Lady Mary Montagu, mother of Alex Montagu, 13th Duke of Manchester. Mary Montagu ... mother of Alex Montagu. Photo: Supplied
Alex Montagu and first wife Marion Stoner in The People article. Making headlines ... Alex Montagu with first wife Marion Stoner. Photo: Supplied
Caught in the deceit … Alex Montagu with Wendy Buford and children. Photo: Supplied
IT IS the stuff of Hollywood blockbusters: a devilishly charismatic rogue criss-crossing continents, passing bum cheques and leaving behind a trail of broken hearts.

But there were no film cameras at the latest instalment in the ups and many downs of the thrice-married bigamist Alex Montagu Manchester when he appeared in the Las Vegas justice court on a felony charge.

To those he is trying to impress it is, perhaps, convenient for him to use his full name, Alexander Charles David Drogo Montagu, the 13th Duke of Manchester.
Others might know him as an Australian from a humble background - despite a genuine aristocratic lineage - with a criminal record going back almost 30 years.
No stranger to the slam of a prison door, the duke was accused in the Las Vegas court earlier this month of writing a cheque for $3575 to Speedy Car Loans when he had ''no funds, property or credit'' to support it.
While his life story, thus far, and the misdemeanours of the Manchester lineage provide enough salacious material for a movie, they already fill part of a book. They occupy a sizeable part of Splendour & Squalor, the Disgrace and Disintegration of Three Aristocratic Dynasties by the historian Marcus Scriven.

Montagu's mother, Mary Montagu, daughter of a Geelong car dealer and former gossip columnist affectionately known as Madcap Mary, still lives in Melbourne, as does his first wife.

His father, Lord Angus Montagu, reportedly wrestled alligators and pulled pints of beer in north Queensland before heading back to Britain and finally being jailed in the US.
When Montagu was exposed as a bigamist in the High Court in London in 2011, Scriven wrote of Montagu's ancestors: ''Their recreational interests include gambling, alcohol and sex - not to mention fraud.''

The duke's embarrassment with cheques first emerged in 1985 when The Age reported that he was sentenced in the County Court to three years' jail on 22 fraud charges.
Judge Byrne said his deprived childhood had distorted his personality, but the offences were carried out with a degree of cunning.

Montagu was still at it in 1991 in Brisbane after hiring a rental car in one state and selling it in another. That same year, then aged 28, he was arrested in Vancouver on charges of illegally entering Canada as a result of his previous criminal convictions and was later deported.

He spent four days in jail before being freed, was photographed with a former stripper and told reporters he was anxious to see how the poor lived.

Lord Alex has also been somewhat unlucky in love. His first wife, Australian model Marion Stoner, was not aware that he had married again before divorcing her.
The short-lived relationship in the early 1980s ended, she said, when he tried to shoot her with a speargun. He missed.

He married second wife Wendy Buford in 1993, a California law firm receptionist who bore him two children, three years before his divorce from his previous wife came through.
She has told of meeting the dashing stranger with an Australian accent in the Crazy Horse bar in the town of Santa Ana in 1992.

Shortly after marrying his third wife, American real estate agent Laura Smith, he told Wendy he was already married at the time of their wedding, making their children, Alexander, now 19, and Ashley, now 13, illegitimate.

He then stopped all child support payments, which by March 2011 had totalled £32,000.
It was the London High Court case in July that year that brought her financial relief with the ruling that, despite the children being technically illegitimate, their claim from their father was recognised in law and that the family trustees would pay them an allowance.  MORE