast and crew. Internet Movie Database. Accessed 26 October 2011.
  15. ^ The Desert Song (1943) – Full cast and crew. Internet Movie Database. Accessed 26 October 2011.
  16. ^ Higham, Charles. The Missing Errol Flynn File. New Statesman. 17 April 2000. Accessed 26 October 2011.
  17. ^ McNulty, Thomas. Errol Flynn: the life and career. McFarland. 2004. p.168.
  18. ^ a b c MOROCCO: Death of a Playboy. TIME. 19 November 1951 (23 June 2011 excerpt). Accessed 26 October 2011.
  19. ^ a b c "Frederick James Mc Evoy and Irene Margaret Wrightsman". California, County Marriages, 1850–1952. FamilySearch. 11 February 1943. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  20. ^ Gordon, Harry. The time of our lives: inside the Sydney Olympics : Australia and the Olympic Games 1994–2002. Univ. of Queensland Press. 2003. p.271. Accessed 26 October 2011.
  21. ^ a b FREDDIE McEVOY – NO ERA UN SÍMBOLO (in Spanish) (Freddie McEvoy – was not a symbol). Accessed 26 October 2011.
  22. ^ Freddy McEvoy was playboy. The Argus. 7 March 1954. Accessed 26 October 2011.
  23. ^ a b c Woolworth Heiress May Marry Austn.. The Courier-Mail. 13 April 1946. Accessed 26 October 2011.
  24. ^ "J. Edgar Hoover & Clyde Tolson: Investigating the Sexual Secrets of America's Most Famous Men and Women". Retrieved 2 September 2012.
  25. ^ a b Flynn's Host Sued For Divorce. The Advertiser. 28 October 1942. Accessed 26 October 2011.
  26. ^ Oil Heiress Granted Divorce. The Morning Bulletin. 30 October 1942. Accessed 26 October 2011.
  27. ^ Flynn Weds Starlet In Monte Carlo. The Sydney Morning Herald. 24 October 1950. Accessed 26 October 2011.
  28. ^ Sydney Man To Be Best Man For Errol Flynn. The Sydney Morning Herald. 20 October 1950. Accessed 26 October 2011.
  29. ^ Strange Twist To Shipwreck Tragedy. The Sydney Morning Herald. 14 November 1951. Accessed 26 October 2011.

External linksEdit