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 Lucy T. <I>Banning</I> Ota

Photo added by Jay Lance

Lucy T. Banning Ota

  • Birth 11 Feb 1876 California, USA
  • Death 20 Feb 1929 Italy
  • Burial Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
  • Memorial ID 9688709

Lucy Tichenor Banning was the wild socialite daughter of successful California businessman, Phineas Banning.

Known as Lucy “Ginger” Banning...”A Peach”, ”man-crazy”, ”a free-spirited ingenue”, ”the most beautiful woman in California”. Lucy Banning was called all these things and much more, some less than flattering. She was considered one of the richest and most beautiful women in the latter part of the 19th century, a time when Victorian rules where the name of the game, but Lucy had enough dough to play by her own rules thanks to a large fortune inherited from her father, ”Transportation King”, Phineas Banning as well as the financial windfalls she collected thanks to her long line of wealthy ex-husbands.

Married four times, she first eloped to San Francisco with husband #1, John Bradbury on Dec 4, 1893, and for four years the marriage seemed successful. Then the couple attended a Santa Monica party, from which Mrs. Banning left with another man. Reporters later found her with a middle-aged married Englishman named H. Russell Ward, at a San Francisco hotel. After a few days, Lucy returned home. Her husband tracked Ward down and issued an ultimatum: "Get out of town in 24 hours, or else." Ward left, but was killed within days, accidentally stepping from a moving train in the middle of the night in Iowa. Some suggested that the accident could have been murder, and others suicide.

Banning remained married to Bradbury until 1902, when she divorced him and sued for nonsupport. Then she met famous stage actor Mace E. Greenleaf (husband #2) and married him in 1903. Only to take off on him later, for a fling with longtime friend, Charles Hastings. Hastings was a scion of an old San Francisco family and owner of Hastings Ranch in Pasadena. She was romantically entangled for years with Hastings, who wooed her all the way to Europe and back. But in 1918 she gave up Hastings and married Robert E. Ross (husband # 3), a newspaper reporter and son of a judge on April 2, 1912. Later she left Ross for a 30 year old famous Japanese Wrestler, Setsuzo Ota (husband #4), who was touring the US at the time in 1927. A year later in 1929, the two drove to Seattle to be married, as interracial marriage was then a violation of California law.

During her extended European honeymoon with fourth husband Setsuzo Ota, she caught pneumonia and died, shortly after her 53rd birthday. According to her Husband, Ota, Lucy knew she was dying and her last words were “I’ll get criticized for this too!” (Bio by Jay Lance)


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  • Maintained by: Jay Lance
  • Originally Created by: David M. Habben
  • Added: 22 Oct 2004
  • Find A Grave Memorial 9688709
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Lucy T. Banning Ota (11 Feb 1876–20 Feb 1929), Find A Grave Memorial no. 9688709, citing Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Jay Lance (contributor 46609422) .