Tag: Crime

Those ‘Newly Released’ Transcripts of Secret Recordings of Rock Hudson Were First Published in 1976 by the Private Eye Who Bugged Hudson’s House


On June 6, the Hollywood Reporter published excerpts from transcripts of secret recordings of Rock Hudson discussing his homosexuality with his wife, Phyllis Gates. The recordings were made by private eye Fred Otash, who was hired by Phyllis Gates to plant eavesdropping devices in their home at 9151 Warbler Place [map] above the Sunset Strip. According to Hollywood Reporter:

On January 21, 1958, Rock Hudson’s wife confronted him, demanding to know if he was gay and grilling the actor about a Rorschach test he had taken. “You told me you saw thousands of butterflies and also snakes,” she said “[A therapist] told me in my analysis that butterflies mean femininity and snakes represent that [sic] male penis. I’m not condemning you, but it seems that as long as you recognize your problem, you would want to do something about it.” She also complained about “your great speed with me, sexually. Are you that fast with boys?”

“Well, it’s a physical conjunction [sic],” replied Rock, then 32. “Boys don’t fit. So, this is why it lasts longer.”

Continue reading

Where ‘Stella Dallas’ Star Belle Bennett Hid Her Diamonds

Belle Bennett

Los Angeles Times, February 27, 1929:

The film colony was congratulating Belle Bennett, famous portrayer of mother roles, yesterday on the presence of mind she displayed in saving her valuable diamond rings from the hands of hold up men Sunday night. With her husband, Fred Windemere, film director, she was leaving the home of Blanche Upright, playwright, at 8250 Sunset Boulevard [map], when three men commanded them to turn over their money. While Windemere handed over $8, Miss Bennett quickly removed her rings and concealed them in her mouth.

About 30 years after this incident, the residence of playwright Blanche Upright was converted into a striptease joint called The Body Shop, which is still going strong more than 50 years later.

Belle Bennett, b. Apr. 22, 1891 d. Nov. 4, 1932, on IMDB.

Orson Welles’ Stand-In Arrested

Orson Welles in 1946

Orson Welles in 1946

In December 1946, John Abernathy, 27, the tenant of the house at 8117 Sunset Blvd. — in the northwest corner of Sunset and Crescent Heights Blvd., across the street from the Garden of Allah Hotel — was arrested for stealing a woman’s wrist watch. According to the Los Angeles Times, Abernathy was cherubic and portly actor who occasionally worked as a stand-in for Orson Welles, one of the most famous actor-directors of the era.

The Case of the Walking Wristwatch

It was also recounted in the L.A. noir episode of the Pacific Drift podcast.

December 18, 1947

Two years ago, Mrs. Mary Louise Loftus rented a room in her home at 6429 Primrose Avenue to a (seemingly) nice young man whose height and cherubic features earned him an occasional paycheck doubling for Orson Welles. John Abernathy made such a good impression on Mrs. Loftus that she entrusted him with taking a broken diamond- and sapphire-studded wristwatch down to the jewelers. And that was the last she saw of Abernathy until…

… driving near Sunset and Laurel Canyon Boulevards last night, Loftus thought she spotted Orson Welles standing on the corner. But everyone knew that Orson was in Rome making Black Magic and mourning his split from Rita Hayworth. Ergo, that had to be Abernathy taking his evening constitutional! The lady called the cops, who located Abernathy in his nearby apartment at 8117 Sunset and took the kid down to the Hollywood Jail. The charge: grand theft, wristwatch, for the missing bauble was valued at $750.

The house Abernathy was renting would later be used for restaurants, including Villa Frascati in the 1950s and nightclubs including the Coconut Teazer, 1990s rock joint. It’s called Privilege now.

© 2010 – 2023 Playground to the Stars

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑