Beverly Hills billionaire Marvin Davis and his wife were robbed of $10-million worth of jewelry on the French Riviera over the weekend, it was revealed Tuesday when police announced the arrest of two suspects in the incident.
Davis, 67, who made his fortune in the oil business before buying his way into the movie industry, told police that he and his wife, Barbara, also lost about $50,000 in cash during Sunday's holdup on a road between Nice and Antibes.
According to police, the robbery took place when the couple's bodyguard, who was trailing their chauffeur-driven limousine in another automobile, was delayed in traffic.
Investigators said cars suddenly blocked the road ahead of and behind the limousine. They said four masked men jumped out, brandished guns, overpowered the chauffeur and forced the Davises to open the limousine's trunk, which contained their luggage and the jewelry.
The gunmen fled with the money and jewels before the bodyguard arrived, police said. They said investigators tracked down the robbers' car Monday and found some of the Davises' personal documents in it. They arrested two French nationals in the car, who were apparently accomplices but not the robbers.
Police said the two will be brought before a judge today to be placed under investigation, a prelude to criminal charges, for receiving stolen goods. The suspects were not immediately identified.
Whether the money and jewels were recovered, and whether their loss was covered by insurance, was not made clear.
Officials said the Davises had attended last week's tennis tournament at Wimbledon in England and were starting a vacation on the Riviera when the holdup took place. They were on the road from Nice airport to a famed resort hotel, the Eden Roc, in Cap d'Antibes.
Sources close to the family said the Davises apparently were not injured during the robbery and plan to complete their Riviera vacation. The sources, who asked not to be named, said the Davises have used personal bodyguards since moving to Southern California in the early 1980s.
Marvin Davis, a 6-foot, 3-inch entrepreneur who avoids publicity whenever possible, amassed much of his fortune through the family-owned Davis Oil Co., often called the largest independent oil firm in the world. Forbes Magazine estimated his net worth in 1990 at $1.65 billion.
After unsuccessful attempts to buy the Oakland A's and Chicago White Sox baseball teams and the Denver Post newspaper, Davis turned to the movie industry, spending a reported $800 million to buy the 20th Century Fox film studios in 1981. He sold it to Rupert Murdoch four years later.
Davis also has shown interest in the airline business, negotiating to buy into at least three lines--United, Continental and Northwest--in recent years.
In April, he sold his 50% interest in a Colorado ski-resort company that owns Aspen Mountain, Snowmass Mountain, Buttermilk/Tiehack Mountain, the Little Nell Hotel and the Snowmass Lodge and Club.
The Davises have been active in a variety of philanthropic causes, including the Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes in Denver and several groups battling AIDS, which claimed the life of Barbara Davis' only son by a previous marriage three years ago.