Who was Lord Lucan?
He was a British aristocrat, born not only wealthy but also with all the right connections. His birth name was John Bingham but he eventually inherited the title of Lord Lucan when his father died in 1964. At the time, the new Lord Lucan was 30 years and had been married for less than a year. Lord Lucan was handsome and charming, so much so that Cubby Broccoli considered him for the role of James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Lucan had no formal acting experience but he had the right look. Nothing, of course, ever came of the idea of casting Lucan as Bond. It’s rumored that he may have done a screen test but nothing can be said for sure. Would Lord Lucan have had better luck with the role than George Lazenby? Well, it’s hard to imagine how he possible could have had worst luck.
Like James Bond, Lord Lucan loved to gamble. Unlike Bond, who was rarely seen to lose a hand whenever he sat down at the poker table, Lucan was not a particularly good gambler. In fact, he lost so often that he was often broke. Fortunately, his rich friends usually took care of him whenever he needed money or someone to testify as to his courage whenever he was accused of neglecting his wife, Lady Lucan. When Lord and Lady Lucan separated in 1972, it forced the members of British high society to pick sides and most of them sided with Lord Lucan. That remained true even in 1974 when Lord Lucan was accused of murdering his children’s nanny, Sandra Rivett. Rivett, who bore a superficial resemblance to Lady Lucan, was bludgeoned to death with a piece of lead pipe while making a cup of tea in Lady Lucan’s home. Lady Lucan claimed that she came across Lord Lucan in the house and that he admitted to having attacked Sandra in a case of mistaken identity. Meanwhile, shortly after the murder, Lord Lucan reportedly called his mother and told her that he had just happened to be driving by his old home when he saw an unidentified man fighting with his wife.
The same night that Sandra Rivett was murdered, Lord Lucan vanished. Both the police and Lady Lucan speculated that Lord Lucan had committed suicide by drowning himself in the Thames. However, for years after Sandra Rivett’s murder, there were regular sightings of Lord Lucan around the world. While many of those sightings were undoubtedly due to hysteria caused by the extensive press coverage surrounding the case, there were other sightings that seemed to be a bit more credible. There was much speculation that Lucan’s powerful friends had helped him escape from Britain and he had relocated to either southern Africa or Australia. As late as 2012, sightings of Lord Lucan were still being investigated. If Lucan were still alive, he would be 86 years old today.
The story of Lord Lucan and the murder of Sandra RIvett is a fascinating one and the 2017 documentary, Lord Lucan: My Husband, The Truth, is a must-see for everyone interested in the case. Produced for British television, this documentary is essentially an hour-long interview with Lady Lucan, during which she discusses not only her abusive marriage but also her feelings about the question of whether or not Lucan was still alive. (For the record, she felt that he committed suicide “as a nobleman would do.”) The documentary also features video that was shot by Lucan himself in the 60s, showing himself, his wife, and their wealthy friends touring Europe and basically acting like members of the idle rich. Lady Lucan discusses how the notoriety surrounding the case affected her own life, leading to her becoming estranged from her children. When asked if she was a “cold” towards her children, Lady Lucan chillingly replies, “All of my relationships are cold.” When asked why she once claimed that Lord Lucan was still alive and hiding out somewhere in either Europe or Africa, Lady Lucan replies that she was “drugged up” when she said it and, as such, had no control over anything she said. The documentary than shares a clip of a very stoned-looking Lady Lucan being interviewed in 1981 and saying that her former husband was still alive.
It’s an interesting story and a rather sad one. Lord Lucan: My Husband, the Truth is a documentary that should appeal to anyone who is interested in true crime, missing fugitives, and the scandals of the very rich. Despite the rumors of him still being alive, Lord Lucan was declared dead in 2016 so that his son could inherit his title and his place in the House of Lords. As for Lady Lucan, she committed suicide shortly after being interviewed for this documentary.
Lord Lucan: My Husband, The Truth can be viewed on Amazon Prime.