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Prince who shot Rasputin sues CBS

At a palace in St Petersburg one night in December 1916, Grigory Rasputin, the ill-reputed mystic who was influential in the court of Czar Nicholas II, found himself downing large amounts of wine, cake and cheese.

These had all been secretly poisoned with cyanide, but were not enough to kill him. Conspirators, led by Prince Felix Youssoupoff, who was married to the Czar's only niece, Princess Irina, had to shoot him with a gun to finish him off, before throwing his body into the River Neva.

Rasputin and the prince who helped to kill him were in the news this week in 1965, as a court in the United States heard a lawsuit started by Prince Youssoupoff, by then 79.


Prince Felix Youssoupoff claimed a show on the incident was inaccurate.

He had taken offence at a TV dramatisation of Rasputin's death and sued CBS, the United States station behind it. The prince claimed that the show, If I Should Die, was partly inaccurate and exploited his name.

He also alleged that the show suggested that he used his wife as sex bait for Rasputin, who was known to be licentious.

He eventually lost the suit.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 18, 2015, with the headline 'Prince who shot Rasputin sues CBS'. Print Edition | Subscribe