Posted on July 15, 2020
Paige’s photo appears in the January 1969 issue of Playboy magazine. It’s also the 15th anniversary issue of the massively successful magazine and empire. The issue shows all 12 Playmates of 1968, a brief update accompanies each one.
The contestants are in the running for the soon-to-be-named Playmate of the Year 1969. The Playmate of the Year was a big deal. A higher status title than Playmate of the Month obviously, it meant more photos, more publicity and more money.
The winner was born Constance Kornacki in Wyandotte, Michigan. She grew up in a strict Polish Catholic family.
She became a Michigan nursing school student and then a Playmate as Connie Kreski in January of 1968. Around the same time she moved to London and met singer/songwriter Anthony Newley.
Connie appeared to look much younger than her 21 years. This is why Anthony Newley cast her in his 1969 film “Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?”
Connie plays Mercy, Anthony is Heironymus and his wife Joan Collins plays his wife in the film named Polyester Poontang. It was pretty much a flop and skewered by the critics.
Connie Kreski met another powerful man in London and began dating him: Hefner’s partner and close friend at Playboy: Victor Lownes. Lownes was head of the Playboy Club and casino in London during the Swinging Sixties.
Detroit Press Nov. 17, 1969 BetteLou Petersen celebrity column.
Well known to those who have read some 1960s social history, Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate had their wedding reception at the London Playboy Club in 1968; Lownes, Hefner and Polanski were close friends.
Connie and Victor are seen together with several mourners at Sharon Tate’s funeral, on film footage seen on youtube.
Victor Lownes is the person seen in a famous photo holding up a collapsing Roman Polanski at Sharon Tate’s funeral.
Connie has about 10 TV and film appearances after “Hieronymus.”
She appeared as a guest on the Merv Griffin and Joey Bishop talk shows.
April 6, 1969. Long Beach Press Telegraph
She go-go danced on Laugh-In, was introduced on Playboy After Dark TV show by Hugh Hefner as “Connie Kreski, our Playmate of the Year.” Connie does not say one word the entire show.
She did have more lines on other episodes of PAD, mostly the ones from 1970, the last year of the program.
San Francisco Examiner Nov. 8. 1970 below
The People, London. Aug. 23, 1970
Valley Times Mar. 25, 1969
Kreski’s newspaper press indicates she was signed to a contract with Universal Studios.
Universal signed an extraordinary number of models, beauty contest winners and starlets in the 1950s and 60s.
After a few years Connie’s contract with Universal was dropped which merited one sentence in a Hollywood gossip column.
Detroit Free Press April 27, 1969
Connie appeared on a memorable 1970 episode of Love American Style starring Kaye Ballard, where she plays a topless waitress.
Her last credit is the mini-series Aspen from 1976.
Connie had a high profile romance with actor James Caan in the early and mid-1970s. She was identified in Hollywood news articles as his “girlfriend” and “ex-Playmate.” They got together fresh off Caan’s star making turn in the Godfather; he was much in demand by directors and studios. And by beautiful young women as well, according to several interviews at the time.
Playboy Mansion regular James Caan speaks about girlfriend Connie Kreski in NY Daily News Oct. 8, 1972
Below is from an early/mid 1970s Playboy feature on men’s jewelry with Connie and boyfriend James Caan.
It was determined that Connie Kreski died of cirrhosis of the liver at age 48 in 1995. Laennec’s is a cirrhosis most associated with alcohol abuse over time.
What happened in her life that caused it to end this way at the age of 45?
What happened to her friendships with Hefner and Polanski and that crowd? And James Caan?
Connie Kreski is rarely mentioned in any pop culture forum. I find that strange given the people that she was seen hanging out with.
Many of these people continue to generate attention and conversation. Some are still alive, many dead. Most recently, Connie’s ex and Playboy mansion regular and good friend of Hefner, James Caan passed away on July 6, 2022. His death drew numerous accolades and a film festival is in the works.
Unusually, Caan lacks a dedicated biography. This will likely be forthcoming.
Caan hadn’t been asked about Connie since the 1970s.
is incorrectly identified on the internet. It usually says “blocked carotid artery” or “cancer.” Connie’s entry in The Playmate Book, mentions her death in Beverly Hills, 1995, but doesn’t state a cause. I have included closeups of her death certificate.
Connie married Louis Edelman in New York in 1986 and they set up a marital home in Los Angeles/Beverly Hills.
Connie died in March of 1995 at age 49. She died before her about 10 years older husband, Louis Edelman.
Official cause of death for 1969 Playmate of the Year Connie Kreski.
I corresponded with Connie’s stepdaughter Barbara Cooper. She told me that Connie became pregnant and lost a baby boy (named Zachary) when she was 6 months along. This tragedy also occured in 1986.
Cooper told me that after the loss, Connie began an obsession with calorie counting and losing weight and on top of that she abused alcohol.
It’s no wonder then, that she died so young.
Barbara told me how consistently kind and sweet Connie was to her daughters and to everybody.
She said that Connie never talked about Playboy, Hefner, any of the Playmates, or her days in Hollywood.
More on Connie Kreski and her brief time in the spotlight
Category: 1960s, 1970s, LA Locations, Playboy, PMOM, Popular Culture Tagged: 1960s history, 1960s Playmates, 1969, 1970, 1970sLA, Alice Gowland, Anthony Newley, Cheesy, Connie Kreski, Connie Kreski cause of death, Constance Joanne Kornaki, Daily Mail December 2014, Elvis, Girlie Calendar, James Caan, James Caan Connie Kreski., Joey Bishop, Laugh In, London Playboy Club & Casino, Los Angeles History, Marilyn Cole, Mercy Montello, Mercy Rooney, Merv Griffin, Paige Young, Peter Gowland, Playboy After Dark, Playboy Calendar, Playboy magazine, Playboy Playmate, Playmate of the Year, Playmate of the Year 1969, PMOY, Reagan Wilson, Ridge Tool Company Ohio, Ridgid Calendar, Ridgid Tool Calendar, Roman Polanski, Scott Caan, Sharon Tate, Sheila Ryan, Starlet, TV shows, Universal Studio, Universal Studios, Victor Lownes, Vintage LA, Vintage Playboy Playmate
Posted on May 26, 2020
1963 October 1st Paige Young marries Mark Frederick Segal in Las Vegas, per nearly impossible to read ledger records found on ancestry.com.
An elopement likely in one of those 24-hour Las Vegas wedding chapels.
The record shows only the date and names.
Paige’s new husband was born in 1942 and was the son of WW2 veteran Harold Segal and his wife. They resided in Sherman Oaks at 4518 Vista Del Monte, at one time. Mark was a marine private who took combat training in 1961 at Camp Pendleton.
Segal was also a car dealer at “Sea-Gull Motors,” a business started by his father, according to newspaper ads in the late 1950s, and Segal friend Rex Ramsey. Sea-Gull Motors either had several locations or moved locations several times in the Sherman Oaks/Van Nuys area in the 1950s and 1960s: 7211 Balboa Avenue, 4425 Van Nuys Blvd. and 6738 Sepulveda Blvd.
Only photo I’ve found of Mark F. Segal, from the Van Nuys News and Valley Green Sheet Aug. 17, 1961.
Rex Ramsey, a friend of Mark Segal’s, was a semi-successful race car designer and driver, told me that Mark’s father Harold Segal, also owned the business Fox Auto Service in the SFV, and the Segal family had several brothers in addition to Mark. He mentioned that the family was “pretty well-off.”
1963-1964 Paige and Mark live together as husband and wife at 4133 Crisp Canyon Road in Sherman Oaks, “South of the Boulevard.” Ramsey said that that the home was a cabin type, the kind that Hollywood stars would rent on the weekend to “get away from it all.”
It’s very close to the neighborhood where Diana Cotterell lived and attended elementary, Dixie Canyon, and junior high school, Van Nuys Junior High.
Paige continues to board her horse Hamish at Sepulveda Stables. I corresponded with a woman who told me that when she was 12 years old, she met Paige at Sepulveda Stables; Paige was about 19/20 years old and Paige drove her to the house on Crisp Canyon Rd., to hang out and drink lemonade.
August 28, 11 months after her Las Vegas marriage, Paige and her attorney file for divorce from Mark F. Segal. Paige is represented by rising Beverly Hills attorney Marvin M. Mitchelson.
Below are just a few of the dozens of divorce documents I obtained from a records department located in Downtown LA.
The filing below states that Mark threatened Paige and her animals with bodily harm “on numerous occasions,” and on August 17, 1964, “brandished a knife in her presence,” and “Plaintiff’s profession is that of an artist and painter and on or about June 15, 1964, defendant maliciously and with intent to destroy plaintiff’s artwork drove nails through plaintiff’s prized paintings and further did mischievous damage by driving nails through plaintiff’s personal belongings including an expensive fur stole.”
Paige requests and is granted a temporary restraining order from the court.
Mark quickly countersues and denies all of Paige’s claims of abuse. He claims that she is the one who caused him mental anguish and suffering. I see nothing in the documents further explaining what Mark meant by that, no further details on what Paige did to him.
Marvin Mitchelson, on behalf of client Paige, asks for alimony, lawyer’s fees and court costs: “Plaintiff is not employed and presently embarking on a career as a painter, therefore needs the money from Defendant who is able bodied and employed.”
Marks balks at this request and states he can’t afford it.
Paige sues Mark Segal for divorce after less than one year of marriage. She is represented by rising and soon to be celebrity attorney Marvin M. Mitchelson
The divorce filing was picked up by the wire service UPI and appears in several of newspapers across the country.
We might call these headlines “clickbait” today.
There is a high probability that Marvin M. Mitchelson was behind the above stories.
Beginning early in his career, Marvin had a belief in the power of publicity and looked for ways to garner some for his cases.
“No matter how trivial the cause of action, if he (M.M.M.) found an angle, he could turn it into a story. And in the early days when his client list was still thin, he could gin up publicity by filing an oddball lawsuit himself.”
…”But Mitchelson knew that Man Bites Dog was what sold papers…this was 1964 and he had to work with the material fate sent him.”
Patti Corman recalled that for her in 1976 divorce, Mitchelson “called AP, UPI and every other P there is.!”
From the book “Ladies Man, The Life and Trials of Marvin Mitchelson” by John A. Jenkins
This is likely the reason Mitchelson took Paige’s case despite her lack of ability to pay him any money upfront. The case was unusual or “oddball” enough for it to be of use to him.
Hollywood History/Celebrity Connections: Only a few days after the articles about Paige Young/Mark Segal divorce is published in a few newspapers, more news breaks that Beverly Hills LA talk show host, Pamela Mason, has won the unprecedented amount of over 1 million dollars in her divorce settlement from husband of 20 years: actor James Mason.
Her lawyer is Marvin Mitchelson.
Sept.1, 1964 Pasadena Independent, Pasadena, California.
Author Jenkins discusses the 1 million plus dollar settlement Mason case:
“Afterward in the courthouse corridor, “James (Mason) called the settlement ‘a flea bite.’ After all, he was getting off the hook without giving her any alimony at all. But Pamela was ecstatic. Her settlement was one of the first to break the magic million-dollar mark, and Mitchelson had gotten her, and himself, a ton of publicity about it.”
“The Mason case set the tone for the Hollywood divorces to come. Pamela was so grateful she did everything she could to make Marvin Mitchelson a household name. Pamela introduced Mitchelson to her divorcing friends…she became his entrée to those rarefied upper brackets of Beverly Hills and Hollywood. Pamela hired him eight months later for a 138, 500 breach-of-contract suit against actress Loretta Young on behalf of Pamela’s sixteen-year-old daughter Portland.”
“Pamela Mason introduced Mitchelson to her divorcing friends, all of whom were wildly delighted with the results, she later said.” END
The Mason case was a first as far as Hollywood divorces go, and a major breakthrough for the career of Marvin Mitchelson.
Later in 1964, Michelson represented legendary lyricist Alan Lerner’s estranged wife, Micheline in a very contentious custody fight.
Roy Cohn was Micheline’s divorce attorney in NYC. Yes, that Roy Cohn, who had a great admirer in Mitchelson.
Mark F. Segal came from a fairly well off Sherman Oaks family. His father Harold Segal owned a thriving car business according to his friend racing and stunt car driver, Rex Ramsey.
Still Mark Segal wasn’t anywhere near the league of My Fair Lady, Gigi and all the rest composer Alan Lerner.
However both men however did have some things in common that most divorcing men that year didn’t, and that was estranged wives represented by rising lawyer Marvin M. Michelson.
The other is being found in contempt of court by failing to pay alimony to these estranged wives.
Mark’s attorney is Bernard Echt from Sherman Oaks. Echt, a few years down the road, would represent the milkman who was being sued by Vincent Bugliosi for suspected impregnation of his wife. Strange yet true.
An initial agreement is reached pretty quickly: Sept. 18,1964 . Mark is required to pay Paige alimony, but only for six months.
This would be about $1000 in 2017, so the equivalent of $6000 total in today’s money.
1964 November 24: Paige and her grandmother Virginia LaRocca are sworn-in for testimony in a Los Angeles courthouse, probably 111 Hill Street, for the divorce trial; Mark is a no-show. Virginia LaRocca testifies for the plaintiff, her granddaughter Paige. An interlocutory decree of divorce is granted to Paige on grounds of extreme cruelty.
Paige waives her right to any further alimony payments beyond the six months. Mark is also ordered to pay Marvin Mitchelson $300 (about $2072 in 2017 dollars) and $15.00 in court costs around $100 today. Paige is awarded a 1953 MG Roadster; Mark is ordered to sign the title over to her. Paige gets to keep certain antiques and wedding gifts. Mark gets to keep his home at 4133 Crisp Canyon Rd. in Sherman Oaks.
Both parties are ordered to not annoy, molest or harass the other.
This year shows Mark has not been making his required alimony and lawyer’s fees since 1964.
1965-Marvin Michelson goes hard on Mark Segal this year. For every month Mark fails to make his monthly alimony payment to Paige and the lawyer’s fees, Michelson files a contempt suit in court.
And it turned out to be all 12 months.
More on this in the next chapter.
Category: 1940s Tagged: 1963, 1964, 4144 Crisp Canyon, Alan Jay Lerner divorce, Bernard Echt, Divorce, Early 1960s, Hollywood divorce, Hollywood History, James Mason, LA History, LA Locations, Las Vegas, Mark F. Segal, Mark Frederick Segal, Marriage, Marvin Mitchelson, Micheline Lerner, Paige Young, Pamela Mason, Rex Ramsey, Roy Cohn, Sea Gull Motors, SFV, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Vegas Wedding, Wedding Chapels Las Vegas
Posted on May 12, 2020
San Fernando Valley abbreviated SFV.
more information about the LaRocca/Cotterell family unit: they are listed at a residence in Gardena at 1830 W. 147th.
Joseph’s occupation, Radio Orchestra Manager, Virginia, Christian Science Practitioner, Donna has an empty box for occupation, granddaughters Constance S. is listed as 7 years and Diana L. as 5 years.
The above is an online phone directory from Gardena 1951. It has a listing for Virginia LaRocca, CSP, at this same address but no Joseph is listed. Why no Joseph and Virginia listed together, as every other year for decades in directories and voter registrations.?
When did Diana and family leave Los Feliz? late 1940s?
How long did they live in Gardena?
About two years.
When did Diana and her family move to 13055 Moorpark St. in Studio City/Sherman Oaks?
I first connected the family to 13055 Moorpark St. address by an online city building permit dated in Dec. of 1952.
This house on Moorpark Street was located on the west side of Studio City close to the eastern border with Sherman Oaks. Specifically, off of the intersection of Coldwater Canyon and Ventura Blvd.
The Los Angeles River is nearby the house as is Sportsman’s Lodge; a classic Hollywood and SFV landmark.
The family knew about the area in the SFV for some time because Joseph’s only sister Kathryn Marinello, and her husband Anthony opened a food store at 13251 Moorpark in 1947.
There is a 1947 City document I have been unable to download; indicating a “food store” at 13251 Moorpark St. The building was not owned by the Marinellos.
Meanwhile……Diana’s father Robert Morgan Cotterell also moved to the SFV around this time, but further west of his daughters and ex-wife. His new wife Patricia/Pat and their two children, born in 1950 and 1951, (while his first 2 daughters were in Gardena according to the 1950 census) start out in the Canoga Park/Winnetka area on Lurline Ave.
It’s the first of many moves for them around Los Angeles due to Bob Cotterell Sr.’s career at Douglas Aircraft.
It is unknown exactly why the The LaRocca/Cotterell family moved to the SFV, but we do know that they were part of a massive migration to the area after World War 2, from both inside and outside of Los Angeles.
“The end of WW2 transformed the Valley and vastly accelerated its growth
with: vast tracts of suburban housing, shopping centers and industrial parks where chicken ranches, orchards and cattle ranches and wheat fields once existed. The 1940s and 50s, when I was growing up, the Valley was full of movie cowboys, beautiful ranches and fine horses.”Jerry England at cowboyup.com
“In the five years after the war, the population (of SFV) more than doubled to 402,538 residents-the pastoral San Fernando Valley was suddenly the ninth-busiest urban area in the nation. Valley society was a mix of young suburbanites, older families who had come west to try their luck as engineers, animators, or pioneers in the new field of television, and ranchers trying to hang on in the face of the new hordes.”The San Fernando Valley: America’s Suburb by Kevin Roderick
I discovered that Ned LaRocca spent most of the 1950s working as an orchestra manager for composer/conductor Leith Stevens, through Ned’s death certificate.
I can confirm two Leith Stevens projects that have a credit as “contractor” for Ned LaRocca: A Doris Day album recorded in 1951 at 1032 Sycamore Street; a studio known at that time as “The Annex.” Found on youtube.
The website careerexplorer.com defines an orchestra contractor is: “He or she has the job of finding the appropriate musicians for Broadway shows, television episodes and commercials.”
Ned already had experience adapting to a new mass medium when his first industry Vaudeville, died in the early 1930s during the Great Depression.
One significant factor that changed the popularity of radio programming was the rise of TV in the 1950s. Drama and comedy and musical variety shows moved to TV.
In 1950, just under 20 percent of American homes contained a TV set. Ten years later, nearly 90 percent of homes contained a TV—and some even had color TVs. The number of TV stations, channels, and programs all grew to meet this surging demand.encyclopedia.com
Ned LaRocca also has a credit on Leith Steven’s 1953 score to the Marlon Brando movie “The Wild One.” The Los Angeles recording industry was growing by leaps and bounds in the 1950s.
This record was a hit, released by Decca records, it remains Leith Stevens most well-known and well-regarded creation. J. Ned LaRocca is credited as “Contractor” on the project. Per Discogs.com. As I understand, it was the first soundtrack entirely made up of Jazz music.
Besides composing and conducting “The Wild One” soundtrack, Leith Stevens composed numerous scores for radio shows, movies and T.V. from the 1930s until his death in 1970.
IMDB indicates that many of Stevens’ compositions go uncredited as “stock music.”
Diana’s grandmother. She started out life as a Mormon in Utah, but somewhere along the way became a Christian Scientist. She is listed as “Chr. Sci.pr.” (Christian Science Practitioner) in Los Angeles telephone directories in the 40 and 50s, and listed with her own telephone line. Read more about her early years as a vaudeville performer in the family history chapters.
A Christian Science practitioner is an individual who prays for others according to the teachings of Christian Science. Treatment is non-medical, rather it is based on the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (1875) by Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), who said she discovered Christian Science in 1866 and founded the Christian Science church in 1879. According to the church, Christian Science practitioners address physical conditions, as well as relationship or financial difficulties and any other problem or crisis.wikipedia
In 1955, an LA telephone directory lists a Ned J. LaRocca at 4414 N. Ethel and a Virginia Young LaRocca with the same address.
Donna Cotterell is listed with the 13055 Moorpark address. 13055 Moorpark is on a corner with Ethel St.
4114 Ethel St. doesn’t seem to be an “real” address; I don’t find a record of it anywhere besides the phone directory. This could be a result of the house modification for Donna, Diana and Constance.
1957 Virginia Young LaRocca is listed in the phone directory at 4414 N. Ethel State 4-7052 North Hollywood. Cr. Sci. Pr.
At some point, the Christian Science Church won the right to accept insurance for their practitioners, but I have been unable to find exactly what year.
So, I can’t tell how much income Virginia might have earned from her vocation as a CSP.
I’m sure Donna received child support and likely alimony as this would have been normal for the times.
However, it is probable that grandfather Ned LaRocca was the primary breadwinner of his household.
Category: 1950s, LA Locations, Popular Culture, Radio City, CBS, NBC, Robert Morgan Cotterell Tagged: #Gardena, 1032 Sycamore St., 1950 Census, 1950s LA, 1950s San Fernando Valley, 1950sLA, Christian Science Practitioner, Defense Industry, Doris Day, Douglas Aircraft, Gardena, LA Recording Industry, Leith Stevens, Los Angeles History, Marlon Brando, Ned LaRocca, Ned LaRocca Grandfather, Paige Young, Rise of TV, Robert Morgan Cotterell, SFV, Sherman Oaks, Stevens, Studio City, The Annex recording studio, The Wild One, Virginia LaRocca
Posted on April 29, 2020
Diana Cotterell/Paige Young’s parents: Robert M. Cotterell was 23 and Donna V. LaRocca, 19, when they were married in 1940. (Donna is listed in the 1940 census as living with her parents at 3834 Evans St., and that she was a “New Worker” in “Dramatics.”)
Below is the Hollywood Wedding Chapel where Robert and Donna were married as stated on the marriage certificate.
The location is on the Sunset Strip, about one block from the infamous and historic Chateau Marmont hotel.
The famed Garden of Allah apartment building was across the street.
This Hollywood Wedding Chapel building was purchased by famous director/writer Preston Sturges in 1940; he transformed it into “Players” restaurant, a movie business watering hole.
Players has its’ own interesting Hollywood and LA history.
Donna and Robert must have been one of the last couples to marry at the chapel before Sturges took over.
Currently this location is a Pink Taco restaurant. Building is the same.
Diana’s father Robert Morgan Cotterell was born around 1917 in Algon, Iowa. He moved to Los Angeles around 1938 to follow his interest in aviation.
From Constance Susan Cotterell’s birth cert. in 1942. Father Robert a Leadman at Douglas Aircraft.
Donna’s parents and Diana’s grandparents, Ned and Virginia LaRocca, were musical vaudevillians who travelled the Pantages, Orpheum and other vaudeville circuits for about the first 10 years of her life. (For more see Family History Chapters)
Diana’s mother Donna Virginia LaRocca was born in 1921, in Peoria, Illinois, hometown of her father.
Donna V. moved with her parents to Los Angeles around 1934.
Recently found article: Robert Cotterell goes from MIA to POW.
(Robert Cotterell is listed with the Evans address on his daughter Diana Lee’s birth certificate.)
Robert Cotterell’s daughter Constance is 2 years old, and Diana only 5 months, on the date the POW announcement was published.
For his part in the war effort, Joseph Ned LaRocca signed up for the “Old Man’s Draft Card” enacted by Congress to show solidarity for the war effort. 1942, living in Los Feliz and driving to and working as a harpist in the NBC building on Sunset & Vine.
From the 1944 birth certificate of Diana Cotterell.
1945 Robert Cotterell is liberated from the German Camp.
Donna LaRocca Cotterell files for divorce against Robert Morgan Cotterell.
1947 The Cotterell’s divorce is finalized. Only 2 months later, the divorce is granted.
Historic Context: Robert and Donna Cotterell were one couple out of thousands who made up a nation-wide spike in divorce rates after WW2.
Statistics show that in 1946 one in four US marriages ended in divorce.
A 1946 article written on the subject in the New York Times said:
“More than half of America’s 1,500,000 war-wed G.I.s have returned. Already one out of every four of these 800,000 men is entangled in divorce proceedings. Experts are predicting that by 1950, 1,000,000 of these wartime marriages-or two out of three-will end in divorce.”
Robert Cotterell remarried in approximately 1949 to Patricia Frick and the couple had two children, in 1950 and then 51.
He had a job after the war working for Douglas Aircraft. The job took his family all over the San Fernando Valley and Laguna Beach.
I would imagine Robert paid alimony to Donna, common at the time, as well as child support for Constance and Diana.
Virginia LaRocca is named owner of a “double” house at 3710/12 Arbolada Rd. on an LA building permit. This house is only one mile from the home on Evans St.
Donna has a voter registration record with this address in 1944 below.
Joseph LaRocca is listed in the LA telephone directory with this address in 1948.
Arbolada Rd. is a dead end street. It’s high on a hill with an incredible panoramic view of the area. It’s close to their Evans St. home and still near Griffith Park.
Joseph and Virgina La Rocca listed above at the Arbolada address.
Virginia’s listing leaves off “Christian Science” and just says her employment is “practitioner.” You can also see the names of the the parents of Leno LaBianca, who was along with his wife, victims of the Manson family. Antonio and Corina La Bianca purchased the house on Waverly Dr. in 1940.
Their son Leno along with his wife Rosemary, would tragically be murdered in the same house in 1969. As I imagine everyone reading this knows already.
So the 2 Italian families (Joseph’s wife Virginia was not Italian but Mormon with English ancestry) lived a 5 minute car drive from each other at one point, even if they never met.
Diana/Paige mother was very close to her first cousin Kathryn Marinello who lived close to Donna in Peoria, Ill., with her in Los Feliz, Los Angeles, and lived two doors from each other in Sherman Oaks in the 1950s.
The Marinellos and LaRoccas will live almost next door to each other in Sherman Oaks for several years in the 1950s. Diana and her sister would have grown up with her children.
The city of Los Angeles experienced a housing shortage during the post-war years. More so than the usual housing shortage that seems to have always existed in LA.
This fact caused me to wonder as to how the LaRoccas could afford the 2 houses, or one right after the other, in the 1940s.
Virginia LaRocca had been a full time Christian Science Practitioner by the 1940s and a Christian Science Reader at some point. Her income from this is unknown. She had her own phone per listing in LA phone books for many years for this purpose.
The city of Los Angeles experienced a housing shortage during the post-war years. More so than the usual housing shortage.
This fact caused me to wonder as to how the LaRoccas could afford the 2 houses, or one right after the other, or possibly simultaneously in the 1940s.
I didn’t find an exact answer but the next several chapters may shed some light on the upwardly mobile family.
Virginia’s sister Josephine Harker, her sometimes singing/dancing partner back in the days of vaudeville, was listed in a directory at the Evans house around 1940.
And of course their daughter Donna, their son-in-law Robert, and granddaughters Constance and Diana Cotterell.
All these names, excluding Diana and Constance, were linked to the Evans address from 1938 through around 1944, per records I have shown or seen.
It’s easy to imagine that Evans house was way too small to fit all those family members comfortably. I have seen city documents of the original house plan.
Donna and Robert’s divorce was final in 1947.
View from Arbolada Drive is spectacular as is the original building itself.
The LaRocca Arbolada Road house, where the family lived some portion of the 1940s, is very close to, (or behind) the LaBianca “Manson murder house,” on Waverly Drive. However, between the 2 houses is a large plot of undeveloped (!) land, so one has to travel a circuitous route between the two. Perhaps this prevented the two Italian men from meeting each other.
Category: 1940s, LA Locations, Robert Morgan Cotterell Tagged: #3710 Arbolada, #Family, 1940s Los Angeles, Chateau Marmont, Donna Cotterell, Douglas Aircraft, Garden of Allah, German POW Camp, Hollywood History, Hollywood Wedding Chapel, Los Angeles History, Los Feliz, Paige Young, Players, post WW2 divorce rate, POW, Preston Sturges, Robert Morgan Cotterell, SFV, Sunset Blvd., Sunset Strip, Waverly Drive, WW2