My Interview with Artist/Paige Young Friend Richard Sample. 1960-1969. Malibu. Venice. Celebrity Connections. PART 1. Updated 10/30/2021

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

Recently, I interviewed Richard Sample, Paige’s ex-boyfriend, painter, sculptor and assemblage artist.

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 where Parry heard his name in association with Paige Young.

I am so appreciative 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.

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 some woman in a red car was in front of her Uncle Richard’s house.

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.

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

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

After we sat down to talk, Sample told 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 it as our time together progressed.

I would 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 about my journey with this story about Paige.

This chapter and the next will be a mixture of exact quotes from my tape recorder as well as transcribed hand notes. I will make a few personal observations and I will write more of my thoughts at a later date. I might make short videos.

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

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.

Richard was in the military but he “Never made it to Vietnam, just Ft. Bragg North Carolina”.

Richard’s father was Charlie/Charles Sample, a well known artist, an eccentric Los Angeles character and talented goldsmith/jeweler to the “Stars.” ( Charlie in more detail later.)

Richard Sample met Paige Young in the art world of Malibu in the 1960s.

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

“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 long Rudi Gernreich dress and is barefoot.

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

I asked about Hamish the horse and Richard says she did not keep a horse in Malibu.

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 Gessner. 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 the famous Cooper house by architect Harry Gessner

He sent Gessner and Paige to my studio in Malibu, “to see my art.”

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

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

Jonathan Winters:

Richard asks me why I asked him about Jonathan Winters, in one of my letters to him.

I told him about the archival newspaper interviews with Paige from 1969, while promoting Playboy around the country. Some of the articles mention that Paige has appeared as an extra or “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:

“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 (Winters) but Dennis could tell you all about it. Dennis never met Paige, but he did know about her.”

Presumably because of Jonathan Winters.

Paige did not tell Richard 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.

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.

A frequent visitor and performer at many Playboy Clubs was Bill Cosby.

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

Richard said one time when he was picking Paige up from the club, he saw Bill Cosby get angry at Paige after she rebuffed another one of his advances.

Playboy building on the right. It had the club, offices and a suite on the top for Hugh Hefner while he was in LA.
Back of postcard. Club was opened on New Year’s Eve 1964

Richard then asked me if I was sure that Paige committed suicide and was not murdered. I said I have a copy of her death certificate with the 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.” (suicide) 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 DeWitt listed as a “2nd witness” on the police report, the police at Paige’s house and coroner’s office. 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 moved to Venice Beach, around 1966-67 motivated by its’ thriving art scene. Paige joined Richard not too long after he moved.

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

He said about famous “Light and Space” artists, “De Wain Valentine had a studio next door to Paige and me.” “He was a friend of mine. Another friend, Larry Bell, lived across the street from us, on Market.”

“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 a quote from both Larry Bell and DeWain Valentine in an art magazine.

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

Dec. 2019 by Desiree Milton in Whitewall: Beyond the Walls.

The Brooklyn Rail May 2019 Interview with DeWain Valentine

Richard Sample
Detail of photo with artists Richard Sample, left, Paige Young and Rodney Rowland King. mid to late 1960s.

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 cars, car parts and race cars, and 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.)

“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.

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

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

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.

He say 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 presumably the Raincheck Room, to be determined, 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 the 3rd parents’ 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 film.

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 also read it was a local Miami man who gave Morrison the lamb, this is the same concert where Morrison allegedly exposed his penis on stage and was arrested..

This was one reason Morrison left for Paris. (Supposedly)

Shortly after I returned from California, I rented Mondo Hollywood on Amazon. I was unable to spot Richard’s sculptures in the film–a sculptress 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 see his ending credit as:

Moonshadow sculpture: Richard Lauren Sample

..

Famous pin-up and 50s, 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.

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.

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.

TiRi

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 has no idea who any of these people are at the cookout or in the room with Paige painting what looks like the start of a self-portrait. He doesn’t recognize the location.

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 and a 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 “feel “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 remembered and 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 .

Part 2 of the interview is posted.

1960-1964. Paige Young “Miss Panorama City.” Robinson’s of the Valley. Childhood Home Razed.

1960-1961  I have not been able to locate where Diana/Paige was living at these years.

However, in a SFV phone directory, I find 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. Josephine Young Harker, Diana’s great aunt, is also listed with this address in a 1960 LA phone directory.

Paige probably? lived here with her grandmother for a couple years. It’s also the address on Ned LaRocca’s death cert. 1959.

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.

12385 Oxford Ave. Van Nuys

Panorama City

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.

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

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

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

Virginia LaRocca listed at 8533 Ventura Canyon “VN for Van Nuys”

P
From the Van Nuys News and Green Sheet., Feb. 6, 1962 There were big plans for the city of Panorama City at this time.
Van Nuys News and Valley Green Sheet. Feb. 6, 1962

Close up on page 2

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

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.

It is probable that Grandmother Virginia Young LaRocca, mother Donna Holroyd and stepfather Jack Holroyd, were living at 8533 Ventura Canyon Ave at this time-1962. If Paige was living with them, it would have been a very short drive to her job (as stated in above article) at the Panorama City location of J.W. Robinson’s, a legendary LA department store.

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

July 1961 LAT Where Paige would have worked if she worked in sales.

The article states Paige is an “accomplished equestrienne,” and a model.

Unusually, it doesn’t mention her devotion to oil painting.

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.”

In some 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)

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).

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

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.

If that is true and it was for Robinson’s of the Valley, there was a payroll/personnel department separate from the department store, located at 8501 Van Nuys Blvd. right by the store.

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

 Meanwhile, 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.

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.

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.

 

1974 #3 Desmond & Marina 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. (This was a non-consensual tape made of Paige and an unknown partner according to Melanie.)

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

It’s nothing I can confirm at this point.

But it is interesting that Desmond was in Los Angeles for an extended stay (accompanied by his 17-year-old daughter Marina this time ) close to the time of Paige’s death.

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

Suzy column Daily News March 28, 1974.

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

Jody Jacobs column LAT March 31st 1974

Desmond and Marina were also in Raleigh, NC on March 28th, 1974. The 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.

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?

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.

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. Simi Valley.

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.

Marvin Michelson may have grown tired of Paige’s divorce case by 1966; she is not recorded as doing so in the stack I divorce papers I purchased. Nor was her “interlocutory” ex-husband, Mark F. Segal, he hadn’t paid more than the one payment in 64.

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

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.

All 3 of them would soon move together to the Simi Valley area where Donna Holroyd would open a state funded daycare for young mothers trying to work and go to school. The school was in an area of Oxford. (1970-71)

By April of 1974 Donna and Jack Holroyd were divorced and Donna was living. with her mother Virginia back in Sherman Oaks, at the lovely Chase Knolls Apartment Community on Huston St. Donna’s address here is on Paige’s death certificate in 1974, Donna as Next of Kin.

This address is on Virginia LaRocca’s death cert. in 1976.

Also appears on Donna Virginia Holroyd’s death certificate in 1980.

See Chapters Whatever Happened To and Paige’s Death Cert.

1964 & 65: Segal-Young Divorce Makes Headlines. Divorce Details. M.M.M. James and Pamela Mason: Divorce Beverly Hills Style.

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

Some examples below:

August 28, 1964 The Desert Sun-Palm Springs
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. Here Paige is an “Artist’s Model” This may have added interest for local newspapers, when reading their wire service stories.

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

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

Apparently, early in his career, he 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.

 Hollywood History/Celebrity Connections: Only a few days after Paige files for divorce,  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.

dated 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.

 Mark’s attorney is Bernard Echt from Sherman Oaks. Echt, A few years down the road, Echt would represent the milkman who was being sued by Vincent Bugliosi for suspected impregnation of his wife. Strange yet true.

Bernard Echt is Mark Segal’s attorney

 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

1963 Paige Young Marriage & 1964 Divorce to Mark F. Segal. Marvin M. Mitchelson Lawyer. Divorce Documents.

1963 October 1st Paige Young marries Mark Frederick Segal in Las Vegas, per ledger records from Las Vegas.

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. At one time at least, they resided in Sherman Oaks at 4518 Vista Del Monte. Mark was a marine private who took combat training in 1961 at Camp Pendleton.

  Segal was a car dealer at “Sea-Gull Motors,” a business started by his father according to newspaper ads in the late 1950s. Sea-Gull Motors moves locations several times in the Sherman Oaks/Van Nuys area in the 1960s, including 7211 Balboa Avenue, 4425 Van Nuys Blvd. and  6738 Sepulveda Blvd.

Rex Ramsey, a friend of Mark’s since high school, told me that the father Harold Segal also owned Fox Auto Service in the SFV and the Segal family had several brothers in addition to Mark.

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.  The Crisp Canyon address is close to the neighborhood where Diana Cotterell lived and attended elementary and junior high school.

A friend of Paige’s from Sepulveda Stables told me a story 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 on 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 in Downtown LA.

Document shows Marvin M. Michelson was Paige Young’s divorce lawyer
Paige’s complaints about husband Mark Segal and demanding he not hide his money for one thing.

 The filing 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 a restraining order.
Signature of Paige Young on divorce filing

Paige is granted the temporary restraining order.

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.

Declaration of Husband Document.

Marvin Mitchelson, on behalf of 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)

    

 

1950s #3 Diana Cotterell. SFV. Grade School. Horses. Sepulveda Stables. Van Nuys Junior High.

Diana started grade school in about 1950. She attended Riverside Dr. Elementary. A schoolmate of Diana’s at Riverside confirmed this for me–Robbyn Samuels.

I visited in 2016. Located at 13061 Riverside Drive.a12333ef-762c-4bfd-9ab3-2b376db1a416_1_201_a

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

I don’t know if Robbyn Samuels remembered incorrectly or if Diana went to both grade schools. But she was definitely at Dixie Canyon in the 6th grade

Both Dixie Canyon and Riverside Drive elementary schools are the same distance to the Moorpark/Ethel house where Diana lived with her mother, sister and grandparents. Their house was basically in the dead center between the two schools

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 hope to return and check more thoroughly. 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.

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
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.
Image I took of a hallway at VNJH

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.

There were commercial horse stables and riding trails all over the SFV in the 50s and 60s.

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 thus away from the bad influences of “juvenile delinquency,” a growing social concern of the 1950s. 

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. .

It is unknown if Diana ever participated in the many equestrienne shows performed by her fellow riders at Sepulveda Stables. 

Valley News and Green Sheet June 18, 1959

Early 1960s and earlier The future Mrs. John Huston and friend to Paige Young, Celeste Shane, also boards a horse at Sepulveda Stable as does actress Donna Reed and actress Jill St. John.

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.

1950s #2 SFV. Virginia Young LaRocca CSP. Family Life At 13055 Moorpark st. aka 4414 N. Ethel St.

Virginia Young LaRocca is 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.

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.

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A 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.

The Christian Science Church won the right to accept insurance for their practitioners, but I have been unable to find what year.

I can’t tell how much income Virginia made 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 the household.

I’m sure Donna received child support and likely alimony as this was the norm of the era.

1950s #1 Move to San Fernando Valley. Recording Industry LA. Celebrity Connections. Leith Stevens.

Hereafter known as SFV.

1950

Aerial view of Sherman Oaks in 1950 around the time Diana Cotterell and her family moved to this area.

Around this year Diana and her family move to 13055 Moorpark St., 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.

This image shows the Hughes Market that stood on that intersection. I believe it is the southeast corner.

From the facebook page “SFV in the 50, 60s, 70s.

The Los Angeles River is nearby as is Sportsman’s Lodge; a classic Hollywood stars and SFV landmark. Apparently you could fish there.

I first connected the family to 13055 Moorpark St. address by an online city building permit:

The LaRoccas are requesting a house alteration to make more rooms and a seperate entrance for a “rental unit.”

Diana’s father Robert Morgan Cotterell also moved to the SFV around this time, but further west of his daughters and ex-wife. His current wife Pat and their two children, 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 SFV after World War 2, from both inside and outside of Los Angeles.

“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

Patriarch Joseph Ned LaRocca to adapted to the waning popularity of radio programs by working for Leith Stevens as an orchestra manager in the growing LA recording industry.

Ned already had experience with “adapting”to a new mass medium, when his first industry, vaudeville, died out in the early 30s during the Great Depression.

One significant factor that changed radio was the rise of TV in the 1950s. Drama and comedy serials 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

And

The importance of television for the film industry during the 1950s cannot be overstated. It has been argued that television was the primary factor affecting the dramatic plunge in ticket sales, box-office receipts, and company profits in Hollywood between 1947 and 1957.

encyclopedia.com

 I discovered that Ned LaRocca spent most of the 1950s working as an orchestra manager for composer/conductor Leith Stevens.

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.”

Secondly, the 1953 score to the Marlon Brando movie “The Wild One.”  This became a successful album released by Decca records and remains Leith Stevens most well-known and well-regarded creation.  J. Ned LaRocca is credited as “Contractor” on the project. Per Discogs.com.

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.”

Besides composing the popular “The Wild One” soundtrack and album, Leith Stevens composed numerous scores used for stock music in radio shows, movies and  TV.

 IMDB says many of his compositions go uncredited. Stevens had a  diverse career; in the 1950s, he composed music used in films and TV series such as the George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Ma and Pa Kettle, Earth vs. Flying Saucers, Crusader Rabbit (a T.V. series), the Ann Sothern Show, and the Twilight Zone.

More on Leith Stevens soon.

1940s PARENTS Marriage Hollywood Wedding Chapel. Honeymoon. WW2. P.O.W. Divorce. Arbolada Rd.

Robert M. Cotterell was 23 and Donna LaRocca 19 when they were married in 1940.

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

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.

Diana’s mother Donna Virginia LaRocca was born in 1921, in Peoria, Illinois. 

Donna’s parents were Ned and Virginia LaRocca, vaudevillians who travelled the Pantages, Orpheum and other vaudeville circuits for about the first 10 years of her life.

Donna LaRocca moved with her parents to Los Angeles around 1934.

Below is the Hollywood Wedding Chapel where Robert and Donna were married as stated on the marriage certificate. The location is about one block from the infamous and historic Chateau Marmont hotel.  The famed Garden of Allah apartment building was across the street.

Located a stone’s throw to Chateau Marmont. Found on the internet.
Hollywood Citizen Nov. 15, 1940 Miss Penny Pepper????????

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, 8225 Sunset Blvd is a Pink Taco restaurant. 

 1944 Second Lieutenant Army Air Corps Heavy Bomber Robert M. Cotterell was captured on May 27th and imprisoned in a German POW camp. His address is listed as 3712 Arbolada as seen in the cutout below.

 (Robert Cotterell is listed with the Evans address on his daughter Diana Lee’s birth certificate.)

LAT Aug. 19, 1944

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

1945 Robert Cotterell is liberated from the German Camp.

Public military record found online.

1944 Mother Donna Cotterell is listed as living at 3710/12 Arbolada address on her voter registration this year. Seen on ancestry.com

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 as was common at the time, as well as child support for Constance and Diana.