In The Fabulous World of Foxhall Keene, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (Feb. 16 and 23) told of a great sportsman uniquely the product of a gilded age. In 1941 Keene died, rich in memories, poor in pocket and comparatively alone, having become in his lifetime an anachronistic legend. He has been called "the last sportsman." Of his kind he may well have been.
The nonprofessional whose career is sport and nothing else is no longer dominant in our scene. On the other hand, sport is still a dominant factor in the career of many a nonprofessional. One such man, who in sporting aspects has much in common with Keene, is a khan. But, in other aspects, the career of His Highness The Prince Aly Khan resembles nothing so much as itself.
Next week a two-part article begins to describe this man whose career in any age, gilded or otherwise, would be hard to duplicate. Born to rare wealth and position, Aly Khan has won fame with beautiful women and handsome horses, has courted danger and speed and now serves as ambassador to the United Nations from Pakistan.
The filtered spotlight which café society plays upon its actors has colored and to some degree concealed the proper picture of him. His accomplishments as soldier and foreign agent, aviator, hunter and skier are little known. And even his eminence as owner, breeder and trader of horses is perhaps underplayed. For probably he knows as much about horses as any man alive.
March 16, 1959
Few men have more energy. Always on the go, Aly Khan sleeps little and moves between continents as others walk to the corner mailbox. This represented a problem for Writer Joe David Brown when he took on the assignment of getting Aly down on paper. As a TIME correspondent, Brown first crossed paths with him in Karachi at one of those ceremonies in which the late Aga was being weighed against platinum—and not found wanting. Later Brown encountered Aly in such likely spas as Paris' Tour d'Argent and New. York's "21." But when he sought him out for this article, Brown found Aly hard to catch. Not elusive—just active. Brown finally caught up in Pakistan House, where the world's most eligible sportsman played the cooperative host as charmingly as his reputation says he does.
Now a free-lance writer, Joe David Brown has written three novels. His most recent, Kings Go Forth, became a movie. His next, Glimpse of a Stranger, is scheduled for fall publication.
"Its background," Brown says, "is in India—like Aly's."