Texas Died from a Drink of Water
Did diamond-draped rebel Texas Guinan really die on November 5th, 1933 from a drink of water? The 1942 obituary of cafe king Jacques Bustanoby [who claims he gave Guinan her high-heeled start in his nightspot] quotes the speakeasy superstar herself.
May 10, 1942 (The American Weekly)
JACQUES BUSTANOBY, PAPA OF CAFE SOCIETY [obit]
Strange pages from the guest book of New York's most famous restaurateur (better known as 'Bust Anybody'), who originated the women's bar, dance floors, gigolos (including Rudolph Valentino), sidewalk cafes, and entertained more notables (including Reggie Vanderbilt's horse) than all the modern night clubs combined.
Descendant of a long line of French chefs, Jacques Bustanoby was "born to the purple" of the restaurant business and he ruled it, in New York, during its golden age, when dining out was not only an art but almost a sacred ritual. This great genius of the culinary art died the other day at the age of 62. He had outlived his era and strangely enough, had probably done more than any other person or thing - - even Prohibition - - to kill the age of the royal dinner. He had introduced to the dining room two deadly enemies, bound to be as devastating to the fine art of his ancestors, as they would be to the sermon, if introduced into church services. One was the cabaret, which his horrified competitors called, "din with dinner"; the other, perhaps even more fatal to serious eating, the modern custom of jumping up every few minutes to dance, while the food gets cold. . . .
* * Enter "a blonde of the buxom, corn-fed, Wild-Western type" * *
A blonde of the buxom, corn-fed, Wild-Western type breezed into New York but could get no work until she saw Jacques, who immediately put her on his payroll. She was Texas Guinan who lived through the twilight of the great dinner days, adapted herself to the Prohibition night club, as the famous "Howdy, Sucker!" greeter, and finally died, of all things, from a drink of water. Joking, even on her deathbed, Guinan said: "The water rusted my iron constitution." The doctors, however, blamed it not on the tap water, but on the germs of amoebic dysentery in the water.
Retribution also began to catch up with the Napoleon of novelty. Jacques, having introduced the tea dance and the first bar for women, blamed them for the divorce from his first wife, Ruth Boyd. ...
- excerpt May 10, 1942 (The American Weekly) -