Fri. Jun 14th, 2024
20th century screen legend Mary Astor was the subject of scandal when her estranged husband found her diary.

Mary Astor in The Great Lie trailer. Public Domain.

S19E05: Everyday I Write The Book | Mary Astor, The Pilfered Purple Diary, and the Sex Scandal that Rocked 1936

Movie stars have always had to weigh the facts of their authentic lives against the cost that revelations about those might inflict. This was the bind that screen legend Mary Astor was in back in 1936. Her unfaithful husband had been abusive, but his addiction to her money, and the reputational cost she would face for divorcing him, meant he was going nowhere. Until he found her diary, and realized he could have it all: her money, their daughter, and his freedom, by blackmailing her into a divorce on his terms. But when Mary realized that her daughter was in danger, she put it all on the line in a headline-grabbing custody trial that could have finished her career.

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Read More

My Story: An Autobiography, by Mary Astor (Amazon link)

Mary Astor’s Purple Diary: The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936, by Edward Sorel (Amazon link)

George S. Kaufman And His Friends, by Scott Meredith (Amazon link)

George S. Kaufman: An Intimate Portrait, by Howard Teichmann (Amazon link)

Alicia’s Receipts

Inside the Trial of Actress Mary Astor, Old Hollywood’s Juiciest Sex Scandal (vanityfair.com)

Mary Astor Divorce Trial: 1936 | Encyclopedia.com (encyclopedia.com)

Mary Astor, 81, Is Dead; Star of ‘Maltese Falcon’ – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Scandal, The Trial of Mary Astor Full Interview SIFF 2019 (YouTube link)

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