07 December, 2018

Charles C. Ritz


Charles C. Ritz was a French hotelier and fly-fishing specialist.

Charles Ritz was born on August 1, 1891 and was the first of two sons born to Swiss hotelier César Ritz and Marie-Louise Beck, whose family also owned and ran a hotel in Menton. He did not know his itinerant father well, and César died when Charles was 27 years old.

Charles Ritz emigrated to the United States in 1916 where he became a soldier in the US Army. When World War I ended, Ritz returned to the US, and soon spent considerable time mastering the art of fly-fishing in the American West. He married Elisabeth Pierce.

Ritz returned to France in the 1930s. His experience with fly fishing made him one of the foremost specialists on the subject. Ernest Hemingway called him, "One of the finest fly fisherman I know." Ritz wrote a book, A Fly Fisher's Life, which has been read by anglers around the world. It has been regarded as one of the landmarks of fly fishing literature. He invented the parabolic fly-rod, a term coined by Everett Garrison, a famous bamboo fly rod maker. Fly rods of this type were commercially produced by Paul H. Young, Abu Garcia, Pezon et Michel, Jim Payne and Paul H. Young among others. He was a publicist for the High speed - high line style of fly casting (HSHL). He founded the "Fario Club,” which was the most select fishing club in the world during the latter part of the
twentieth century.

Charles Ritz spent several years assisting his mother to manage the Ritz Hotel, assumed presidency of the empire in 1953, when his mother Marie-Louise retires. Marie-Louise returns to her husband's village (Niederwald) during the summer's and sets up The Ritz Foundation specifically for Niederwald's youth. The Foundation pays for scholarships and apprenticeship programs, Marie-Louis later passes away in 1961. He attempted to introduce his progressive ideas when he opened le bar Vendôme and the l'Espadon restaurant but found himself hampered by the board of directors. His father died in 1918.

Ritz remarried in 1971 and retired from the hotel presidency in 1976, three months before his death.
He is buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery alongside his first wife.

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