My Interview with Artist/Paige Young Friend Richard Sample. 1964-1969. Malibu. Venice. Celebrity Connections. Cult Characters. PART 1. Updated 1/20/2023

UPDATE: Richard L. Sample passed away on August 10, 2021.

Recently, I interviewed Richard Sample, Paige’s ex-boyfriend and friend, painter, sculptor, collage, furniture maker.

He now lives in the Coachella Valley area of California.

Richard Sample was still living in Sun Valley, Idaho when he was interviewed by Daily Mail reporter Ryan Parry in 2014. He says he doesn’t know who gave his name to Parry in association with Paige Young.

I am thankful to Richard Sample for inviting me to interview him in person and taking the time and effort to talk about Paige Young. It was not always easy for him (or me).

Thanks also to his niece Ellen Sample who has been very helpful.

At the appointed time, I pulled up in my rental car and parked next to Richard’s house. There was a chainlink fence and gate that had a big padlock on it and the house was about 10 yards beyond it; I called out his name several times and did not get a response.

Luckily, Richard’s niece Ellie pulled up in her car, got out and told me Richard’s neighbor had called and told her that “there is woman in a red car was in front of her Uncle Richard’s house.”

Ellie unlocked the gate and as we walked toward the house, she told me that Richard doesn’t hear very well now.

Ellie said that she was aware of the interview, but “didn’t ask him any questions so that he feels he has his own life.” Ellie lives one street over and has been very involved with caring for Richard after he moved to the area.

Richard warmly greeted me with a hug as did his dog Tolly. Ellie left us to the interview.

Richard Sample gave me permission to publish what he said during our interview.

After we sat down to talk, Sample said to me:

“In 2001 I got throat cancer. I got radiation that burned the lining of my throat and my whole body. I also had a surgery and they cut my throat, it left me hard to talk, hard to drink, hard to eat… I am dying.”

Richard Sample is now 84 years old and obviously does not hear well or speak easily. I strained to hear his whisper of a raspy voice to understand what he was saying, and I didn’t always understand right away. I got better at understanding pretty quickly as our conversation got going.

I will say Richard and I didn’t have a have a normal flowing conversation, but more of a question and answer session, and mostly the answers Richard gave took him a long time to say. I also got to know him as a person and shared my journey with researching Paige’s story.

This chapter and the next will be a mixture of exact quotes from my tape recorder as well as transcribed hand notes.

Background: Richard and Paige got together after the end of his relationship with Sylvia Nicolosi, daughter of famed LA based sculptor Joseph Nicolosi. She was one of three sisters.

LAT Feb. 20, 1965

Richard said he was in the military but “never made it to Vietnam, just Ft. Bragg North, Carolina.” He showed me his military ID,

He had several memories of Paige he wanted to tell me right away.

Richard and Paige met in the Art World of Malibu in about 1965.

“Paige lived in a converted chicken coop on the edge of Malibu.

Richard doesn’t remember which edge.

For a dinner party, Paige had a different chair for each guest to use, not a matching (dining) set.

She would only eat salad if it was a day old.

“I never saw Paige with shoes on.” (see chapter 1970 Warhol, Paige appears with her date at the Warhol opening in Pasadena. She is photographed wearing a ankle length Rudi Gernreich dress and is barefoot as described by the reporter.)

“She is the only person I’ve ever known who ate ice cream with a fork,”

I asked about Hamish, the horse she had owned since junior high and still had in late 1964 according to her divorce filing. Richard says she did not keep a horse in Malibu that he knew of. Malibu is a town where people have kept horses and been involved with horses for many decades.

Paige would often strip down to her underwear and “run around topless or even nude.” Confirmed. Westwood neighbor Melanie told me that Paige often walked around nude in the shared backyard and it got on her nerves.

How Richard met Paige

Paige was “going with a man named Harry Gesner. He was an architect who designed the Cooper house in Malibu. The house was on the cover of Life magazine. Harry Gesner was a client of my landlord. My landlord was Edward Ravick; he was involved with the Malibu Colony and maybe lived there at times.”

LAT July 19, 1964. This house has been famously known at the “Wave House” for decades. Sample called it “the Cooper House” which was the name used in earlier decades.

“Ravick sent Gesner and Paige to my studio in Malibu, to see my art.”

(I have found two mentions of an Edward Ravick in a Malibu paper connected to real estate in the 1960s.)

Detail of photo with artists Richard Sample, left, Paige Young, Harry Gesner. Thank you to Ellen Sample for use of this photo.

Richard and Paige “immediately hit it off” and began dating.

Harry Gesner passed away in June of 2022 at the age of 97.

Jonathan Winters

I had contacted Richard months earlier by writing a letter. I asked him what he knew about Jonathan Winters.

Richard asked me why I asked about Jonathan Winters.

I told him of Paige’s newspaper interviews from 1969 when she promoted Playboy around the country. In some of them, it says that Paige “has appeared in many skits,” on The Jonathan Winters Show. (1967-1969 CBS) (See my chapter on Paige’s Most Public Year 1969).

I then asked Richard why he called Jonathan Winters an “asshole” in his letter back to me.

His answer below.

“Dennis, (does not remember his last name) was the owner of the Golden O Gallery, in Los Alamos, he told me that Jonathan Winters used to come and sit on the sidewalk at Dennis’ gallery and talk about Paige, and he had nothing good to say, it was always nasty or negative. I never met the man, but Dennis could tell you all about it. Richard added that Dennis never met Paige, but he “did know about her.”

Presumably because of Jonathan Winters.

Richard said that Paige did not say anything about Jonathan Winters when they were together.

He said he wasn’t aware of her appearing on the show during its run from 1967-1969.

He said it is a possibility that she did and he didn’t know about it.

Taken at my visit to the now closed Paley Media Center in Beverly Hills.

I have since learned 2 thing about Jonathan Winters: He painted seriously as a hobby, and even published a book of his paintings entitled “Hang-Ups.

And Winters had a residence in Santa Barbara which is quite close to the art infused town of Los Alamos.

Bill Cosby

Richard said he would occasionally pick up Paige at the Sunset Strip Playboy Club, after her shift. She worked at the club “for about 3 months,” he said.

Vintage Postcard. Playboy building on the right. It had the club, offices and a suite on the top floor Hugh Hefner while he was in LA.

Bill Cosby was a frequent visitor and performer at many Playboy Clubs. He was a close friend to Hugh Hefner.

“Bill Cosby was always trying to put the make on Paige. She didn’t want anything to do with him, she ignored him,” said Richard.

Back of postcard. This Playboy Club was opened on New Year’s Eve 1964

Richard then told me of one time when he was picking Paige up from the club after her shift. He saw Bill Cosby get angry at Paige after she rebuffed another one of his advances.

Richard then asked me if I was “sure that Paige committed suicide and was “not murdered.” I told him that I owned a copy of her death certificate with suicide by gun typed into the cause of death box. I brought it out and showed it to him.

“I wouldn’t ever think she would do that,”he said shaking his head at the document.

I decided not to tell Richard that there is more proof of a suicide besides the death certificate: witnesses like neighbor Melanie, the man D. DeWitt listed as a “2nd witness” on the police report, the police at Paige’s house on that day. (See chapter on LAPD report) And the coroner’s report.

Celeste Huston to me in a facebook exchange.

Melanie is the only one of these people to have spoken out publicly about the day of Paige’s suicide.

“She was a good person. I really miss her.” Richard said about Paige a few times that afternoon.

Richard Sample moved to Venice Beach, around 1967 motivated by the thriving art scene and to join his father, artist Charlie Sample, who was already there and had a storefront.

Richard’s father was Charles “Charlie” Sample, a well known artist, an eccentric Los Angeles and California character. He moved around a bit within California.

He was at least locally famous as a talented goldsmith/jeweler to the Hollywood stars, in particular the western ones. There are many newspaper articles about him.

“My father (Charlie Sample) was a famous gold and silver smith. He made silver spurs for $8000 and made belt buckles and horse saddles for Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, John Wayne, Mae West, Tim Holt.

One of many newspaper articles on legendary Charlie/Charles Sample. Santa Maria Times Oct. 4, 1993.

Richard shows me a recent catalog for a company producing high-end western gear, Bohlin, using Charlie Sample designs: horse saddles, bridles, spurs, belt buckles, bolo ties, rings, bracelets etc. Charlie was a lead designer for Bohlin for many years.

“Paige liked my father, he made some jewelry for her.”

Paige joined Richard not too long after he moved to Venice Beach. He said he invited her and was thrilled that she moved in. (more on this later) Records show that Richard was married in 1968 and not to Paige.

Like many artists, his house doubled as his art studio.

I asked Richard if he encountered any of the many artists who became famous out of the Venice Beach art scene (that started in the 1950s with “The Cool School” and the slightly later “Light and Space” or “Finish Fetish” movement.)

He said “De Wain Valentine had a studio next door to Paige and me.” (See chapter on Museum appearance with Warhol 1970)

“He was a friend of mine.”

“Another friend, Larry Bell, lived across the street from us, on Market.

(Turns out Larry Bell had a building next door to Valentine, it was Robert Irwin who lived across the street. I did mention Irwin and Ruscha and Richard did not recognize those names.)

“We (Paige and I) all used to hang out a lot, with all these (Venice artists) at Barney’s Beanery.”

After I returned from my trip, I did some research and I found quotes from Bell and Valentine in Art magazines.

There were a lot of actors and writers. We all used to hang out at a place called Barney’s Beanery, which was in West Hollywood. It was a local bar, a funky little place right at the end of La Cienega Boulevard where all the galleries were. So after the Tuesday or Thursday night openings, everyone would go up to Barney’s and hang around—there was The Raincheck Room on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood as well.

Larry Bell in Whitewall: Beyond the Walls, Dec. 2019
The Brooklyn Rail May 2019 Interview with DeWain Valentine

See chapter on Pasadena Art Museum for much more on DeWain Valentine.

Cars

Paige owned a yellow Mustang, a recent model and Richard owned a Corvette.

“A guy named Rex Ramsey stole our cars, but Paige got them back.”

I already knew about Rex Ramsey; he’s connected to Mark F. Segal, through renting Segal’s (where Paige lived as his wife) house at 4144 Crisp Canyon in Sherman Oaks. Both men spent a career heavily involved with cars: sales, importing. racing. Ramsey designed a successful race car once. He did some stunt driving in Hollywood.

(Rex Ramsey told me Mark’s family had a series of car dealerships and a towing service business. “They were quite well off,” Ramsey said. Otherwise he said he did not remember Paige Young but maybe he would later. I haven’t been able to reach him since the second phone call when he was unable to talk with me.)

Richard shows me a picture of himself decked out head to toe in animal fur, looking like mountain man Jedidiah Smith.

Richard and his father were both quite handsome.

1973

He says that “unfortunately” he has no photos of Paige or paintings by her; he has lost a lot of his possessions and paintings over the years but he is hoping to retrieve some of Paige’s paintings in Santa Maria.

“I never knew Paige to be involved with drugs, except an occasional use of grass.” Richard said that she did sometimes drink alcohol and occasionally went to clubs “in the Marina.”

And possibly the Raincheck Room per Larry Bell’s quote.

After I asked about something else and not hearing my question, Richard said “Paige was basically a very good person, until she got mixed up with Hefner. She went downhill then.”

Lewis Beach Marvin 3rd

was born into the family, “who owned Green Stamps. He was a friend of Paige’s and mine. He introduced me to Robert Carl Cohen who put a lot of my sculptures in his movie Mondo Hollywood.

Lewis Beach Marvin and the amazing dwelling he put together in the hills of Malibu, is featured in Mondo Hollywood. The movie is a cult film known as an important document of counterculture LA/1960s history.

I did some research and one story says that Lewis Beach Marvin is the young man who gives Jim Morrison a lamb on stage in Miami on May 1st 1969. This can be seen on a video. It’s the concert that resulted in Morrison’s arrest due to alledgedly exposing his penis on stage.

Lewis Beach Marvin was an vegan activist WAY before it was a “thing.”

He does appear in a Miami article with a lamb around the time of the Doors concert. I have also read a local Miami man gave Morrison the lamb.

The Miami arrest hanging over his head is supposedly one reason Jim Morrison left for Paris where he fatally overdosed on heroin. He was already in bad health due to alcohol abuse.

Shortly after I returned from California, I rented Mondo Hollywood on Amazon. I was unable to specifically identify Richard’s sculptures in the film–a sculptor named Valerie Porter is one of the “main characters” and the movie is heavy on a variety of her sculptures and many other sculptures and structures.

I did an ending credit:

Moonshadow sculpture: Richard Lauren Sample..

Famous pinup and 1950s, 60s Playboy photographer Peter Gowland

Peter Gowland called Richard (in 1974) looking for Paige because she hadn’t been seen for a while. He called Richard back some time later to tell him that Paige had committed suicide. Peter did not tell Richard the method that Paige used to kill herself.

According to Richard: Peter Gowland is the one who suggested and encouraged Paige to try out for Playboy. The two had met a few years previous, Paige had already modeled for Gowland several times.

Without mentioning this to Richard, I knew that Paige had said in a few 1969 interviews “my photographer friend suggested” the idea and submitted her photos to Playboy.

Richard opened Eros Gallery in Westwood in the late 60s. He can’t remember the location beyond that.

The next several photos are all from Playboy magazine November 1968, taken by Peter Gowland. I went through them with Richard.

Richard said this photo below shows him helping Paige carry one of her paintings into his Eros Gallery.

Richard says the seated woman on the left is “Mrs. Burke, my partner in Eros Gallery.” Mrs. Burke was a local patroness of the Arts. He said that Peter Gowland is the man in between Mrs. Burke and Paige.

Playboy magazine November 1968

If it is Gowland, I don’t know who took the shot; Richard said Peter’s wife and co-owner of their photography business, Alice Gowland, was not there that day and he never met her.

According to Richard, this photo of Paige running with her dog Joshua was taken at the Malibu Colony.

Richard said he has no idea who any of these people are at the cookout or in the room with Paige painting. He doesn’t recognize the location.

The painting at right looks like the start of a self portrait

Richard said that when he was living with Paige he “never questioned where she was going, what she was doing” or with whom she was doing it. “And she never questioned me. That is just the way the relationship was.”

Malibu fire

“Me and Harry Gesner went to Paige’s house during the Malibu fire (he’s not sure which year in the 1960s.) and hosed everything down. Paige’s house didn’t burn but everything around it did.”

I then asked a couple of my questions about Paige’s family.

Was there ever an indication that Paige had grown up with a grandmother (Virginia Young LaRocca) who was a Christian Science practitioner/ 1st Reader in the Church for decades? Richard answered, “Nope, nope, not at all.”

Richard said that Paige never talked about her childhood in the SFV, her family, that her birth name was Diana Cotterell, or her marriage to Mark F. Segal. She never said she used Marvin Mitchelson as her lawyer, Richard had never heard of Marvin Mitchelson anyway.

Richard said he met Paige’s sister (Constance/Connie) one time only, when Paige drove him to a visit with her. He said he doesn’t “think that they had a close relationship.”

Richard looked quite exhausted so I ended the interview for the day. I felt bad about telling him too much of Paige’s background that he never knew.

He said it didn’t bother him.

He shared one last thing:

“I introduced Paige to Tony Dow, a good friend of mine. He drove a Porsche. He liked my Vette. He lived in the Valley. “

Tony Dow purchased some of Richard’s art .

Tony Dow died July 27, 2022, just a little over a month after Harry Gesner. He was 77 years old and had decades of pursuing his hobby of sculpture.

Part 2 of the interview is posted.

1960-1964. Paige Young “Miss Panorama City.” Robinson’s of the Valley. Stepfather and Half-Brother Holroyd. Childhood Home Razed. Updated: 08/30/2022

1960-1961  I have not been able to definitively locate where Diana/Paige was living and what she was doing these years. She would have been 16 and 17 years old.

I do find some clues in a SFV phone directory where there is a Virginia Young LaRocca, (widowed in 1959) listed at 13204 Riverside Drive. A 6-plex (at that time) on the corner with Atoll Ave.   Diana could have lived here with her grandmother, as she was only 16 years old in 1960. I have since confirmed this with a close relative of Diana’s; he remembers visiting the Riverside Drive home.

Josephine Young Harker, Virginia’s sister and Diana’s great aunt, is also listed with this address in a 1960 LA phone directory.

(It’s also the address on Ned LaRocca’s death cert. 1959. Unknown if he ever lived there or was at the sanitarium for two years.)

Donna marries Jack Holroyd in Las Vegas in 1958 and their son Wesley Scott Holroyd is born on August 20, 1960. This date is almost 9 months to the day that Donna’s father died.

Diana’s mother Donna and stepfather Jack Holroyd, are listed at 12835 1/2 Oxford Ave., very near Grant High School in 1960, 61 and 62. Diana could have lived here as well. Virginia is listed here at least once or twice in directories and voter registration. I think they would have run out of space pretty quickly.

UPDATE 7/25/2022: I had a phone conversation with a close relative of Paige Young’s. He informed of Donna and Jack Holroyd’s son Wesley.

12385 Oxford Ave. Van Nuys A short walk to Grant High School. Listed on Wesley Holroyd’s birth certificate as his mothers’ address. Wesley was Paige’s half brother.

Panorama City

From the Van Nuys News and Green Sheet., Feb. 6, 1962 There were big plans for the city of Panorama City at this time. It was to be a retail mecca.

Close up on page 2

Van Nuys News and Valley Green Sheet Feb. 6, 1962 Entire article bottom of page.
Van Nuys News and Valley Green Sheet. Feb. 6, 1962

Photo of store where article says Paige is employed.

July 1961 LAT Where Paige would have worked if she worked in sales. It’s very close to 8533 Van Nuys Blvd. but close to anywhere in the Southeast Valley area where Paige was probably living.

This was Robinson’s first store in the SFV and it opened June 27, 1961.

This is the earliest date I have found of Paige’s usage of the name Paige Young: 1962 when she was 18.

The latest date I have seen Paige associated with her birth name, Diana Cotterell, is her 9th grade picture listing in the Van Nuys Jr. High yearbook, 1957, age 15 or 16.

Quite a bit of evidence that Paige, Virginia, Donna and Jack moved to this booming city in the Valley around 1962, possibly in separate apartments.

1963 and 1964 Both Virginia LaRocca and Jack Holroyd are in the phone directory with an address of 8533 Ventura Canyon, Van Nuys.  This address is also listed as Panorama City.

Virginia LaRocca listed at 8533 Ventura Canyon “VN for Van Nuys” At this point living with Jack and Donna.

Donna Holroyd is not listed these years, only her husband.

Here you can see Donna’s Husband Jack Holroyd (H is cut off) listed at 8533 Ventura Canyon Sherman Oaks, but it’s really Panorama City

Donna may have started her studies at UCLA around this time majoring in Early Childhood Education.

Paige’s cousin told me he remembers visiting Donna and Jack Holroyd with baby Wesley in the early 1960s.

He remembers swimming at Donna’s apartment house during many of those visits and that both Panorama City and Oxford St. near Grant High, sound right for the location. He recalls Paige was not present at these visits with the Holroyds.

In 1969 interviews, Paige told reporters she graduated from Van Nuys High School. I have found no school photos of Paige at VNHS. (see 1969: Most Public Year)

Van Nuys News and Valley Green Sheet. Feb. 6, 1962

I’ve seen dozens of newspaper photos accompanied with brief write-ups of model/starlets, beauty contest winners and runners up, from the 50s and 60s. Almost always it includes where the young women attended high school. Many times, they were still in high school. Note that in this write-up of Paige, no high school is mentioned. She has a “background in modelling and drama.”

It is probably the only one I’ve read that doesn’t mention her devotion to oil painting.

I’m really thinking now that Paige dropped out of high school after the 9th or 10th grade.

Paige would be married in Las Vegas 1 1/2 years (Oct. 1, 1963) after this article appeared. The marriage lasted for 11 months (Aug 27, 1964).

In 1964, Paige filled out a divorce questionnaire ( below) stating that she had moved out of the marital home and was “living with family”. Family would have been living at 8533 Ventura Canyon Ave. according to phone listings. Her answer to employment record says clerical-secretary.

See chapter on Marriage and Divorce to Mark F. Segal 1963-1964.

Paige says clerical-secretary here–Was this at Robinson’s in the Valley or was she a salesgirl there? Unclear.

Some of Paige’s quotes from Playboy are about disliking the “9-5 doldrums” and her distaste “working for impersonal corporations.”

By 1963, Diana’s childhood home on Moorpark had been razed.  Records show a city permit (below) requesting a 6-unit apartment to be built. Notice it says NONE (highlighted) for “existing buildings on lot.” I’m not sure when the house was actually torn down.

Did a developer make the LaRoccas an offer for the Moorpark house back in the late 50s when Ned was sick with lung cancer? Many older houses were now being razed for multi-unit housing to meet demand for higher density populations. If you can call a 6-plex multi-housing.

Nearby Ventura Blvd. continued to thrive with many businesses of all kinds.

 SFV continued to experience massive population growth and housing development throughout the 1960s.

 

1974 #3 More on Desmond Guinness. John Huston. Ireland.

Miami Herald March 19, 1974. Paige Young would commit suicide 3 weeks later.

According to Melanie, Paige was afraid of a sex tape being seen by certain people or a certain person. Melanie also said the tape was made of Paige at the Playboy mansion.

I have to wonder if the person or persons in Paige’s mind was Desmond Guinness (and his crowd?)

It’s just a hunch but enough for a lead.

But it is interesting that Desmond was in Los Angeles again rather soon after October 1973 when he was photographed with Paige at a reception honoring him in Santa Barbara; he was back in Southern California March of 1974 .

The following Suzy column was published 9 days before Paige’s suicide. Desmond in bold.

Suzy column Daily News March 28, 1974. Again Desmond is the houseguest of Douglas Campbell. This time Desmond’s daughter Marina accompanied her father to Southern California.

The article below is 7 days before Paige’s suicide.

Jody Jacobs column LAT March 31st 1974.

There is proof that Desmond and Marina were also in Raleigh, NC on or around March 28th, 1974, see article below.

This article is unusual in that it brings up the uncomfortable subject of his mother Diana Mitford and step-father Oswald Mosely.

Raleigh News and Observer March 29, 1974. Notice the comment and story about Stanley Kubrick.

Did John Huston and Desmond Guinness know each other?

Given how much Desmond traveled around Ireland meeting people, restoring castles and seeking funds for the Irish Georgian Society, almost certainly. Desmond’s obituary below says they did.

A renowned socialite, party animal and generous host, Guinness entertained the international jet set at his home, Leixlip Castle. Those who visited included British royalty Princess Margaret, her husband Lord Snowdon, and Lord Mountbatten, A-listers such as Jacqueline Kennedy, film director John HustonMick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull, and his stepfather the British fascist leader Oswald Mosley, his mother Diana Mitford’s husband.

From a Guinesses obituary in The Irish Times August 29, 2020.

This also makes me think Desmond and Mariga knew Ricki Soma Huston, John Huston’s 4th wife and mother to Angelica and Tony.

Rikki lived in St. Clerans in the 50s and 60s and raised her children there until she moved to London sometime in the late 1960s.

Anjelica Huston wrote a memoir about growing up in the St. Clerans estate.

Did Paige meet Desmond Guinness when she stayed with John and Celeste Huston at St. Clerans in 72-73 ish?

Los Angeles Times Dec. 1, 1974 Hugh Hefner speaks at the Sportmen’s Lodge, a stone’s throw from the house where Paige Young grew up as Diana Cotterell, 13055 Moorpark St.

1966: July Paige Transfers From Marvin M. Mitchelson To New Law Firm. Donna and Virginia New SFV Location.

July 1966

Paige gets transferred from the Marvin Mitchelson law firm of Beverly Hills, to the law firm of Silverton, Ruderman and Graf of Studio City. Her new law firm is located at 12345 Ventura Blvd.; a 5 minute drive from her childhood home at 13055 Moorpark St.

This may have happened because Marvin Michelson was busy climbing the ladder of success in 1966.

He continued to represent Hollywood and Beverly Hills “soon-to-be-divorced-wives.”

LA Herald-Examiner gossip columnist Harrison Carroll 1966.

(66 also brought Marvin international work in London from a rock band.)

Aldo Ray spoke bitterly about his ex-wives. I have several more articles about him not included here.

Oakland Paper 1964

Marvin Michelson may have grown tired of Paige’s divorce case by 1966 and the non-payment. Her “interlocutory” ex-husband, Mark F. Segal hadn’t paid more than the one payment in 64, despite his legally being in contempt of court.

Any publicity for “weird headlines” (see chapter on Segal-Young Divorce Makes Headlines) had long since ceased to be of any benefit to MMM.

There are divorce documents dated all the way into 1969 showing Paige and her lawyers still trying to collect the unpaid, court ordered alimony and lawyer’s fees.

1966 Paige’s Mother, Donna Holroyd, and her grandmother, Virginia Young LaRocca, are listed in the phone directory at 5760 Hazeltine. It’s an apartment building on the corner of Hazeltine and Hatteras in Van Nuys. Jack Holroyd is not listed at this location.

UPDATE 7/18/2022: Donna and Jack Holroyd had a baby boy in August of 1960. Diana would have been 16 years old.

A relative told me he did not see Diana or Paige in this family unit when he visited Donna, Jack and the baby in the early 1960s. “They had an apartment with a swimming pool that had no heat.”

1963 Marriage & 1964 Divorce to Mark F. Segal. Marvin M. Mitchelson Lawyer. Headlines.

1963 October 1st Paige Young marries Mark Frederick Segal in Las Vegas, per nearly impossible to read ledger records found on ancestry.com.

Notice in the Valley News December 25, 1964

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 Mark F. Segal, born in 1942, is 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 has several locations or moves 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. Or they

Ramsey told me that father Harold Segal also owned 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 Ventura.

Paige continues to board her horse Hamish at Sepulveda Stables.  A young friend at the stables emailed this information and wrote to me about Paige’s connection to her home on Crisp Canyon. It’s very close to the neighborhood where Diana Cotterell lived and attended elementary and junior high school.

The young friend of Paige’s from told me that when she was 12 years old, Paige (19/20 years old), drove her to the house on Crisp Canyon Rd. to hang out and drink lemonade.

1964

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.

NEW YORK, NY – CIRCA 1979: Marvin Mitchelson, Celebrity divorce lawyer circa 1979 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Platzer/IMAGES/Getty Images)

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.”

Divorce document Declaration of husband to determine Mark’s income, shows address where Paige and Mark lived in Crisp Canyon south of Ventura. A small, rustic, weekend cabin for Hollywood types says Rex Ramsey, friend of Mark and Paige.

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.

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.

(divorce documents in collection of author)

The divorce filing is a bit out-of-the-ordinary and was picked up by a wire service and appears in a handful of newspapers across the country.

Some examples below:

August 28, 1964 The Desert Sun-Palm Springs
South Bend Tribune Aug. 28, 1964
Los Angeles Evening-Citizen News Aug. 28, 1964 Only article I have found that mentions lawyer Marvin M. Mitchelson and the couple’s home address.
Dayton Daily News Aug. 28, 1964
Dayton Daily News. Here Paige is an “Artist’s Model” This may have added interest for local newspapers, when reading their wire service stories.
Cincinnati Post and Times. Aug. 28, 1964

There is a high probability that Marvin Mitchelson was behind the above stories.

We might call these headlines “click-bait” today.

Apparently, early in his career, Marvin looked for ways to garner publicity for himself:

“..In the early days, when his client list was still thin, he could gin up publicity by filing an oddball lawsuit himself…this was 1964 and he had to work with what material was sent him.” 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’s divorce filing is published in a few newspapers, news breaks that Beverly Hills society matron and LA talk show host, Pamela Mason, has won the unprecedented amount of 1 million dollars, for her divorce settlement from husband of 20 years: actor James Mason.

  

Her lawyer is Marvin Mitchelson.

Sept.1, 1964 Pasadena Independent, Pasadena, California.

Jenkins details the 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.” “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.”

The Mason case was a first as far as Hollywood divorces go, and a breakthrough for Marvin Mitchelson’s career.

Later this same year, Michelson represents legendary lyricist Alan Lerner’s estranged wife, Micheline.

LAT Dec. 22, 1964

Mark F. Segal came from a fairly well off Sherman Oaks family. Father Harold Segal owned a thriving car business according to friend and possible car thief Rex Ramsey. Still he wasn’t in a league with rich and famous genius of My Fair Lady composer Alan Lerner.

However, both did have a couple things in common: 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.

Mark’s attorney is Bernard Echt. Mark files a cross complaint about Paige and states that she is the one is abusive to him.

 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 in Sherman Oaks.

Both parties are ordered to not annoy, molest or harass the other.

1965

This year shows Mark has not been making his required alimony and lawyer’s fees since 1964.

Defendant Mark F. Segal is delinquent in alimony payments 64-65

Order to show cause that Mark is in contempt; alimony unpaid up to middle of 1965

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.

1950s #2 Diana Cotterell in the SFV. Grade School. Horses. Sepulveda Stables. Van Nuys Junior High. Donna V. Remarries. Grandfather Ned Dies. New Information. Updated 1/28/23

Diana should have started grade school in about 1950. It appears she lived in Gardena in 1950 per the 1950 census. It’s unknown where she started grade school in that community.

Grandmother Virginia LaRocca is listed in an online Gardena 1951 phone directory as a Christian Science Practitioner, see below. Husband Joseph Ned is not listed. This is unusual after looking at decades of the couple linked. Had Ned already moved up to the SFV? Did the girls and Donna move with him or stay with Virginia another year in Gardena?

The family likely moved to 13055 Moorpark St in Studio City between 1952-1954.

Riverside Drive Elementary is located at 13061 Riverside Drive, very close to the Moorpark house.

If the Cotterell girls walked to school from their house on Moorpark, all they had to do was turn north on Ethel Ave., and it was a straight walk straight to the school. It would have taken only a few minutes.

There would have been no Ventura Freeway to walk under along the way.  I think that came in 1959.

UPDATE 5-20-20 I found this article.

Both Dixie Canyon and Riverside Drive elementary schools are the same distance, .6 miles, to the Moorpark/Ethel house where Diana lived with her mother, sister and grandparents through much of the 1950s.

But Diana was definitely at Dixie Canyon in the 6th grade as seen in the article.

It can be confirmed that she attended Van Nuys Junior High for the 7th and 9th grades.

This photo below is one of the first articles I found that showed me Diana Cotterell and Paige Young were the same person.

Valley News April 7, 1957
Diana Cotterell Age 15/16

1959 The above photo is from the Van Nuys Junior High yearbook. Diana Cotterell was in the 9th grade. Her grandfather Jospeh Ned LaRocca would die later that year. (separate post) I found these photos in the VNJH school library with the librarian standing over me as lunch was about to start. There were several yearbooks, more like paper notebooks, in a jumble. This was the only photo I could find of Diana on that day. I haven’t found a photo of her 8th grade year.

I have reason to believe that Diana Cotterell dropped out of school after the 9th grade.

Here is the photo in a larger context. Candy Conklin was with the Singing King family at some point.

Van Nuys News June 18, 1959.
Many SFV schools had graduation ceremonies, mid June 1959, including Van Nuys Junior High shown in the 3rd column. Diana Lee Cotterell would have been among the graduates that day.
Yearbooks from 1956 & 1958 Van Nuys Junior High . Diana Cotterell attended here from 1957-1959. She is not in the 58′ yearbook that I can see, but is in the 59′ edition as shown above

1953-1959 Like many kids living in 1950s San Fernando Valley, Diana Lee Cotterell is obsessed with horses. Diana rides and boards her horse at Sepulveda Stables, located at 5763 Sepulveda Blvd, on the corner of Hatteras.

Equestrian shows were held almost every weekend in the Los Angeles area in the 1950s.

Valley News and Green Sheet June 18, 1959 I’ve never found Diana or Paige named in an article about a SS presentation.

There were commercial horse stables and riding trails all over the SFV in the 50s and 60s. In fact the whole area was known as still rural in the post-war era, even as the population exploded and the rural land was paved over.

In the 1950s of suburban-rural SFV.,horse husbandry was considered a wholesome activity for youth and thought to produce responsible America citizens.

And probably most importantly, it would keep kids and teens busy and separated from the bad influences of “juvenile delinquency,” a growing social concern of the 1950s, all over America.

source: Making the San Fernando Valley: Rural Landscapes, Urban Development and White Privilege by Laura R. Barraclough

Diana owned a horse named Hamish from junior high, 1957-1959, to at least 1964 when she was married to Mark Segal and living at his house at 4133 Crisp Canyon Rd. .

Sepulvedastables.net where I got much of this information seems to have been removed. I spoke with the owner of the website a few years earlier who remembered Paige. This woman was 12 or 13 and Paige was probably 19 or 20 living with Mark Segal on Crisp Canyon Rd.. Paige invited this girl up for lemonade to this address on Crisp Canyon Rd.

The future Mrs. John Huston and friend to Paige Young, Celeste Shane, (see chapters on her) also boards a horse at Sepulveda Stables by the early 1960s. as does actress Donna Reed and actress Jill St. John who was a close friend of Celeste’s.

Donna Virginia LaRocca Cotterell marries John “Jack” Holroyd in Las Vegas on October 31958, per online Vegas wedding records very difficult to decipher. Found on ancestry.com.

Patriarch Joseph Ned LaRocca dies of lung cancer towards the end of 1959.

LAT November 18, 1959.

Ned LaRocca’s grave is in Glen Haven Memorial Park in Sylmar.

Below are closeups of Ned LaRocca’s death certificate.

It looks like he spent about a year in a sanitarium located on Foothill Blvd. in the Tujunga/Sunland area. It was called “Lakeview Terrace Sanitarium” and the building was originally the home of silent film star Francis X. Bushman.

I have been unable to learn if this was specifically a Christian Science sanitarium, (his wife was a CSP) but I have learned that the Tujunga area was considered to have cleaner air than other parts of the San Fernando Valley.

93F067DF-D2A2-4560-AE5E-221FC1E2C258_1_201_a

 Note the name of last employer: Leith Stevens.

NEW

There was an obituary placed in Ned’s hometown of Peoria, Illinois upon his death. Recently posted to Find-a-grave, I will transcribe below.

Joe N. (Ned) LaRocca, a native Peorian like his brother Roxy LaRocca and a former Vaudeville star, died Sunday night at his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He had been in failing health a number of years and had suffered several strokes.

He was a music contractor for Columbia Broadcasting Co. in Hollywood for many years.

Mr. LaRocca, a harpist, appeared in vaudeville with the Young Sisters, Virginia and Josephine, and later married Virginia. They continued with their act until the birth of a child when Mr. LaRocca joined a brother, Paul LaRocca, now operator of a local barber shop, in a new stage act.

Later, he became associated with his brother Roxy in New York theatre appearances. After Roxy left on a European tour, Mr. LaRocca became associated with CBS Radio, an association that he continued until last summer when he retired due to bad health.

Born in July, 1894, in the house at 1411 Martin St., presently occupied by his brother Roxy, he was a son of Salvatore and Roseanne LaRocca. He and his wife have been married for 42 years. She survives, with a daughter Donna V., and two grandchildren, all of Sherman Oaks: his two brothers, Roxy and Paul: and a sister, Kathryn Marinello, of North Hollywood, Calif. Two other brothers, Nick and Frank, are deceased.

Funeral services and burial will be today in Sherman Oaks.

Peoria Illinois Star November 18, 1959

There are obvious discrepancies between the death cert. and the obit. Died at home in obit. instead of Lakeview Terrace Sanitarium, death cert. “Cancer of the lung” in death cert. vs. a series of strokes.

Joseph and Virginia Married in 1915 and then became a vaudeville act with Josephine. Not the order as described in the obit, which was likely written by Virginia or Donna V.

1950s #1 Updated 12/07/22: 1950 Census. Gardena. Move to San Fernando Valley. Ned LaRocca & Virginia & Family. Recording Industry LA. Leith Stevens.

San Fernando Valley abbreviated SFV.

The newly released 1950 census gives us

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.

This is an online Gardena 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 in directories and voter registrations.?

When did Diana and family leave Los Feliz? late 1940s?

Yes probably

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.

The LaRoccas are requesting a house alteration to make more rooms and a seperate entrance for a “rental unit.” Was the family living in Gardena and waiting for this construction work to be completed in Studio City? And did Ned LaRocca move there first while Virginia stayed in Gardena a bit longer?

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 as is Sportsman’s Lodge; a classic Hollywood and SFV venue landmark.

The family knew about the area for some time because Joseph’s only sister Kathryn Marinello, and her husband Anthony opened a food store at 13251 Moorpark in 1947.

Entitled “New Business Filings in the Valley” Van Nuys News Oct. 10, 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.

1950 census. Mildred Marinello (seen as Marinell) has married a man named Clifton Barnett. Mildred’s parents Anthony and Kathryn (retail grocery) live at the same address: 13011 Moorpark Street. It’s on the same street as their grocery business and only a few hundred feet from 13055 Moorpark where the Ned LaRocca/Cotterell family moved in approx. 1952.
1954 Los Angeles directory. Ned, Virginia and Donna living on Moorpark St. Studio City/Sherman Oaks.

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.

From the facebook page “SFV in the 50, 60s, 70s. Very close to where Paige/Diana lived with her family for at least a few years in the mid-1950s.

“The end of WW2 transformed the Valley and vastly accelerated its growth: 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.

Ned La Rocca death certificate. Indicates working for Leith Stevens; conductor composer for TV and Movies.

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 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.”  

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.

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.”

More on Virginia Young LaRocca,

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 about her early years as a vaudeville performer in the family history chapters 19 teens and 1920s

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.

Evidence of 2 seperate address for what was really one house.
1950s directory. Notice Donna’s middle name Virginia is used. She still uses the name of ex-husband (common practice then as now.) who is listed right above her name, at a Canoga Park address where he lived with Mrs. Patricia Cotterell and their two children.

It is probable that grandfather Ned LaRocca was the primary breadwinner of his household.

I’m sure Donna received child support and likely alimony as this would have been normal for the times.

1940s (1930s) Los Angeles: Family. Marriage. Hollywood Wedding Chapel. Los Feliz. WW2. P.O.W. Divorce. Updated 1/15/2023.

Diana Cotterell/Paige Young’s parents: Robert M. Cotterell was 23 and Donna 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.”)

Certificate of marriage for Robert M. Cotterell and Donna Virginia LaRocca. Mildred K. Marinell signature listed on next to last line. Mildred is the daughter of Joseph LaRocca’s only sister Kathryn LaRocca Marinelli. Mildred dropped the i from her birth name. Mildred and Donna are first cousins.

Below is the Hollywood Wedding Chapel where Robert and Donna were married as stated on the marriage certificate.

Located a stone’s throw to Chateau Marmont. Found on the internet.

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.

Hollywood Citizen Nov. 15, 1940 Miss Penny Pepper? Address is 3834 Evans.

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. 

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.

From the 1944 birth cert. of Diana Cotterell. Father was an Aviator in the US Army.

Donna’s parents 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)

LA Voter’s Registration 1934. Joseph the only Republican amongst his wife, his neighbor and brother Frank and Frank’s wife Rose. Daughter Donna would have been 13 years old. Virginia would always be listed as a Republican beginning in the 1940s.

Diana’s mother Donna Virginia LaRocca was born in 1921, in Peoria, Illinois, hometown of her father. 

She 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.)

 1944 Second Lieutenant Army Air Diana and her sister’s father was Corps Heavy Bomber Robert M. Cotterell, he was captured on May 27th and imprisoned in a German POW camp.

LAT Aug. 19, 1944 listed at Arbolada here.

Robert Cotterell’s daughter Constance is 2 years old, and Diana only 5 months, on the date the POW announcement was published.  

City Document dated 1943. Owner of 3834 Evans St., J.N. LaRocca, is having an outside closet built, “in which a hot air heat will be installed.”

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.

Public military record found online.

1947

Donna LaRocca Cotterell files for divorce against Robert Morgan Cotterell.

Los Angeles Times September 16, 1947

1947 The Cotterell’s divorce is finalized.

Los Angeles Times Novemeber 6, 1947

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:

“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 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 near Griffith Park.

Antonio LaBianca, father of Leno LaBianca, bought the Waverly house in 1940.  So the 2 Italian families (Joseph’s wife Virginia was not Italian but Mormon with English ancestry) were neighbors at one point, even if they never met.

Below shows the 1944 voter’s registration including the parents of Leno LaBianca: Antonio and Corina La Bianca on Waverly Dr. And right after them we see Joseph and Virgina La Rocca listed at the Arbolada address. Virginia’s listing leaves off “Christian Science” and just says her employment is “practitioner.”

 

Ned’s sister and her daughter Mildred, are listed at the same house as Ned and Virginia.

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 grow

Here we see the LaRocca’s in the same voter’s registration log in 1936. D and R seems to be reversed. Virginia became a Republican sometime the 1940s. Virginia is a “housewife” and not an “actress.”
LAT May 25, 1938 Mildred “Marinell,” Kathryn’s daughter, did not marry Lewis E. Filman. We can see she is living with the LaRoccas at the Evans address.
LAT May 25, 1938 Mildred “Marinell,” Kathryn’s daughter, did not marry Lewis E. Filman. We can see she is living with the LaRoccas at the Evans address
Van Nuys News and Valley Green Sheet Dec. 4, 1942 Still at the Evan address. Mildred would name her daughter Donna Lee, Lee was Diana/Paige’s middle name, Bartlett, born in the early 1950s.

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 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, 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.

3710/12 Arbolada high on a high with the view seen below.

View from Arbolada Drive is spectacular as is the original building itself.