Famous Philly Native Would Turn 144 Today If He Hadn’t Died on Titanic

Ben Guggenhiem4Benjamin Guggenheim was an incredibly wealthy Philadelphia born businessman at the turn of the century, but his name might be forgotten if not for his actions aboard the Titanic after it struck an iceburg.

Guggenheim inherited his father’s mining business as a young man, and made a fortune in the smelting business early on. However he soon began to squander his fortune, and lost $8 million in bad investments.

He married Florette Seligman of a powerful New York banking family in 1894 in a remarkably lavish wedding. The marriage was not a happy one and Guggenheim was actually aboard the Titanic with his 25 year old mistress, Madame Leontine Aubart, a French singer.

After the Titanic struck the iceburg, his valet fitted him in a lifevest and got him onto the boat deck, but when ol’ Ben saw the scramble aboard the boat deck, he stated, “I am willing to remain and play the man’s game if there are not enough boats for more than women and children.  No woman shall be left aboard this ship because Ben Guggenheim was a coward.” He then went to his room, dressed in his finest tuxedo, returned to the ship’s bar, began sipping brandy and smoking a cigar, and uttered one of the most badass remarks in human history: “We’ve dressed in our best, and are prepared to go down like gentlemen.” Hell f***ing yes. What a hardass. If I had been on board the Titanic, I probably would have been knocking women and children out of the way to get on a lifeboat, but my main man Ben did it like a champ. Cheers to you, Champ, and Happy Birthday. We wish you could be here with us today to enjoy it. Friggin’ iceburg.

RELATED: Ben’s Missing Persons notice in NY Times.