Remembering Brooklyn’s Greatest Con Man

Pictured left, before ripping off an Algerian princess for $10,000.
Pictured left, before ripping off the princess of Afghanistan for $10,000.

If you’ve never plunged feet first into a rabbit hole researching the epic Brooklyn-born con man Stanley Clifford Weyman, let today be the day. Ephemeral New York has a nice little retrospective on Weyman, but no need to stop there.

His Wikipedia page is a real treat, as is this 1968 New Yorker article about him, “Annals of Imposture,” which describes him as “a man who, unwilling or unable to remain an obscure citizen of Brooklyn, became many men in the course of a long career of being people other than himself.” Those people include but are not limited to a U.S. Counsel representative to Morocco, the Romanian Counsel General, a state department official that promised the princess of Afghanistan a meeting with President Harding in exchange for $10,000, the personal physician and faith healer to Rudolph Valentino’s former lover, and later, the head of a school instructing young men how to feign mental problems to dodge the draft during World War II. He was arrested numerous times over the course of his career and later shot to death trying to intervene in a robbery taking place in the hotel he worked at in Yonkers. If someone hasn’t already green-lit a movie about this guy, well, now’s as good a time as any.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.


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