Winner's Mother Loses £35m Fortune At Casino

Winner's Mother Loses £35m Fortune At CasinoEnglish bon viveur Michael Winner died last week at the age of 77. The ‘Death Wish’ director may have made a fortune in his own right but in his memoirs printed by the Daily Mail, Winner tells how his mother, Helen, squandered his potential £35 million inheritance gambling at various casinos.
Apparently, while his businessman father George was busy building up a fortune in Engand, Helen would often be found playing her favourite gambling games such as poker or bridge at Crockford’s club in St James’s.
Michael Winner gave an insight into the extent of his mother’s passion for gambling when describing his Bar Mitzvah party. As he explained: “After the dinner and speeches, a bevy of staff swept in carrying green baize card tables. Immediately, everyone divided into groups and started playing poker. I retired to my bedroom, which was being used as a cloakroom.”
However, Helen’s gambling apparently reached new levels in 1970 when along with her husband they moved to Cannes in the south of France, within a few minutes of its famous casinos. Elaborating further, Winner explained: “When her losses reached a million pounds, the casino let her eat there free of charge. By the time my poor father turned 60, he’d had enough. He came to me and said: ‘I hope you don’t mind, Michael, but your mother and I are going to get divorced.”
Although Michaeal managed to keep his parents together, he blamed his father’s early death on his mother’s gambling. Nevertheless, after his death Helen continued gambling and selling everything she owned to pay her escalating debts. In the end she apparently was reduced to living in a tiny room at the Carlton Hotel in Cannes and in 1974 tried to sue her son for the company shares given to him by his father in order to continue her habit.
Despite his mothers losing the family fortune and her wrangling for more money to gamble, Michael Winner said he always loved and tried to look after her. “She was a real card,” commented Winner.

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