Sir Jeffrey Hudson


(c) National Trust, Hardwick Hall; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) National Trust, Hardwick Hall; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Sir Jeffrey Hudson (1619 – circa 1682) was an English court dwarf at the court of Queen Henrietta Maria. He was famous as the “Queen’s dwarf” and “Lord Minimus”, and was considered one of the “wonders of the age” because of his extreme but well-proportioned smallness. He fought with the Royalists in the English Civil War and fled with the Queen to France but was expelled from her court when he killed a man in a duel. He was captured by Barbary pirates and spent 25 years as a slave in North Africa before being ransomed back to England.

Early life and rise to prominence

Jeffrey was baptised in Oakham in Rutland on 14 June 1619. His parents, three brothers, and a half-sister were all of typical size. Hudson’s father John was keeper of the baiting bulls for George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham. Jeffrey’s marvellous smallness and normal proportions became apparent in early childhood. Various theories existed for his size, including that his mother choked on a gherkin while pregnant, but he in fact suffered from a growth hormone deficiency caused by a misfiring pituitary gland.

On his seventh birthday, in 1626, Jeffrey Hudson was presented to the Duchess of Buckingham as a “rarity of nature” and she invited him to join the household. A few months later, the Duke and Duchess entertained King Charles and his young French wife, Queen Henrietta Maria, in London. The climax of the lavish banquet was the presentation of Jeffrey to the Queen, served in a large pie. When the pie was placed in front of the Queen, Jeffrey arose from the crust, 18 inches (45 cm) tall and dressed in a miniature suit of armour. The Queen was delighted and the Duke and Duchess of Buckingham offered Hudson to her as an amusing gift.
Jeffrey at the Queen’s court

Jeffrey moved into Denmark House in London in late 1626, where the Queen maintained her royal household, with its many French attendants and Catholic priests. He was one of several natural curiosities and pets, among whom were a giant Welsh porter named William Evans, two disproportionate dwarfs, and a monkey called Pug. He later developed a routine with Evans in which the porter pulled Jeffrey out of his pocket along with a loaf of bread, and proceeded to make a sandwich. As he “grew up” in years, if not in inches, Jeffrey learned to amuse and entertain with his wit and courtly behaviour as well as his appearance. Dwarfs were not rare in the courts of Europe but Jeffrey’s fine proportions and tiny size made him uniquely famous. His size was repeatedly described as 18 or 19 inches and he is reported to have grown little between 7 and 30 years of age. He was often cast in picturesque roles in the elaborate costumed masques which were staged by Inigo Jones for the amusement of the court.

Although the courtiers mixed for common events, King Charles I and his young wife maintained separate courts and households in London. Henrietta was French, and Roman Catholic, and her presence in London was a potential source of tension despite the value of the marriage in maintaining a friendly relationship with France. There were political disputes over the size of her court, especially the number of priests. She was allowed to have a chapel constructed in Denmark House for Roman Catholic church services, the only place in the kingdom where this was permitted. Over the years the relationship between Henrietta and Charles grew stronger as the relationship between Charles and much of England grew worse.

In 1630, at about 10 years of age, Jeffrey was included in a mission to France. Although the principal purpose of the mission was to return with a midwife for the Queen’s first pregnancy, it is likely that Jeffrey was sent for the appreciation of the French court. On the return journey across the channel their ship was captured by Dunkirk pirates, who plundered the ship but eventually released them to return to England. Hudson’s second trip across the Channel occurred in 1637, at age 18, when a group of courtiers travelled to the Netherlands to observe the siege of Breda, as the Dutch were attempting to expel the Spanish army.

Jeffrey was educated in the Queen’s household and learned the manners of the court. He was brought up in the Roman Catholic Church of her household. He learned to ride a horse and shoot a pistol. He was celebrated in a variety of poems and narratives of the day. However, despite his wit and intelligence, it was the novelty of his shortness that was most prized and all understood that if he had been of normal height he would have had no place at court. This is explicitly acknowledged in one of several adulatory poems.
The coming of the Civil War and the dissolution of the court

By 1640 the relationship between King Charles and the Parliament had deteriorated to the point of plots and attempted arrests. Armed conflict broke out between the Royalists and the Parliamentarians in 1642. As Charles led the Royalist army, the Queen took a small number of her retinue, including Hudson, to the Netherlands to raise money and support for him. By selling articles from her palace she raised enough to buy some supplies for the Royalist army but was unsuccessful in obtaining official support from the Protestant Dutch government. She returned to England with her courtiers and they found themselves in the middle of a civil war.

They were able to join Royalist forces at Oxford. The Queen appointed Hudson a “Captain of Horse.” It is not known whether he commanded troops or saw combat in one of Prince Rupert’s cavalry raids, but he considered the appointment an honour rather than a joke and later in life continued to style himself Captain Jeffrey Hudson.

As it became apparent that the war was broadening rather than concluding, the Queen fled to France in 1643 with a small group of courtiers and household staff, again including Hudson. Although they were warmly received in France and provided with space in the Louvre palace, the Queen was ailing after a difficult delivery and she soon moved her court in exile to the spa at Nevers.
Duel and disaster

Royalist courtiers collected around the Queen, but Hudson apparently had no interest in resuming his role of pet or clown and let it be known he would suffer no more jokes or insults. There is no record of the precise offence offered, but in October 1644, Hudson challenged the brother of William Crofts to a duel. Crofts arrived at the duel brandishing a large squirt, but his flippancy would lead to his death, as Hudson fatally shot him in the forehead. Crofts’ death was a disaster for Hudson. Duelling had been outlawed in France and this could be considered a transgression against hospitality, in addition to the fact that William Crofts was a powerful figure as the Queen’s Master of Horse and head of her lifeguard. He was initially sentenced to death, but the Queen had this commuted to exile, and he was sent back to England.
Slavery and redemption, poverty and death

Hudson’s movements after leaving the Queen’s court in late 1644, aged 25 years, are unknown. Within months he was on a ship captured by the Barbary pirates. Hudson was taken to North Africa as a slave, where he spent perhaps his next 25 years labouring. The date and circumstances of his rescue or redemption are not known but it was in the 1660s that several missions were sent from England to Algeria and Tunis to ransom English captives, and his first documented presence back in England was in 1669. No details of his captivity were recorded except one fact: he claimed to have grown to 45 inches during this time, doubling his height after 30 years of age, which he attributed to the buggery he had regularly suffered at the hands of his captors.

The few contemporary records of Hudson’s years between 1669 and his death in 1682 consist of a few receipts for grants of money from the Duke of Buckingham and the new King. He did not return to the Queen’s court, even after the royal Restoration in 1660 and her return at the invitation of her son, Charles II. She resided in London only 5 years, fleeing to France during the London plague of 1665. She died in France in 1669, the year Hudson first reappeared in English records.

Jeffrey Hudson lived in Oakham for several years, where he was interviewed and a short record of his life made, by an antiquarian named James Wright. In 1676 Hudson returned to London, perhaps to seek a pension from the royal court. He had the misfortune of arriving at a time of turbulent anti-Catholic activity, which included the “Popish Plot” of Titus Oates (also from Oakham), and was imprisoned “for a considerable time” at the Gatehouse prison. Being a “Roman Catholick” was his only recorded offence, but he was not released until 1680. He died about two years later on an unknown date, in unknown circumstances, buried in an unmarked Catholic paupers’ grave

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Anna Harriette Leonowens


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Anna Harriette Leonowens (5 November 1831 – 19 January 1915) born Anna Harriet Emma Edwards, was an Anglo-Indian or Indian-born British travel writer, educator, and social activist.

She became well-known with the publication of her memoirs, beginning with The English Governess at the Siamese Court (1870), which chronicled her experiences in Siam (Thailand), as teacher to the children of the Siamese King Mongkut. Leonowen’s own account has been fictionalised in Margaret Landon’s 1944 best-selling novel Anna and the King of Siam, as well as films and television series based on the book, most notably Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1951 hit musical The King and I.

During the course of her life, Leonowens also lived in Aden, Australia, Singapore, the United States and Canada. Among other achievements, she co-founded the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

Early life and family

Leonowens’ maternal grandfather, William Vawdrey (or Vaudrey) Glascott, was an English-born commissioned officer of the 4th Regiment, Bombay Native Infantry, in the Bombay Army. Glascott arrived in India in 1810, and was apparently married in 1815, although his wife’s name is not known. According to biographer Susan Morgan, the only viable explanation for the complete and deliberate lack of information regarding Glascott’s wife, in official British records, is that she “was not European”. Morgan suggests that she was “most likely … Anglo-Indian (of mixed race) born in India.” The Glascotts’ first child, Mary Anne Glascott, was born in 1815 or 1816.

Mary Glascott married a non-commissioned officer of the Sappers and Miners, Sergeant Thomas Edwards on 15 March 1829 in Tannah. Edwards was from London and a former cabinetmaker. Tom Edwards’s second daughter was born in Ahmednagar district, India, on 5 November 1831, but her father had died three months earlier. While she was christened Anna Harriet Emma Edwards, Leonowens later changed Harriet to “Harriette” and ceased using her third given name (Emma).

For most of her adult life, Anna Edwards had no contact with her family and took pains to disguise her origins by claiming that she had been born with the surname “Crawford” in Caernarfon and giving her father’s rank as Captain. By doing so, she protected not only herself but her children, who would have had greater opportunities if their mixed-race heritage remained unknown. Investigations uncovered no record of her birth at Caernarfon, news which came as a shock to the town that had long claimed her as one of its most famous natives.

Mary Edwards later married an Irish soldier, Patrick Donohoe of the Royal Engineers. In 1845, Anna’s 15-year-old sister, Eliza Julia Edwards, married James Millard, a Sergeant-Major with the 4th Troop Artillery, Indian Army on 24 April 1845 in Deesa, Banaskantha, Gujarat, India. Their daughter, Eliza Sarah Millard, born in 1858 in India, married on 7 October 1864 in Surat, Gujarat, India. Her husband was Edward John Pratt, a 38-year-old British civil servant who had served in the Indian Navy. One of their sons, William Henry Pratt born 23 November 1887 upon their return to London, England was better known by his stage name of Boris Karloff. Anna Edwards never approved of her sister’s marriage, and her self-imposed separation from the family was so complete that, decades later, when a Pratt relative contacted her, she replied threatening suicide if he persisted.

Anna Edwards’s relationship with her stepfather Donohoe was not a happy one, and she later accused him of putting pressure on her, like her sister (with whom she also fell out), to marry a much older man. In 1847, the family went to Aden, to where Donohoe had been seconded as assistant supervisor of public works. Here Anna Edwards was taught by the resident chaplain and orientalist, the Revd. George Percy Badger, and his wife Maria, a missionary schoolmistress. The Badgers recognised the girl’s aptitude for languages and, in 1849, they took her with them on a tour through Egypt and Palestine.

Marriage, Western Australia, and widowhood

At the end of 1849, Anna Edwards returned with her family to India, where in Poona she married her childhood sweetheart, Thomas Leon (or Lane/Lean) Owens—he later merged his second and last names as Leonowens—over the objections of her stepfather and mother. Her husband was a civilian clerk (rather than the army officer suggested by her memoir). In 1852 the young couple, accompanied by Anna’s uncle W. V. Glasscott, sailed to Australia via Singapore, where they boarded the barque Alibi. The journey from Singapore was long and Anna gave birth to a son, Thomas, on board. On 8 March 1853, nearing the Western Australian coast, the Alibi was almost wrecked on a reef. Ten days later Anna, Thomas, their newborn son and Glasscott arrived in Perth, where Thomas quickly found employment as a clerk in the colonial administration.

In Perth, Anna, at this time going by her middle name, Harriett, tried to start a school for young ladies. In March 1854, later that year, a daughter, Avis Annie was born. In 1855, the Leonowens family moved to Lynton, a remote convict depot north of Geraldton where Thomas was appointed the Commissariat Storekeeper and Anna gave birth to their son Louis there. By early 1857, the Lynton Convict Depot had closed and the Leonowens family were back in Perth, but in April 1857 sailed to Singapore. Soon moving to Penang, Thomas found work as a hotel keeper, only to die of apoplexy, leaving Anna Leonowens an impoverished widow. Thomas Leonowens was buried on 7 May 1859 in the Protestant Cemetery in Penang. Of their four children, the two eldest had died in infancy. To support her surviving daughter Avis and son Louis, Leonowens again took up teaching, and opened a school for the children of British officers in Singapore. While the enterprise was not a financial success, it established her reputation as an educator.

Royal governess

In 1862, Leonowens accepted an offer made by the Siamese consul in Singapore, Tan Kim Ching, to teach the wives and children of Mongkut, King of Siam. The king wished to give his 39 wives and concubines and 82 children a modern Western education on scientific secular lines, which earlier missionaries’ wives had not provided. Leonowens sent her daughter Avis to school in England, and took her son Louis with her to Bangkok. She succeeded Dan Beach Bradley, an American missionary, as teacher to the Siamese court.

Leonowens served at court until 1867, a period of nearly six years, first as a teacher and later as language secretary for the king. Although her position carried great respect and even a degree of political influence, she did not find the terms and conditions of her employment to her satisfaction, and came to be regarded by the king himself as a “difficult woman and more difficult than generality”.

In 1868, Leonowens was on leave for her health in England and had been negotiating a return to the court on better terms when Mongkut fell ill and died. The king mentioned Leonowens and her son in his will, though they did not receive a legacy. The new monarch, fifteen-year-old Chulalongkorn, who succeeded his father, wrote Leonowens a warm letter of thanks for her services. He did not invite her to resume her post but they corresponded amicably for many years. At the age of 27, Louis Leonowens returned to Siam and was granted a commission of Captain in the Royal Cavalry. Chulalongkorn made reforms for which his former tutor claimed some of the credit, including the abolition of the practice of prostration before the royal person. However, many of those same reforms were goals established by his father.

Literary career

By 1869, Leonowens was in New York City, where she opened a school for girls for a brief period on Staten Island, and began contributing travel articles to a Boston journal, Atlantic Monthly, including “The Favorite of the Harem”, reviewed by the New York Times as “an Eastern love story, having apparently a strong basis of truth”. She expanded her articles into two volumes of memoirs, beginning with The English Governess at the Siamese Court (1870), which earned her immediate fame but also brought charges of sensationalism. In her writing, she casts a critical eye over court life; the account is not always a flattering one, and has become the subject of controversy in Thailand; she has also been accused of exaggerating her influence with the king. There have also been claims of fabrication: the likelihood of the argument over slavery, for example, when King Mongkut was for 27 years a Buddhist monk and later abbot, before ascending to the throne. It is thought that his religious training and vocation would never have permitted the views expressed by Leonowens’ cruel, eccentric, and self-indulgent monarch.

Leonowens was a feminist and in her writings she tended to focus on what she saw as the subjugated status of Siamese women, including those sequestered within the Nang Harm, or royal harem. She emphasised that although Mongkut had been a forward-looking ruler, he had desired to preserve customs such as prostration and sexual slavery which seemed unenlightened and degrading. The sequel, Romance of the Harem (1873), incorporates tales based on palace gossip, including the king’s alleged torture and execution of one of his concubines, Tuptim; the story lacks independent corroboration and is dismissed as out of character for the king by some critics. A great granddaughter, Princess Vudhichalerm Vudhijaya (b. 21 May 1934), stated in a 2001 interview: “King Mongkut was in the monk’s hood for 27 years before he was king. He would never have ordered an execution. It is not the Buddhist way.” She added that the same Tuptim was her grandmother and had married Chulalongkorn.(He had 36 wives.)

While in the United States, Leonowens also earned much-needed money through popular lecture tours. At venues such as the house of Mrs. Sylvanus Reed in Fifty-third Street, New York City, in the regular members’ course at Association Hall, or under the auspices of bodies such as the Long Island Historical Society, she lectured on subjects including “Christian Missions to Pagan Lands” and “The Empire of Siam, and the City of the Veiled Women”. The New York Times reported: “Mrs. Leonowens’ purpose is to awaken an interest, and enlist sympathies, in behalf of missionary labors, particularly in their relation to the destiny of Asiatic women.” She joined the literary circles of New York and Boston and made the acquaintance of local lights on the lecture circuit, such as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a book whose anti-slavery message Leonowens had brought to the attention of the royal household. She said the book influenced Chulalongkorn’s reform of slavery in Siam, a process he had begun in 1868, and which would end with its total abolition in 1915. Meanwhile, Louis had accumulated debts in the U.S. by 1874 and fled the country. He became estranged from his mother and did not see her for 19 years.

Canada

In 1878, Leonowens’s daughter Avis Annie Crawford Connybeare married Thomas Fyshe, a Scottish banker and the cashier (general manager) of the Bank of Nova Scotia in Halifax, where she resided for nineteen years as she continued to travel the world. This marriage ended the family’s money worries.

Leonowens resumed her teaching career and taught daily from 9 am to 12 noon for an autumn half at the Berkeley School of New York at 252 Madison Avenue, Manhattan, beginning on 5 October 1880; this was a new preparatory school for colleges and schools of science and her presence was advertised in the press. Leonowens visited Russia in 1881, shortly after the assassination of Tsar Alexander II, and other European countries, and continued to publish travel articles and books.

She settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, where she again became involved in women’s education, and was a suffragist and one of the founders of the Local Council of Women of Halifax and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. After nineteen years, she moved to Montreal, Quebec.

Leonowens’s son, Louis, returned to Siam and became an officer in the Siamese royal cavalry. He married Caroline Knox, a daughter of Sir Thomas George Knox, the British consul-general in Bangkok (1824–1887), and his Thai wife, Prang Yen. Under Chulalongkorn’s patronage, Louis Leonowens founded the successful trading company that bears his name: The Louis T. Leonowens Co. Ltd., which is still trading in Thailand.

Anna Leonowens met Chulalongkorn again when he visited London in 1897, thirty years after she had left Siam. During this audience the king took the opportunity to express his thanks in person but he also voiced his dismay at the inaccuracies in Leonowens’ books.

Anna Leonowens died on 19 January 1915, at 83 years of age. She was interred in Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal.

Anna Leonowens in fiction and film

Margaret Landon’s novel Anna and the King of Siam (1944) provides a fictionalised look at Anna Leonowens’s years at the royal court, developing the abolitionist theme that resonated with her American readership. In 1946, Talbot Jennings and Sally Benson adapted it into the screenplay for a dramatic film of the same name, starring Irene Dunne and Rex Harrison. In response, Thai authors Seni and Kukrit Pramoj wrote their own account in 1948 and sent it to American politician and diplomat Abbot Low Moffat (1901–1996), who drew on it for his biography Mongkut, the King of Siam (1961). Moffat donated the Pramoj brothers’ manuscript to the Library of Congress in 1961.

Landon had, however, created the iconic image of Leonowens, and “in the mid-20th century she came to personify the eccentric Victorian female traveler”. The novel was adapted as a hit musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein, The King and I (1951), starring Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner, which ran 1,246 performances on Broadway and was also a hit in London and on tour. In 1956, a film version was released, with Deborah Kerr starring in the role of Leonowens and Brynner reprising his role as the king. Revived many times on stage (with Brynner starring in revivals until 1985), the musical has remained a favourite of the theatregoing public.

The humorous depiction of Mongkut as a polka-dancing despot, as well as the king’s and Anna’s apparent romantic feeling for each other, is condemned as disrespectful in Thailand, where the Rodgers and Hammerstein film and musical were banned by the government. The 1946 film version of Anna and the King of Siam starring Rex Harrison as Mongkut was allowed to be shown in Thailand, although it was banned in newly independent India as an inaccurate insult by westerners to an Eastern king. In 1950, the Thai government did not permit the film to be shown for the second time in Thailand. The books Romance in the Harem and An English Governess at the Siamese Court were not banned in Thailand. There were even Thai translations of these books by respected Thai writer “Humorist” (Ob Chaivasu).

During a visit to the United States in 1960, the monarch of Thailand, King Bhumibol (a great-grandson of Mongkut), and his entourage explained that from what they could gather from the reviews of the musical, the characterisation of Mongkut seemed “90 percent exaggerated. My great-grandfather was really quite a mild and nice man.” Years later, during her 1985 visit to New York, Bhumibol’s wife, Queen Sirikit, went to see the Broadway musical at the invitation of Yul Brynner. The then ambassador of Thailand to the US gave another reason for Thailand’s disapproval of The King and I: its ethno-centric attitude and its barely hidden insult on the whole Siamese nation as childish and inferior to the Westerners.

In 1972, Twentieth Century Fox produced a non-musical American TV series for CBS, Anna and the King, with Samantha Eggar taking the part of Leonowens and Brynner reprising his role as the king. Margaret Landon charged the makers with “inaccurate and mutilated portrayals” of her literary property and sued unsuccessfully for copyright infringement. The series was not a success and was canceled after only 13 episodes. In 1999 an animated film using the songs of the musical was released by Warner Bros. Animation. In the same year, Jodie Foster and Chow Yun-fat starred in a new feature-length cinematic adaptation of Leonowens’ books, also titled Anna and the King. One Thai critic complained that the filmmakers had made Mongkut “appear like a cowboy”; this version was also banned by censors in Thailand.

Leonowens appears as a character in Paul Marlowe’s novel Knights of the Sea, in which she travels from Halifax to Baddeck in 1887 to take part in a campaign to promote women’s suffrage during a by-election.

 

Mark David Chapman


Mark_David_Chapman

Mark David Chapman (born May 10, 1955) is an American prison inmate who pled guilty to murdering John Lennon on December 8, 1980. Chapman shot Lennon outside The Dakota apartment building in New York City. Chapman fired at Lennon five times, hitting him four times in his back. Chapman remained at the scene reading J. D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye until the police arrived and arrested him. Chapman repeatedly said that the novel was his statement.
Chapman’s legal team put forward an insanity defense based on expert testimony that he was in a delusional and possibly psychotic state at the time, but nearing the trial, Chapman instructed his lawyer that he wanted to plead guilty, based on what he had decided was the will of God. Judge Edwards allowed the plea change without further psychiatric assessment after Chapman denied hearing voices, and sentenced him to a prison term of twenty years to life with a stipulation that mental health treatment be provided. Chapman was imprisoned in 1981 and has been denied parole eight times amidst campaigns against his release.
Personal background
Chapman was born in Fort Worth, Texas. His father, David Curtis Chapman, was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, and his mother, Diane Elizabeth (née Pease), was a nurse. His younger sister, Susan, was born seven years later. Chapman stated that as a boy, he lived in fear of his father, who he said was physically abusive towards his mother and unloving towards him. Chapman began to fantasize about having king-like power over a group of imaginary “little people” who lived in the walls of his bedroom. Chapman attended Columbia High School in Decatur, Georgia. By the time he was fourteen, Chapman was using drugs, skipping classes, and he once ran away from home to live on the streets of Atlanta for two weeks. He said that he was bullied at school because he was not a good athlete.
In 1971, Chapman became a born again Presbyterian and distributed Biblical tracts. He met his first girlfriend, another Christian named Jessica Blankenship. He began work as a YMCA summer camp counselor; he was very popular with the children, who nicknamed him “Nemo”. He won an award for Outstanding Counselor and was made assistant director. Those who knew him in the caretaking professions unanimously called him an outstanding worker. A friend recommended The Catcher in the Rye to Chapman, and the story eventually took on great personal significance for him, to the extent that he reportedly wished to model his life after its protagonist, Holden Caulfield.[5] After graduating from Columbia High School, Chapman moved for a time to Chicago and played guitar in churches and Christian nightspots while his friend did impersonations. He worked successfully for World Vision with Vietnamese refugees at a resettlement camp at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas, after a brief visit to Lebanon for the same work. He was named an area coordinator and a key aide to the program director, David Moore, who later said that Chapman cared deeply for the children and worked hard. Chapman accompanied Moore to meetings with government officials, and President Gerald Ford shook his hand.
Chapman joined his girlfriend, Jessica Blankenship, as a student at Covenant College, an evangelical Presbyterian liberal arts college in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. However, Chapman fell behind in his studies and became obsessed with guilt over having an affair. He started having suicidal thoughts and began to feel like a failure. He dropped out of Covenant College, and his girlfriend broke off their relationship soon after. He returned to work at the resettlement camp, but left after an argument. Chapman worked as a security guard, eventually taking a week-long course to qualify as an armed guard. He again attempted college but dropped out. He went to Hawaii and then began contemplating suicide. In 1977, Chapman attempted suicide by carbon monoxide asphyxiation. He connected a hose to his car’s exhaust pipe, but the hose melted and the attempt failed. A psychiatrist admitted him to Castle Memorial Hospital for clinical depression. Upon his release, he began working at the hospital. His parents began divorce proceedings, and his mother joined Chapman in Hawaii.
In 1978, Chapman went on a six-week trip around the world, inspired partly by the film Around the World in Eighty Days, visiting Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Delhi, Beirut, Geneva, London, Paris and Dublin. He began a relationship with his travel agent, a Japanese-American woman named Gloria Abe. They married on June 2, 1979. Chapman went to work at Castle Memorial Hospital as a printer, working alone rather than with staff and patients. He was fired by the Castle Memorial Hospital, rehired, then got into a shouting match with a nurse and quit. He took a job as a night security guard and began drinking heavily. Chapman developed a series of obsessions, including artwork, The Catcher in the Rye, music, and John Lennon. He also started talking with the imaginary ‘little people’ again. In September 1980, he wrote a letter to a friend, Lynda Irish, in which he stated, “I’m going nuts.” He signed the letter, “The Catcher in the Rye”. Chapman had no criminal convictions up to this point.
Plan to murder John Lennon
Three months prior to the murder Chapman allegedly started planning to kill Lennon.
He had been a big Beatles fan, idolizing Lennon, and played guitar himself, but turned on him after becoming born-again; he was angered at Lennon’s comment that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.” In the South there were demonstrations, album burnings, boycotts, and projectiles were thrown. Some members of Chapman’s prayer group at Columbia High had sung a twisted version of Imagine referring to Lennon being dead. Chapman’s childhood friend Miles McManushe recalls him referring to the song as “communist”. Jan Reeves, sister of one of Chapman’s best friends, reports that Chapman “seemed really angry toward John Lennon, and he kept saying he could not understand why John Lennon had said it [that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus]. According to Mark, there should be nobody more popular than the Lord Jesus Christ. He said it was blasphemy.”
Chapman had later also been influenced by reading in a library book (John Lennon: One Day at a Time by Anthony Fawcett) about Lennon’s life in New York. According to his wife Gloria, “He was angry that Lennon would preach love and peace but yet have millions [of dollars].” Chapman later said that “He told us to imagine no possessions, and there he was, with millions of dollars and yachts and farms and country estates, laughing at people like me who had believed the lies and bought the records and built a big part of their lives around his music.”
He said that he chose Lennon after seeing him on the cover of The Beatles’ album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. He also recalls having listened to Lennon’s John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album in the weeks before the murder and has stated: “I would listen to this music and I would get angry at him, for saying that he didn’t believe in God… and that he didn’t believe in the Beatles. This was another thing that angered me, even though this record had been done at least 10 years previously. I just wanted to scream out loud, ‘Who does he think he is, saying these things about God and heaven and the Beatles?’ Saying that he doesn’t believe in Jesus and things like that. At that point, my mind was going through a total blackness of anger and rage. So I brought the Lennon book home, into this The Catcher in the Rye milieu where my mindset is Holden Caulfield and anti-phoniness.”
Chapman also said that he had a further list of people in mind, including Johnny Carson, Marlon Brando, Walter Cronkite, Elizabeth Taylor, George C. Scott, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, but that John Lennon seemed to be the easiest to find. He separately said that he was particularly infatuated by Lennon. He also considered committing suicide by jumping from the Statue of Liberty. Chapman’s planning has been described as ‘muddled’. Chapman went to New York in October 1980, intending to kill Lennon. He left for a short while in order to obtain ammunition from his unwitting friend in Atlanta, Dana Reeves, and returned to New York in November.
After being inspired by the film Ordinary People, Chapman returned to Hawaii, telling his wife he had been obsessed with killing Lennon. He showed her the gun and bullets, but she did not inform the police or mental health services. He made an appointment to see a clinical psychologist, but before it occurred he flew back to New York, on December 6, 1980. Chapman says that the message “Thou Shalt Not Kill” flashed on the TV at him, and was also on a wall hanging put up by his wife in their apartment; on the night before the murder, Chapman and his wife discussed on the phone about getting help with his problems by first working on his relationship with God.
On December 7, 1980, the day before the killing, Chapman accosted singer-songwriter James Taylor at the 72nd Street subway station. According to Taylor, “The guy had sort of pinned me to the wall and was glistening with maniacal sweat and talking some freak speak about what he was going to do and his stuff with how John was interested, and he was going to get in touch with John Lennon.” He also reportedly offered cocaine to a taxi driver.
Murder of John Lennon
On December 8, 1980, Chapman left his room at the Sheraton Hotel, leaving personal items behind which the police would later find, and bought a copy of The Catcher in the Rye in which he wrote “This is my statement”, signing it “Holden Caulfield”. He then spent most of the day near the entrance to The Dakota apartment building where Lennon and Yoko Ono lived, talking to fans and the doorman. Early in the morning, a distracted Chapman missed seeing Lennon step out of a cab and enter the Dakota. Later in the morning, Chapman met Lennon’s housekeeper who was returning from a walk with their five-year-old son Sean. Chapman reached in front of the housekeeper to shake Sean’s hand and said that he was a beautiful boy, quoting Lennon’s song “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)”.
Around 5:00 p.m., Lennon and Ono left The Dakota for a recording session at Record Plant Studios. As they walked toward their limousine, Chapman shook hands with Lennon and asked for him to sign a copy of his album, Double Fantasy. Photographer Paul Goresh took a photo of Lennon signing Chapman’s album. Chapman reported that, “At that point my big part won and I wanted to go back to my hotel, but I couldn’t. I waited until he came back. He knew where the ducks went in winter, and I needed to know this” (a reference to The Catcher in the Rye).
Around 10:49 p.m., the Lennons’ limousine returned to the Dakota. Lennon and Ono got out, passed Chapman and walked toward the archway entrance of the building. From the street behind them, Chapman fired five shots from a .38 special revolver, four of which hit Lennon in the back and left shoulder. The death certificate gives the following description: “Multiple gunshot wounds of left shoulder and chest; Left lung and left subclavian artery; External and internal hemorrhage. Shock.”
At the time, one newspaper reported that, before firing, Chapman softly called out “Mr. Lennon” and dropped into a crouched position. Chapman said that he does not recall saying anything and that Lennon did not turn around.
Chapman remained at the scene, appearing to be reading The Catcher in the Rye, until the police arrived. The New York City Police Department officers who first responded, recognizing that Lennon’s wounds were severe, decided to transport him to Roosevelt Hospital. Chapman was arrested without incident. In his statement to police three hours later, Chapman stated, “I’m sure the big part of me is Holden Caulfield, who is the main person in the book. The small part of me must be the Devil.” Lennon was pronounced dead by Dr. Stephan Lynn at 11:07 p.m. at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center.
Legal process
Chapman was charged with second degree murder. Gloria Chapman, who had known of Chapman’s preparations for killing Lennon, hired an attorney who stated at a press conference: “Gloria did not do anything or participate in any way in this trip in a knowing way or in a way in which she did consciously in any way lend any support to Mark’s actions”.
Mental state assessment
More than a dozen psychologists and psychiatrists studied Chapman in the six months to the scheduled trial – three for the prosecution, six for the defense and several more on behalf of the court – involving batteries of tests and over 200 hours of clinical interviews. None concluded that he was feigning or malingering. In fact Chapman cooperated more with the prosecution experts than the defense. The court experts who examined Chapman at Bellevue Hospital concluded that he was delusional yet competent to stand trial. However their report stated that he “may continue to have psychotic episodes” and warned of “fluctuations of mood and…cooperation” with his legal counsel.
The six defense experts declared that Chapman was psychotic (five making a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and one of psychotic manic depression) while the three prosecution experts declared that his delusions fell short of psychosis and instead diagnosed various personality disorders.
Chapman was also seen by religious officials. Initially by Rev. Charles McGowan, pastor of Chapman’s old church Chapel Woods Presbyterian, which resulted in Chapman renewing his belief in God and Satan. However they fell out when McGowan released personal details to the media, and for the time being Chapman returned to emphasizing The Catcher in the Rye and wanting a trial to publicize it further.
Plea
Lawyer Herbert Adlerberg was assigned to represent Chapman but, amid threats of lynching, withdrew. Police feared that Lennon fans might storm the hospital so they transferred Chapman to Rikers Island.
In January 1981, at the initial hearing, Chapman’s new lawyer, Jonathan Marks, entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. In February, Chapman sent a handwritten statement to The New York Times urging everyone to read The Catcher in the Rye, calling it an “extraordinary book that holds many answers.” The defense team sought to establish witnesses as to Chapman’s mental state at the time of the killing. It was reported they were confident he would be found not guilty by reason of insanity, in which case he would have been committed to a state mental hospital and received treatment.
However, in June, Chapman told Marks he wanted to drop the insanity defense and plead guilty. Marks objected with “serious questions” over Chapman’s sanity, and legally challenged his competence to make this decision. In the pursuant hearing on June 22, Chapman said that God had told him to plead guilty and that he would not change his plea or ever appeal, regardless of his sentence. Marks told the court that he opposed Chapman’s change of plea but that Chapman would not listen to him. Judge Dennis Edwards refused a further assessment, saying that Chapman had made the decision of his own free will, and declared him competent to plead guilty.
Sentencing
On August 24, 1981 the sentencing hearing took place. Two experts gave evidence on Chapman’s behalf. Judge Edwards interrupted Dorothy Otnow Lewis, a research psychiatrist then relatively inexperienced in the courtroom, indicating that the purpose of the hearing was to determine the sentence and that there was no question of Chapman’s criminal responsibility. Lewis has maintained that Chapman’s decision to change his plea did not appear reasonable or explicable, and she implies the judge did not want to allow an independent competency assessment. The district attorney argued that Chapman committed the murder as an easy route to fame. When Chapman was asked if he had anything to say, he rose and read the passage from The Catcher in the Rye, when Holden tells his little sister, Phoebe, what he wants to do with his life:
Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all.
The judge ordered psychiatric treatment in prison and sentenced Chapman to 20-years-to-life, 5 years less than the maximum sentence of 25-years-to-life. Chapman was given five years less than the maximum because he pled guilty to second degree murder, thereby avoiding the time and expense of a trial.
Imprisonment
In 1981, Chapman was imprisoned at Attica, outside of Buffalo, New York. After Chapman fasted for 26 days in February 1982, the New York State Supreme Court authorized the state to force feed him. Martin Von Holden, the director of the Central New York Psychiatric Center, said that Chapman still refused to eat with other inmates but agreed to take liquid nutrients. Chapman was confined to a Special Handling Unit (SHU) for violent and at-risk prisoners, in part due to concern that he might be harmed by Lennon’s fans in the general population. There were 105 prisoners in the building who were “not considered a threat to him,” according to the New York State Department of Correctional Services. He had his own prison cell, but spent “most of his day outside his cell working on housekeeping and in the library.”
Chapman worked in the prison as a legal clerk and kitchen helper. He was barred from participating in the Cephas Attica workshops, a charitable organization which helps inmates to adjust to life outside prison. He was also prohibited from attending the prison’s violence and anger management classes due to concern for his safety. Chapman reportedly likes to read and write short stories. In his parole board hearing in 2004 he described his plans; “I would immediately try to find a job, and I really want to go from place to place, at least in the state, church to church, and tell people what happened to me and point them the way to Christ.” He also said that he thought that there was a possibility he could find work as a farmhand or return to his previous trade as a printer. The Daily Mirror reported he wanted to set up a church with his wife.
Chapman is in the Family Reunion Program, and is allowed one conjugal visit a year with his wife, since he accepted solitary confinement. The program allows him to spend up to 42 hours alone with his wife in a specially built prison home. He also gets occasional visits from his sister, clergy, and a few friends. In 2004, James Flateau, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Correctional Services, said that Chapman had been involved in three “minor incidents” between 1989 and 1994 for delaying an inmate count and refusing to follow an order. Chapman was transferred to the Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, New York, which is east of Buffalo, on May 15, 2012.
Parole applications and campaigns
As a result of his 20-year sentence, Chapman first became eligible for parole in 2000; he is entitled to a hearing every two years. Since that time, Chapman has been denied parole eight times by a three-member board. Before Chapman’s first hearing, Yoko Ono sent a letter to the board resisting his release. In addition, State Senator Michael Nozzolio, chairman of the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee, wrote to Parole Board Chairman Brion Travis saying, “It is the responsibility of the New York State Parole Board to ensure that public safety is protected from the release of dangerous criminals like Chapman.”
At the 50-minute hearing in 2000, Chapman said that he was not a danger to society. The parole board concluded that releasing Chapman would “deprecate the seriousness of the crime and serve to undermine respect for the law” and that Chapman’s granting of media interviews represented a continued interest in “maintaining your notoriety.” They noted that although Chapman had a good disciplinary record while in prison, he had been in the SHU and didn’t access “anti-violence and/or anti-aggression programming.” Robert Gangi, a lawyer for the Correctional Association of New York, said that he thought it unlikely Chapman would ever be freed because the board would not risk the “political heat” of releasing Lennon’s killer. In 2002, the parole board stated again that releasing Chapman after 22 years in prison would “deprecate the seriousness” of the crime, and that while his behavioral record continued to be positive, it was no predictor of his potential community behavior. The parole board held a third hearing in 2004, and declined parole yet again. One of the reasons given by the board was having subjected Ono to “monumental suffering by her witnessing the crime.” Another factor was concern for Chapman’s safety; several Lennon fans had threatened to kill him if he were released. Ono’s letter opposing his release stated that Chapman would not be safe outside of prison. The board reported that its decision was based on the interview, a review of records and deliberation. Around 6,000 people had signed an online petition against Chapman’s release by this time.
In October 2006, the parole board held a 16-minute hearing and concluded that his release would not be in the best interest of the community or his own personal safety. On December 8, 2006, the 26th anniversary of Lennon’s death, Yoko Ono published a one-page advertisement in several newspapers saying that December 8 should be a “day of forgiveness,” and that she was not yet sure if she was ready to forgive Chapman. Chapman’s fifth hearing was on August 12, 2008. He was denied parole “due to concern for the public safety and welfare.” On July 27, 2010, in advance of Chapman’s scheduled sixth parole hearing, Ono said that she would again oppose parole for Chapman stating that her safety, that of John’s sons, and Chapman’s would be at risk. She added, “I am afraid it will bring back the nightmare, the chaos and confusion [of that night] once again.” On August 11, 2010, the parole board postponed the hearing until September, stating that it was awaiting the receipt of additional information to complete Chapman’s record. On September 7, the board denied Chapman’s latest parole application, with the panel stating “release remains inappropriate at this time and incompatible with the welfare of the community.”
It was announced on August 18, 2012, that Chapman would have his seventh parole hearing the week beginning August 20. However, Chapman was denied parole by a three-member board who stated, “Despite your positive efforts while incarcerated, your release at this time would greatly undermine respect for the law and tend to trivialize the tragic loss of life which you caused as a result of this heinous, unprovoked, violent, cold and calculated crime.” Chapman’s eighth parole application was denied on August 22, 2014. Chapman’s next scheduled parole hearing will be in August 2016.
Impact
Following the murder, and for the first six years in Attica, Chapman refused all requests for interviews. James R. Gaines interviewed him and wrote a three-part, 18,000-word People magazine series in February and March 1987. Chapman told the parole board he regretted the interview. Chapman later gave a series of audio-taped interviews to Jack Jones of the Democrat and Chronicle. In 1992 Jones published a book, Let Me Take You Down: Inside the Mind of Mark David Chapman, the Man Who Killed John Lennon.
Also in 1992, Chapman gave two television interviews. On December 4, 1992, 20/20 aired an interview that he gave to Barbara Walters, his first television interview since the shooting. On December 17, 1992, Larry King interviewed Chapman on his program Larry King Live. In 2000, with his first parole hearing approaching, Jack Jones asked Chapman to tell his story for Mugshots, a CourtTV program. Chapman refused to go on camera but, after praying over it, consented to tell his story in a series of audiotapes.
Chapman’s experiences during the weekend on which he committed the murder have been turned into a feature-length movie called Chapter 27, in which he was played by Jared Leto. The film was written and directed by Jarrett Schaefer and is based on the Jones book. The film’s title is a reference to The Catcher in the Rye, which has 26 chapters. Chapter 27 premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2007 and received polarized reactions from critics. The film had a limited release in theaters in the United States in March 2008. Chapter 27 was released widely onto DVD on September 30, 2008. Another film was made before the feature film entitled The Killing of John Lennon starring Jonas Ball as Chapman, which documents Chapman’s life before and up to the murder and portrays Chapman in a somewhat sympathetic light. The film features Ball as Chapman narrating the film and states that all the words are Chapman’s own.
A number of conspiracy theories have been published, based on CIA and FBI surveillance of Lennon due to his left-wing activism, and on the actions of Mark Chapman in the murder or subsequent legal proceedings. Journalist Fenton Bresler raised the idea in a book published in 1990. Liverpool playwright Ian Carroll, who has staged a drama conveying the theory that Chapman was manipulated by a rogue wing of the CIA, suggests Chapman wasn’t so crazy that he couldn’t manage a long trip from Hawaii to New York shortly prior to the murder. Claims include that Chapman was a Manchurian candidate, including speculation on links to the CIA’s Project MKULTRA. At least one author has argued that forensic evidence proves Chapman did not commit the murder, while others have criticized the theories as based on possible or suspected connections and circumstances.
In 1982, Rhino Records released a compilation of Beatles-related novelty and parody songs, called Beatlesongs. It featured a cover caricature of Chapman by William Stout. Following its release, Rhino recalled the record and replaced it with another cover. New York based band Mindless Self Indulgence released a track entitled “Mark David Chapman” on their album If. Irish band The Cranberries recorded a song called “I Just Shot John Lennon,” for their 1996 album To the Faithful Departed. It cites events that took place outside the Dakota on the night of Lennon’s murder. The title of the song comes from Chapman’s own words.
Austin, Texas-based art rock band …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead have also released a song called “Mark David Chapman” from their 1999 album Madonna. Julian Cope’s 1988 album Autogeddon contains a song called “Don’t Call Me Mark Chapman” whose lyrics suggest it is told from the point of view of Lennon’s murderer. Filipino band Rivermaya released a song called “Hangman (I Shot the Walrus)” on their album Atomic Bomb (1997), supposedly written from Mark Chapman’s point of view.
Chapman’s obsession with the central character and message of the The Catcher in the Rye added to controversy about the novel. Some links have been drawn between Chapman’s and the book’s themes of adolescent sensitivity and depression on the one hand, and anti-social and violent thoughts on the other. This connection was made in the play Six Degrees of Separation and its film adaptation by the character played by Will Smith.
Links have sometimes been drawn between Chapman’s actions and those of other killers or attempted killers. John Hinckley, who only months later tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan, was also associated with The Catcher in the Rye. More recently, a writer who experienced mental illness in the same city as Jared Loughner has suggested that examples such as Chapman’s show the need to challenge stigma about mental health problems and ensure there are good community mental health services including crisis intervention.

Monica Lewinsky


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Monica Samille Lewinsky (born July 23, 1973) is a former White House intern with whom United States President Bill Clinton admitted to having had an “inappropriate relationship” while she worked at the White House in 1995 and 1996. The affair and its repercussions, which included the Clinton impeachment, became known as the Lewinsky scandal.

As a result of the scandal, Lewinsky gained worldwide celebrity status; she subsequently engaged in a variety of ventures including designing a line of handbags under her name, being an advertising spokesperson for a diet plan, working as a television personality, and finally moving to London to pursue a master’s degree in psychology.

Early life and education

Monica Samille Lewinsky was born in San Francisco, California, and grew up in an affluent family in Southern California in the Westside Brentwood area of Los Angeles and in Beverly Hills. Her father is Bernard Lewinsky, an oncologist, who is the son of German Jews who escaped Nazi Germany and emigrated to El Salvador and later the United States. Her mother, born Marcia Kay Vilensky, is an author who uses the name Marcia Lewis. Monica’s maternal grandfather, Samuel M. Vilensky, was a Lithuanian Jew, and Monica’s maternal grandmother, Bronia Poleshuk, was born in the British Concession of Tianjin, China, to a Russian Jewish family. Monica’s parents’ acrimonious separation and divorce during 1987 and 1988 had a significant effect on her. Her father later married his current wife, Barbara; her mother later married R. Peter Straus, a media executive and former director of the Voice of America under President Jimmy Carter.

The family attended Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and Monica attended Sinai Akiba Academy, its religious school. For her primary education she attended the John Thomas Dye School in Bel-Air. She then attended Beverly Hills High School, but for her senior year transferred to, and graduated from, Bel Air Prep (later known as Pacific Hills School) in 1991.

Following high school graduation, Lewinsky attended Santa Monica College, a two-year community college, and worked for the drama department at Beverly Hills High School and at a tie shop. In 1992, she began a five-year affair with Andy Bleiler, her married former high school drama instructor. In 1993, she enrolled at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, graduating with a psychology degree in 1995.

With the assistance of a family connection, Lewinsky got an unpaid summer White House internship in the office of White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta. Lewinsky moved to Washington, D.C. and took up the position in July 1995. She moved to a paid position in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs in December 1995.

Scandal

Lewinsky alleged that between November 1995 and March 1997, she had nine sexual encounters with then-President Bill Clinton that, according to her testimony, involved fellatio and other sexual acts in the Oval Office, but not sexual intercourse.

Clinton previously had been confronted with allegations of sexual misconduct during his time as Governor of Arkansas, including a civil lawsuit filed against him by former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones, alleging that he had sexually harassed her. Lewinsky’s name surfaced during the discovery phase of Jones’ case, when Jones’ lawyers sought to show a pattern of behavior by Clinton that involved sexual relationships with other government employees.

In April 1996, Lewinsky’s superiors transferred her from the White House to The Pentagon because they felt she was spending too much time around Clinton. There she worked as an assistant to chief Pentagon spokesperson Kenneth Bacon. Lewinsky told co-worker Linda Tripp about her relationship with the President. Beginning in September 1997, Tripp began secretly recording their telephone conversations regarding the affair with Clinton. In December 1997, Lewinsky left the Pentagon position. In January 1998, after Lewinsky had submitted an affidavit in the Paula Jones case denying any physical relationship with Clinton, and had attempted to persuade Tripp to lie under oath in that case, Tripp gave the tapes to Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, adding to his ongoing investigation into the Whitewater controversy. Starr then broadened his investigation beyond the Arkansas land use deal to include Lewinsky, Clinton, and others for possible perjury and subornation of perjury in the Jones case. Tripp reported the taped conversations to literary agent Lucianne Goldberg. She also convinced Lewinsky to save the gifts that Clinton had given her during their relationship, and not to dry clean what would later become known as “the blue dress”. Under oath, Clinton denied having had “a sexual affair”, “sexual relations”, or “a sexual relationship” with Lewinsky.

News of the Clinton–Lewinsky relationship broke in January 1998. On January 26, 1998, Clinton stated, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky” in a nationally televised White House news conference. The matter instantly occupied the news media, and Lewinsky spent the next weeks hiding from public attention in her mother’s residence at the Watergate complex. News of Lewinsky’s affair with Bleiler also came to light, and he turned over to Starr various souvenirs, photographs, and documents that Lewinsky had sent him and his wife during the time she was in the White House.

Clinton had also said, “there is not a sexual relationship, an improper sexual relationship or any other kind of improper relationship” which he defended as truthful on August 17, 1998, hearing because of the use of the present tense, famously arguing “it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is” (i.e., he was not, at the time he made that statement, still in a sexual relationship with Lewinsky). Under pressure from Starr, who had obtained from Lewinsky a blue dress with Clinton’s semen stain, as well as testimony from Lewinsky that the President had inserted a cigar tube into her vagina, Clinton stated, “I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate.” Clinton denied having committed perjury because, according to Clinton, the legal definition of oral sex was not encompassed by “sex” per se. In addition, relying upon the definition of “sexual relations” as proposed by the prosecution and agreed by the defense and by Judge Susan Webber Wright, who was hearing the Paula Jones case, Clinton claimed that because certain acts were performed on him, not by him, he did not engage in sexual relations. Lewinsky’s testimony to the Starr Commission, however, contradicted Clinton’s claim of being totally passive in their encounters.

Both Clinton and Lewinsky were called before a grand jury; Clinton testified via closed-circuit television, Lewinsky in person. She was granted transactional immunity by the United States Office of the Independent Counsel, in exchange for her testimony.

Life after the scandal

The affair led to pop culture celebrity for Lewinsky as she had become the focus of a political storm. Her immunity agreement restricted what she could talk about publicly, but she was able to cooperate with Andrew Morton in his writing of Monica’s Story, a biography of her life including her side of the Clinton affair. The book was published in March 1999 and also was excerpted as a cover story in Time magazine. On March 3, 1999, Lewinsky was interviewed by Barbara Walters on ABC’s 20/20. The program was watched by 70 million Americans, which ABC said was a record for a news show. Lewinsky made about $500,000 from her participation in the book and another $1 million from international rights to the Walters interview, but was still beset by high legal bills and living costs.

In June 1999, Ms. Magazine published a series of articles by writer Susan Jane Gilman, sexologist Susie Bright, and author-host Abiola Abrams arguing from three generations of women whether Lewinsky’s behavior had any meaning for feminism. Also in 1999, Lewinsky declined to sign an autograph in an airport, saying, “I’m kind of known for something that’s not so great to be known for.” She made a cameo appearance as herself in two sketches during the May 8, 1999, episode of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, a program that had lampooned her relationship with Clinton over the prior 16 months.

By her own account Lewinsky had survived the intense media attention during the scandal period by knitting. In September 1999, Lewinsky took this interest further by beginning to sell a line of handbags bearing her name under the company name The Real Monica, Inc. They were sold online as well as at Henri Bendel in New York, Fred Segal in California, and The Cross in London. Lewinsky designed the bags—described by New York magazine as “hippie-ish, reversible totes”—and traveled frequently to supervise their manufacturing in Louisiana.

At the start of 2000, Lewinsky began appearing in television commercials for diet company Jenny Craig, Inc. The $1 million endorsement deal, which required Lewinsky to lose 40 or more pounds in six months, gained considerable publicity at the time. Lewinsky said that despite her desire to return to a more private life, she needed the money to pay off legal fees and that she believed in the product. A Jenny Craig spokesperson said of Lewinsky, “She represents a busy active woman of today with a hectic lifestyle. And she has had weight issues and weight struggles for a long time. That represents a lot of women in America.” The choice of Lewinsky as a role model proved controversial for Jenny Craig, and some of its private franchises switched to an older advertising campaign. The company stopped running the Lewinsky ads in February 2000, concluded her campaign entirely in April 2000, and paid her only $300,000 of the $1 million contracted for her involvement.

Also at the start of 2000, Lewinsky moved to New York City, living in the West Village and becoming an A-list guest in the Manhattan social scene. In February 2000, she appeared on MTV’s The Tom Green Show in an episode in which the host took her to his parents’ home in Ottawa in search of fabric for her new handbag business. Later in 2000, Lewinsky worked as a correspondent for British Channel 5 on the show Monica’s Postcards, reporting on U.S. culture and trends from a variety of locations.

In March 2002, Lewinsky, no longer bound by the terms of her immunity agreement, appeared in the HBO special, “Monica in Black and White”, part of the America Undercover series. In it she answered a studio audience’s questions about her life and the Clinton affair.

Lewinsky was the host of the reality television dating program, Mr. Personality, on Fox Television Network in 2003, where she advised young women contestants who were picking men hidden by masks. Some Americans tried to organize a boycott of advertisers on the show, in protest of Lewinsky capitalizing on her notoriety. Nevertheless, the show debuted to very high ratings, and Alessandra Stanley wrote in The New York Times that “after years of trying to cash in on her fame by designing handbags and other self-marketing schemes, Ms. Lewinsky has finally found a fitting niche on television.” The ratings, however, slid downward each successive week, and after the show completed its initial limited run, it did not reappear. The same year she appeared as a guest on the programs V Graham Norton in the UK, High Chaparall in Sweden, and The View and Jimmy Kimmel Live! in the U.S.

After Clinton’s autobiography My Life appeared in 2004, Lewinsky said in an interview with the British tabloid Daily Mail:

He could have made it right with the book, but he hasn’t. He is a revisionist of history. He has lied. […] I really didn’t expect him to go into detail about our relationship. […] But if he had and he’d done it honestly, I wouldn’t have minded. […] I did, though, at least expect him to correct the false statements he made when he was trying to protect the Presidency. Instead, he talked about it as though I had laid it all out there for the taking. I was the buffet and he just couldn’t resist the dessert. […] This was a mutual relationship, mutual on all levels, right from the way it started and all the way through. […] I don’t accept that he had to completely desecrate my character.

By 2005, Lewinsky found that she could not escape the spotlight in the U.S., which made both her professional and personal life difficult. She stopped selling her handbag line and moved to London to study social psychology at the London School of Economics. In December 2006, Lewinsky graduated with a Master of Science degree. Her thesis was titled “In Search of the Impartial Juror: An Exploration of the Third-Person Effect and Pre-Trial Publicity.” For the next decade she tried to avoid publicity.

Lewinsky did correspond in 2009 with scholar Ken Gormley, who was writing an in-depth study of the Clinton scandals, maintaining that Clinton had lied under oath when asked detailed and specific questions about his relationship with her. In 2013, the items associated with Lewinsky that Bleiler had turned over to Starr were put up for auction by Bleiler’s ex-wife, who had come into possession of them.

During her decade out of the public eye, Lewinsky lived in London, Los Angeles, New York, and Portland, but due to her notoriety had trouble finding employment in the communications and marketing jobs for nonprofit organizations that she interviewed at. By 2014, she had still not held a full-time job since leaving the Pentagon in 1997. A stable relationship leading to marriage, which she reportedly desired, had also not happened.

In May 2014, Lewinsky wrote an essay for Vanity Fair magazine titled “Shame and Survival” where she discusses her life and the scandal. She continues to maintain that the relationship was mutual and wrote that while Clinton took advantage of her, it was a consensual relationship. She added: “I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton. Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.” However, she said it was now time to “stick my head above the parapet so that I can take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past.”

In 2014, Lewinsky was interviewed on a three-part TV special airing on The National Geographic Channel titled, The 90s: The Last Great Decade. The series looked at various events of the 1990s, including the scandal that brought Lewinsky into the national spotlight. This was Lewinsky’s first TV interview in more than 10 years.

Harold Rudolf Foster


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Harold Rudolf Foster (August 16, 1892 – July 25, 1982), better known as Hal Foster, was a Canadian-American illustrator and writer best known as the creator of the comic strip Prince Valiant. His drawing style is noted for a high level of draftsmanship and attention to detail.

Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Foster rode his bike to the United States in 1919. In 1928, he began one of the earliest adventure comic strips, an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan. In 1937, he created his signature strip, the weekly Prince Valiant, a fantasy adventure set in medieval times. The strip featured Foster’s dextrous, detailed artwork; Foster eschewed word balloons, preferring to have narration and dialogue in captions.

Early life

Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Foster was a staff artist for the Hudson’s Bay Company in Winnipeg and rode his bike to Chicago in 1919 where he studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and soon found illustration assignments. The illustrator J. C. Leyendecker was an early influence on Foster.

Foster’s Tarzan comic strip, adapted from Edgar Rice Burroughs’s novels, began October 20, 1928. Foster returned to do the Tarzan Sunday strip beginning September 27, 1931, continuing until Burne Hogarth took over the Sunday Tarzan on May 9, 1937. He soon grew tired of working on an adaptation and began planning his own creation.

Prince Valiant

William Randolph Hearst, who had long wanted Foster to do a comic strip for his newspapers, was so impressed with Foster’s pitch for Prince Valiant that he promised Foster a 50-50 split of the gross income on the strip, a very rare offer in those days. Prince Valiant premiered on February 13, 1937, continuing for decades. In 1944, Foster and his wife Helen moved from Topeka to Redding Ridge, Connecticut. In 1954, the couple was seen on television’s This Is Your Life. In 1971, the Fosters retired to Spring Hill, Florida. In 1967, Woody Gelman revived some of Foster’s earlier work for his Nostalgia Press.

Retirement

In 1970, Foster was suffering from arthritis and began planning his retirement. He had several artists draw Sunday pages before choosing John Cullen Murphy as his collaborator and permanent replacement in 1971. Murphy drew the strip from Foster scripts and pencil sketches. Foster stopped illustrating (and signing) the Prince Valiant pages in 1975. For several years, he continued writing the strip and doing fairly detailed layouts for Murphy, eventually doing less and less of both the writing and art until prolonged anesthesia during an operation took his memory and he no longer remembered ever doing Prince Valiant.

Foster attended the Comic Art Convention in 1969, and the OrlandoCon in 1974 and 1975.

Foster was 73 when he was elected to membership in Great Britain’s Royal Society of Arts, an honor given to very few Americans.

Foster died in Spring Hill in 1982.

Influence and Legacy

Foster is a seminal figure in the history of comics, especially action-adventure strips. R.C. Harvey argues that Foster and Flash Gordon artist Alex Raymond “created the visual standard by which all such comic strips would henceforth be measured.”

Foster’s clear yet detailed panels, uncluttered by word balloons, were appreciated by contemporaries of his generation such as Lynd Ward, but perhaps his greatest impact was on the young artists who drove the Golden Age of Comics. Foster was a major influence on this generation, many of whom went on to become iconic and influential artists themselves. Joe Kubert called Foster, Raymond and Milton Caniff the “three saints” of comic art in the 1930s and 40s. Several sources have identified early work by Joe Simon, Jack Kirby and Bob Kane as swipes from Foster, and Kirby claimed that he “cannibalized” Foster’s style, among others. Kirby also stated that the character design for Etrigan the Demon was an homage to Foster, taken from a Prince Valiant strip. Wally Wood was “obsessed” with Foster’s work, and began copying his newspaper strips at the age of two. Frank Frazetta called Foster’s work on Tarzan “perfection, a landmark in American twentieth-century art that will never be surpassed.” Among the many other artists who have cited Foster as an important influence are Carl Barks Steve Ditko, Mark Schultz, William Stout, Bill Ward, and Al Williamson. Williamson, who met Foster on a few occasions, described him as “a very stern gentleman, very stern, no nonsense. You could never call him Hal or Harold, it’s Mr. Foster. … you don’t see that kind of people anymore, the ones that really command your respect.”

In his review of Prince Valiant for The Comics Journal, Matt Seneca wrote “as far as long-form serialized action comics go, the only equal to Foster American comics have produced is Kirby, and Kirby was never shy about proclaiming his debts to the master.”

Awards

Foster was recognized for his work by the National Cartoonists Society with the Reuben Award in 1957, the Story Comic Strip Award in 1964, the Special Features Award in 1966 and 1967, all for Prince Valiant. He received the Elzie Segar Award in 1978 and the Gold Key Award (their Hall of Fame) in 1977. Foster was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Joe Shuster Canadian Comic Book Creators Hall of Fame for his contributions to comic books in 2005, both posthumously. The latter award was accepted on behalf of the family by writer-artist Dave Sim, a longtime admirer of Foster’s work.

Foster was inducted posthumously into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame in 2006.

Lawrencia “Bambi” Bembenek


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Lawrencia “Bambi” Bembenek (August 15, 1958 – November 20, 2010), known as Laurie Bembenek, was an American convicted of murdering her husband’s ex-wife. Her story garnered national attention after she escaped from Taycheedah Correctional Institution and was recaptured in Canada, an episode which inspired books, movies and the slogan “Run, Bambi, Run”. Upon winning a new trial, she pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and was sentenced to time served and ten years probation. For years after, she sought to have the sentence overturned.

Bembenek was a former Milwaukee police officer who had been fired and had gone on to sue the department, claiming that it engaged in sexual discrimination and other illegal activities. She worked briefly as a waitress at a Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Playboy Club. At the time of her arrest, she was working for Marquette University’s Public Safety Department in downtown Milwaukee.

On November 20, 2010, Bembenek died at a hospice facility in Portland, Oregon, at the age of 52.

Biography

Bembenek was born on August 15, 1958. In March 1980, she joined the Milwaukee Police Department as a trainee. There she met and became close with a fellow trainee named Judy Zess. At a rock concert in May 1980, Zess was arrested for smoking marijuana. Bembenek’s subsequent dismissal from the police department on August 25 stemmed from her involvement in filing a false report on Zess’ arrest.

Murder of Christine Schultz

On May 28, 1981, at approximately 2:15am, 30-year-old Christine Schultz was murdered by a single .38 caliber pistol shot fired point-blank into her back and through her heart. She had been gagged and blindfolded and her hands were tied in front of her with rope. Her two sons, then 7 and 11 years old, found her face down on her bed and bleeding. The older boy, Sean, had seen the assailant and described him as a masked male figure in a green army jacket and black shoes. He also said the man had a long (approx. 6″ or 15 cm) reddish-colored ponytail.

Christine Schultz was the ex-wife of Laurie Bembenek’s then-husband, Elfred “Fred” Schultz, a Milwaukee Police Department detective. They had been divorced six months at the time of the murder. Fred Schultz initially stated he was on duty investigating a burglary with his partner, Michael Durfee, at the time of the murder, but years later he admitted they were actually drinking at a local bar. When ballistics testing revealed it was his off-duty revolver that had been the murder weapon, suspicion shifted to Laurie Bembenek, as she had been alone in the apartment she shared with Schultz and had access to both the gun and a key to Christine’s house that Fred Schultz had secretly copied from his oldest son’s house key.

Fred Schultz had previously been exonerated in the fatal shooting of a Glendale, Wisconsin, police officer on July 23, 1975. The Glendale officer, George Robert Sassan, had arrested a subject in a bar while off-duty. Milwaukee police officers, including Schultz, responded to the call in suburban Glendale (outside their jurisdiction), reportedly mistook Sassan for a suspect and shot him to death when he turned toward them, holding a gun. Schultz and his partner were cleared by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office in the shooting.

Trial

Bembenek’s trial generated tremendous publicity, and newspapers began referring to her as “Bambi” Bembenek (a nickname she disliked). The prosecution portrayed her as a loose woman addicted to expensive living who wanted Christine Schultz dead so that her new husband would no longer have to pay alimony. The prosecution pointed out that Bembenek also had financial problems. The prosecution claimed that Bembenek was the only person with the motive, means and opportunity to carry out the crime. The strongest evidence was two human hairs found at the crime scene, which matched ones taken from the hairbrush of the defendant. The gun used to kill Christine Schultz turned out to be Bembenek’s husband’s off-duty revolver. The prosecution claimed that Bembenek was the only person besides Fred Schultz who had access to this weapon. Blood was found on the gun. Bembenek supposedly also had access to a key to Christine Schultz’s home. There were no signs of a break-in and no valuables taken. Schultz’s eldest son, however, stated that Bembenek was not the person who had held up their house and shot his mother.

Witnesses testified that Bembenek had spoken often of killing Christine Schultz. The prosecution produced a witness who said Bembenek offered to pay him to carry out the murder. According to witnesses for the prosecution, Bembenek owned a green jogging suit similar to the one described by Schultz’s son. It was pointed out that Bembenek owned a clothes line and a blue bandanna similar to what was used to bind and gag the victim. A wig found in the plumbing system of Bembenek’s apartment matched fibers found at the murder scene. A boutique employee testified that Bembenek purchased such a wig shortly before the murder.

Conviction

She was found guilty of first-degree murder in March 1982 and sentenced to life in prison in Taycheedah Correctional Institution.

Post-trial publicity

Shortly after Bembenek’s conviction, Fred Schultz filed for divorce and began saying publicly that he now believed Bembenek was guilty. Bembenek filed three unsuccessful appeals of her conviction, citing police errors in handling of key evidence and the fact that one of the prosecution’s witnesses, Judy Zess, had recanted her testimony, stating it was made under duress. Bembenek and her supporters also alleged that Milwaukee police may have singled her out for prosecution because of her role as a key witness in a federal investigation into police corruption. Bembenek’s supporters suggested that Fred Schultz may have arranged to have someone else murder his ex-wife. One possible candidate was Frederick Horenberger, a career criminal who briefly worked with Schultz on a remodeling project and was a former boyfriend of Judy Zess. A disguised Horenberger had robbed and beaten Judy Zess several weeks prior to Christine Schultz’s murder and would later serve a ten-year sentence for that crime.

According to a number of affidavits which emerged following Bembenek’s conviction, Horenberger boasted of killing Schultz to other inmates while he was in jail. Yet publicly, Horenberger vehemently denied any involvement in the Schultz murder up until his suicide in November 1991, following a robbery and hostage-taking stand-off in which he had been involved.

There were questions raised as to the accuracy of the information and the evidence used in the trial. Dr. Elaine Samuels, the medical examiner who conducted the autopsy, had originally concluded that hairs recovered from the body were consistent with that of the victim; after Dr. Samuels had come to that conclusion, the hair evidence was examined by Diane Hanson, a hair analyst from a crime lab in Madison, Wisconsin. Hanson stated that two of the hairs were consistent with samples taken from Laurie Bembenek’s hairbrush. Dr. Samuels refuted that claim, stating in a 1983 letter, quoted in the Toronto Star in 1991, that “I recovered no blonde or red hairs of any length or texture … [A]ll of the hairs I recovered from the body were brown and were grossly identical to the hair of the victim … [I] do not like to suggest that evidence was altered in any way, but I can find no logical explanation for what amounted to the mysterious appearance of blonde hair in an envelope that contained no such hair at the time it was sealed by me.”

The apartment where Laurie and Fred lived shared drainage with another apartment. In the shared drainpipe was found a brownish-red wig which matched some of the hairs found on the victim’s body. The woman who occupied the other apartment testified that Judy Zess had knocked on her door and asked to use her bathroom; after Zess used the woman’s bathroom, the plumbing was mysteriously clogged. Also, Zess had admitted to owning a brownish-red wig.

In prison, Bembenek was hardly a model inmate, constantly bragging about how she was a celebrity inmate who deserved special treatment, while thinking about escape. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin–Parkside and helped found a prisoners’ newspaper. She also met and became engaged to Dominic Gugliatto, who had been visiting another inmate. On July 15, 1990, she escaped from prison with Gugliatto’s help. Her escape reignited publicity surrounding her case, and she became something of a folk hero. A song was written about her, and T-shirts were sold with the slogan “Run, Bambi, Run”.

She fled with Gugliatto to Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, while sensational stories about their relationship swirled through American tabloids. The couple spent three months as fugitives before being apprehended. Gugliatto was sentenced to one year in prison for his role in the escape. Bembenek, however, sought refugee status in Canada, claiming that she was being persecuted by a conspiracy between the police department and the judicial system in Wisconsin. The Canadian government showed some sympathy for her case, and before returning her to Wisconsin, obtained a commitment that Milwaukee officials would conduct a judicial review of her case. The review did not find evidence of crimes by police or prosecutors, but detailed seven major police blunders which had occurred during the Christine Schultz murder investigation, and she won the right to a new trial. Rather than risk a second conviction, however, Bembenek pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and received a reduced sentence which was commuted to time served. She was released from prison in November 1992, having served a little over ten years.

Life after prison

Bembenek wrote a book about her experience, titled Woman on Trial.After her release, she had various legal and personal problems. She was arrested again on marijuana possession charges and filed for bankruptcy, as well as developing hepatitis C and other health problems. She also admitted to being an alcoholic. She legally changed her name to Laurie Bembenek in 1994.

In 1996, she moved to Washington state to be near her retired parents in Vancouver.[13] There she met a local resident, U.S. Forest Service employee Marty Carson, whom she eventually married.

Bembenek was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, complicated by a growing addiction to alcohol. As a form of therapy, Carson encouraged her to devote time to her passion of painting. Bembenek had made paintings since childhood, and her early work had been the subject of an exhibition at UW–Milwaukee in 1992. Carson constructed a studio for her, and she eagerly returned to her art. She had a fragile recovery, and after several years she had amassed about thirty paintings which she put on display at a local art gallery. This potentially transformative return to public life was wrecked when the gallery burned down in a freak fire and all the paintings were destroyed.

In 2002, Bembenek either fell or jumped from a second-story window, breaking her leg so badly that it had to be amputated below the knee. Bembenek claimed that she had been confined in an apartment by handlers for the Dr. Phil television show and was injured while attempting to escape.

Bembenek continued to insist she was innocent, but the Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to overturn her no contest plea, saying such a plea cannot be withdrawn. In April 2008, Bembenek filed a petition with the United States Supreme Court, seeking a reversal of the second murder conviction. Bembenek’s attorney pointed to evidence not heard in the original trial, including ballistics tests matching the murder bullets to the gun owned by Fred Schultz, male DNA found on the victim, evidence the victim had been sexually assaulted and the eyewitness testimony of the two young sons who said they had seen a heavyset, masked man. Bembenek’s petition argued the court needed to clarify whether defendants who plead guilty or no contest have an opportunity to review evidence comparable to the rights of those who plead not guilty. Her appeal was denied in June 2008.

Her case was the inspiration for two television movies and various books and articles portraying her as the victim of a miscarriage of justice. In 2004, MSNBC produced and aired a biography of Laurie Bembenek on their Headliners and Legends television show. Bembenek did not take part in the show. She was interviewed by WTMJ-TV anchor Mike Jacobs for a two-part sweeps interview that aired on that station’s 10pm newscast on October 28 and 29, 2010.

Death

On November 20, 2010, she died at a hospice facility in Portland, Oregon from liver and kidney failure.

 

Dorothy Stratten


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Dorothy Stratten was born in Vancouver, British Columbia as Dorothy Hoogstratten. When barely 17, she was spotted working in a Canadian Dairy Queen fast-food restaurant by shady “entrepreneur” Paul Snider, nine years her elder. Snider saw the beautiful girl’s face and knew immediately he could turn her into a star. Turns out he was right. But unfortunately for Dorothy, he was right.

Playboy Magazine

After beginning a relationship with the young blonde, Snider finally convinced her that she would be great as a Playboy model and that she could become rich and famous if she could get comfortable taking her clothes off for the camera. At first, the shy girl-next-door shrugged off the notion, but Snider, the greasy devil he was, finally convinced her to pose for his camera. After amassing a small personal collection of nude photos of Dorothy, Snider then sent them to Playboy Magazine in Los Angeles, specifically to the home of Hugh Hefner. Heffy like-y and after only two days of ogling her shots, called for the young Hoogstratten. Snider’s plan was now set in motion, and unbeknownst to her, Dorothy’s life was on a collision course with danger.

Dorothy Becomes Famous

In seemingly no time at all, Dorothy, after changing her surname to Stratten, became quite the hot ticket around ‘ol Hef’s mansion. This didn’t set too well with Snider however and he soon decided he wanted a piece of the action, since he was, after all, the one that sent Dorothy’s pics to Hefner in the first place. Snider would introduce himself to Hefner as Dorothy’s manager, but the magazine magnate could see right through Snider’s oily facade and came to loathe the guy.

Meanwhile, Dorothy’s fame was soaring ever higher and higher. Her photo shoot at Playboy was a hit and she would eventually go on become the October ’79 Playboy Playmate and word around the mansion was that she was being mentioned as becoming the Playmate of the Year and perhaps even the Playmate of the Quarter-Century.

But Snider was feeling left behind.

Dorothy Meets Peter Bogdanovich

As Dorothy’s star grew brighter and brighter, Hefner decided to introduce her to some of the bigwigs of Hollywood’s upper-crust, including filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich who was once a director of such huge movie hits as Paper Moon, What’s Up, Doc?, and The Last Picture Show. And wouldn’t you know it, Bogdanovich had just conveniently terminated a rocky relationship with another young, blonde aspiring actress, Cybill Shepherd who we all know was in Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show and eventually went on to to TV stardom with Bruce Willis in the popular ABC sit-com, Moonlighting.

Stratten and Bogdanovich would eventually become quite the item. He decided she was ready to hit it big in show business and that he was ready to give her a plum role. After all, she had already taken a bit role in Galaxina as a sexy robot. Bogdanovich wanted the world to see that his new girlfriend was more than just a sexy bimbo with big boobs.

The Green Monster Strikes

Meanwhile, Snider was absolutely turning green with jealousy. He still believed he was responsible for Dorothy’s success and that he should also be recognized. But Dorothy was ready to move on from Snider and everyone was encouraging her to do so. But being the nice girl-next-door she was, it was hard for Dorothy, After all, she had actually married Snider earlier just to get him off of her back. Nice logic.

Get This Creep Out of My Life

In August in 1980, Dorothy decided to meet with Snider one last time, so she could end this thing for good. She agreed to meet Paul at his apartment where the couple had once lived together. Dorothy traveled all the way from New York, where she was in the middle of filming They All Laughed, directed by none other than Peter Bogdanovich.

The next day, Snider’s flat-mates had not heard a peep from the love birds. Finally, a neighbor checked in on them.

What that neighbor saw was horrifying. Lying in a face down position on the bed was Dorothy Stratten’s nude body, covered entirely in blood, including bloody handprints across her bottom. A sizable clump of hair had been torn from her head and was clenched in Snider’s hand. Her left pinkie finger was detached and missing. Oh, and one more thing – so was her entire face.

Next to Dorothy’s bloody corpse was what was left of Snider’s body. He had a gunshot between the eyes (which had left quite a gaping hole) and one of his eyes was dangling out of the socket. Naturally, his body was also nude. Would you think more highly of the guy if it weren’t?

Both Dorothy and Snider were covered in a swarm of ants.

One interesting thing that couldn’t be explained at first was some strange mechanical device in the bedroom. Home-made looking. The coroner’s office could only surmise that it was some kind of kinky “love contraption,” or sex bench. It was later discovered by authorities that Snider had converted a weight bench into a sex device and hoped to eventually market it to the porn industry. Naturally, that too was a failure.

Though not confirmed by the coroner’s office, many knowledgeable experts on the Stratten case speculate that Snider killed Stratten in the bedroom, strapped her lifeless body to the bench, then proceeded to have sex with her corpse for the next half hour or so. Once done with her, he tossed her lifeless body onto the bed and killed himself.

Dorothy Stratten was dead at 20.

Only in Hollywood

In a sick twist that could only come from Hollywood, Peter Bogdanovich would eventually marry Dorothy’s younger sister, Louise. But they separated in 2001 and would eventually divorce.

There have been two movies made about the tragic life and death of Dorothy Stratten: Death of A Centerfold which starred Jamie Lee Curtis as Stratten; and Star 80 which featured Mariel Hemingway as Stratten and Eric Roberts as Snider. Star 80‘s climatic murder scene was shot in the actual apartment where the real murder/suicide took place. We recommend this latter film.