John Jacob Astor

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameJohn Jacob•Astor V
Used nameJohn Jacob•Astor
Born20 May 1886 in New York, New York (USA)
Died19 July 1971 in Cannes, Alpes-Maritimes (FRA)
Title(s)1st Baron Astor of Hever
NOC Great Britain
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 1
Total 2


The American, J. J. Astor, came to England as a child and became a British citizen in 1889 when his father took out naturalization papers for himself and his family. His upbringing was typical of a wealthy young Englishman of the time and at Eton he opening the batting for the cricket team in 1904 and 1905. Later in 1905 he went up to New College, Oxford but his stay was brief and he left the following year to take a commission in the Life Guards.

From 1911 to 1914, Astor served as ADC to Lord Hardinge, who had succeeded Astor’s father-in-law, Lord Minto, as Viceroy of India after which he rejoined his regiment for active service. Although he lost his right leg in action in September 1918, amazingly, this did not prevent him from winning the parliamentary squash rackets championship in 1926 and 1927. In 1922, Astor became Chief Proprietor of The Times and also entered Parliament as the Member for Dover, a seat he held until 1945. In 1924 he was President of the Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club and in 1937 became the first American-born President of the MCC. In 1956 he was created Baron Astor of Hever but six years later, in order to avoid the penal death duties in England, he took up residence in France where he subsequently died.

In the 1908 Olympic racquets tournament, John Astor and his partner Vane Pennell scored a comfortable win over Edmund Bury and Cecil Browning in the doubles. In the singles Astor drew a bye in the first round, his second round opponent withdrew and, although he lost to Charles Leaf in the only singles match he played, Astor won a bronze medal as a losing semi-finalist.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1908 Summer Olympics Racquets GBR John Jacob Astor
Singles, Men (Olympic) =3 Bronze
Doubles, Men (Olympic) Vane Pennell 1 Gold

Special Notes