The scene was Atlantic City. He was training for the big fight, for the heavyweight title. She was his new wife, an actress, and she was plenty agitated. Didn't trust his manager, never liked him. Also she wanted a full accounting of all the financial deals, all the money, and where was it? We're suing you. You're fired, get out of our lives.
Robin and Mike, Atlantic City, 1988? No, Estelle and Jack Dempsey, Atlantic City, 1926. So staggering are the parallels they almost forbid belief. The first coincidence: for his first fight with Gene Tunney, Jack Dempsey was, indeed, training in Atlantic City. And his new bride, exactly like Robin Givens Tyson, was an actress? Yes. And Estelle Taylor was suspicious of Dempsey's manager, Jack Kearns. Hated him? Right. She demanded an accounting of Dempsey's earnings? Yes. Did she get Kearns fired? Yes. (`It's Kearns or me, Jack. Choose.") They sued Kearns? Yes.In truth, the soap saga of How Mike Tyson's World Turns can be perceived as no more than a warmed-over version of the original script played by Dempsey and his angry new bride of 62 years before. The Tysons weren't breaking any new ground. They could be called copyists.
So Mike Tyson bought Robin that $4.5 million hideaway pad in Bernardsville, N.J., with all those acres and made her an instant neighbor of Jackie Onassis? Humph. Back in 1935, for Estelle's relaxation, Dempsey bought her this little place in the Hollywood Hills, sort of Spanish castle-type, cum swimming pool, an 18-hole golf course, and bridle path, and things, the bathroom decorated in various shades of gold to complement the Spanish lace.
So Robin now cuts a figure in all that eye-catching jewelry Mike has provided? In his autobiography, Dempsey speaks of all the gem-stuff Estelle accumulated, "Which she keeps in a vault." However, all the mansions and the baubles didn't keep Estelle happy, and when the money started running out, she sued for divorce, charging mental cruelty. So did Dempsey, charging the same. In the settlement, she got $70,000 cash and the big house.
The Tysons are declaring they are still much in love, bless them. But Gilbert & Sullivan would have noted that oft-times the lot of the heavyweight champion is not a happy one. And cher chez la femme fits in there somewhere. Heavyweight history is shot through with trouble on the home front. Answering to that roll call would not only be Dempsey, but Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis and Floyd Patterson and Jack Johnson, among others.