Posted on April 7, 2023
As established in the other chapters, Desmond Guinness traveled all over the USA for many years, promoting his books on architecture and fundraising for his passion, preservation of Irish Georgian castles.
According to neighbor Melanie in the Daily Mail, 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 one person in Paige’s mind was Desmond Guinness (and his crowd?)
It’s just a hunch, but enough for a lead.
It is interesting that Desmond visited Los Angeles 6 months apart. He was photographed with Paige in Santa Barbara in October of 1973,then he was back in Los Angeles in March of 1974.
These were last few weeks of Paige’s life. It’s unknown if the two ever saw each other outside of that one documented date at Guy Roop’s house.
The following Suzy high society gossip column, was published 9 days before Paige’s suicide. Desmond in bold.
The article below is 7 days before Paige’s suicide.
There is proof that Desmond and Marina also appeared 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.
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 Huston, Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull, and his stepfather the British fascist leader Oswald Mosley, his mother Diana Mitford’s husband.Desmond 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? Possibly.
1960 issue of Color Photography Magazine shows and image of Ricki Soma Huston by legendary photographer Philippe Halsman.
Coincidentally, Huston’s 5th wife, Celeste Shane Huston’s photo appears in this same issue. Coming soon.
Enrica “Ricki” Soma was married to John Huston from 1950 until her untimely death in a car accident in 1969. Ricki had already moved of St. Clerans by this time and resided in London.
Philippe Halsman discovered Ricki Soma for the cover of Life magazine in June of 1946.
Category: 1970s, LA Locations Tagged: 1970sLA, 1974, Angelica Huston, Desmond Guinness, Enrica Soma, Hugh Hefner, Ireland, Irish Georgian Society, John Huston, Leixlip Castle, Los Angeles History, Marina Guinness, Mitford Sisters, Oswald Mosley, Paige Young, Ricki Soma Huston, SFV, Sportsman's Lodge, St. Clarens, St. Clerans, Studio City, Tony Huston
Posted on June 8, 2021
UPDATE: Richard L. Sample passed away on August 10, 2021.
Recently, I interviewed Richard Sample, Paige’s ex-boyfriend and friend, painter, sculptor, collage-maker, 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 (Ellie) 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 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 since 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 exactly, 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.
First some background about Richard Sample.
Richard’s father was Charles “Charlie” Sample, a well known artist, an eccentric Los Angeles/California character. Charlie and Richard moved around a bit within California.
Charles was mainly locally famous as a talented goldsmith/jeweler to the Hollywood stars, in particular the western ones. This him kept in Los Angeles for a long stay.
Richard showed 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.
Richard’s mother the former Virginia Smith was one of about 8 women that modeled for the Columbia Pictures symbol. His parents divorced when Richard was young and his mother remarried and had more children. Richard was distressed about this and acted out according to a relative of his whom communicated with through ancestry.com
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 said he was in the military but “never made it to Vietnam, just Ft. Bragg North, Carolina.” He showed me his military ID.
Richard had several memories of Paige he wanted to share 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 and 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 their horses and been involved with these animals 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.”
“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.)
Richard and Paige “immediately hit it off” and began dating.
Before I saw the above pamphlet on ebay, Richard had told me that his art had been purchased by Vincent Price, Elaine de Kooning, and Harry Gesner, spelled incorrectly here. Edward Ravick is also listed as a buyer.
I first contacted Richard by letter and one thing I asked him was if he knew of a connection with Paige and Jonathan Winters.
When we met in person, he asked me what prompted my question about Winters.
I told him of Paige’s newspaper interviews from 1969 when she promoted Playboy After Dark around the country. In a few articles, that Paige is said to have “appeared in many skits, on The Jonathan Winters Show.” It ran from 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.
“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.
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 it easy to find out that Winters had a residence in Montecito, quite close to the artsy town of Los Alamos.
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.
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.
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 cert. and I 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 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 and quickly becoming nationally famous art scene, and to join his father, who was already in a Venice studio and he had a storefront.
“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.”
“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. His niece Ellie says Richard leased the Venice studio to Paige.
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 Pasadena Art Museum appearance with Warhol 1970)
“Valentine 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 but 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
See chapter on Pasadena Art Museum for much more on DeWain Valentine.
Paige owned a yellow Mustang, and Richard owned a red Corvette.
“A guy named Rex Ramsey stole our cars, but Paige got them back.”
Before the interview, 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 and 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.
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.”Richard Sample
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 allegedly exposing his penis on stage.
Lewis Beach Marvin was a 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 see 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.
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.
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.”
“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 Richard Sample interview is posted.
Category: 1960s, 1970s, LA Locations, Playboy, PMOM, Popular Culture Tagged: #Celebrity connections, #Paige Young, #Richard Sample, 1960cultfigures, 1960s, 1960s history, Barney's Beanery, Bill Cosby, Charles Sample, Charlie Sample, Corvette, cultmovie, DeWain Valentine, Donna Holroyd, Early 1960s, Eros Gallery Art Gallery, Family, Green Stamps, Harry Gesner, Harry Gesner architect, Hollywood connection, Hugh Hefner, Jim Morrison, Jonathan Winters, Jonathan Winters Show, Joseph Nicolosi, LA, LA History, Larry Bell, Lewis Beach Marvin, Lewis Beach Marvin III, Los Angeles History, Malibu, Malibu Fire, Marina Del Rey, Mark F. Segal, Mark Frederick Segal, Marvin M. Mitchelson, mid-1960s, Mondo Hollywood, Mustang, Peter Gowland, Playboy magazine, Rex A. Ramsey, Rex Ramsey, Robert Carl Coehn, Robert Irwin, SFV, Sunset Strip, Sylvia Nicolosi, Tony Dow, Venice, Venice Beach, Venice California, Vietnam, Virginia LaRocca, Westwood
Posted on March 2, 2021
1960-1961 I have not yet 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 Diana and Virginia at the Riverside Drive home in Sherman Oaks.
Josephine Young Harker, Virginia’s sister and Diana’s great aunt, is also listed with the Riverside Dr. 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.)
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.
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 Ned LaRocca 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 possibly have lived here as well. Virginia is listed here at least once or twice in directories and voter registrations in the early 1960s. They would have run out of space and privacy pretty quickly.
What looks here like a Panorama City Chamber of Commerce bash, takes place at the popular venue Sportsmen’s Lodge, .6 miles from Diana Cotterell’s childhood home on Moorpark St. Studio City.
on page 2
Photo of store where article says Paige is employed.
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 photo listing in the Van Nuys Jr. High yearbook, 1957, age 15 or 16.
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.
Donna Holroyd is not listed these years, only her husband.
She 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. But he does remember her at the Riverside Drive location.
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)
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 and frequently, 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 article about Paige I’ve read that doesn’t mention her devotion to oil painting.
I’m 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 and avoiding the “9-5 doldrums” and”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. I’ve been by this complex and it was added onto over the years.
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.
Category: 1960s, LA Locations Tagged: #Paige Young, 8533 Ventura Canyon, consumer culture, Consumerculture, Divorce, Donna Holroyd, fashion and clothing, Fastest growing suburb in the SFV., J. W. Robinson's, Jack Holroyd, LA Department Store, Mid-century Los Angeles, Mid-Century SFV, Miss Panorama City, Panorama City, Panorama City History, Playboy, SFV, SFV History, Shopping destination, Van Nuys Junior High, Van Nuys News and Valley Green Sheet, Virginia LaRocca, Wesley Scott Holroyd
Posted on July 6, 2020
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.”
(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.
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, there were no more payments from Mark Segal.
Mitchelson gave it his all in 1965, holding Mark Segal in contempt for non-payment every single month of this year, to no avail.
Any publicity for “attention getting headlines” (see chapter on Segal-Young Divorce Makes Headlines) had long since ceased to be of any benefit to M.M.M.
In the divorce documents, (I own a copies) I date all the way into 1969 showing Paige and her lawyers, Silverton, Ruderman & Graff, 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. They may have been separated or even divorced, at this time. Jack Holroyd went on to divorce two more women before he passed away in the early 2000s.
UPDATE 7/18/2022: Donna and Jack Holroyd had a baby boy in August of 1960. Diana would have been 16 years old when her half-brother was born.
Category: 1960s, LA Locations Tagged: #Paige Young, 12345 Ventura Blvd., Aldo Ray, Aldo Ray divorce, alimony, Beatles, Chase Knolls Apartment Community, Divorce, Hazeltine and Hatteras, Hollywood connection, Hollywood divorce, Hollywood History, JoAnna Ray, Mark F. Segal, Marvin Mithcelson, MMM, Mrs. Aldo Ray., Ruderman, Ruderman and Graf, San Fernando Valley, SFV, SFV History, Silverton, Studio City, Van Nuys
Posted on May 26, 2020
1963 October 1st Paige Young marries Mark Frederick Segal in Las Vegas, per nearly impossible to read ledger records found on ancestry.com.
An elopement likely in one of those 24-hour Las Vegas wedding chapels.
The record shows only the date and names.
Paige’s new husband was born in 1942 and was the son of WW2 veteran Harold Segal and his wife. They resided in Sherman Oaks at 4518 Vista Del Monte, at one time. Mark was a marine private who took combat training in 1961 at Camp Pendleton.
Segal was also a car dealer at “Sea-Gull Motors,” a business started by his father, according to newspaper ads in the late 1950s, and Segal friend Rex Ramsey. Sea-Gull Motors either had several locations or moved locations several times in the Sherman Oaks/Van Nuys area in the 1950s and 1960s: 7211 Balboa Avenue, 4425 Van Nuys Blvd. and 6738 Sepulveda Blvd.
Only photo I’ve found of Mark F. Segal, from the Van Nuys News and Valley Green Sheet Aug. 17, 1961.
Rex Ramsey, a friend of Mark Segal’s, was a semi-successful race car designer and driver, told me that Mark’s father Harold Segal, also owned the business Fox Auto Service in the SFV, and the Segal family had several brothers in addition to Mark. He mentioned that the family was “pretty well-off.”
1963-1964 Paige and Mark live together as husband and wife at 4133 Crisp Canyon Road in Sherman Oaks, “South of the Boulevard.” Ramsey said that that the home was a cabin type, the kind that Hollywood stars would rent on the weekend to “get away from it all.”
It’s very close to the neighborhood where Diana Cotterell lived and attended elementary, Dixie Canyon, and junior high school, Van Nuys Junior High.
Paige continues to board her horse Hamish at Sepulveda Stables. I corresponded with a woman who told me that when she was 12 years old, she met Paige at Sepulveda Stables; Paige was about 19/20 years old and Paige drove her to the house on Crisp Canyon Rd., to hang out and drink lemonade.
August 28, 11 months after her Las Vegas marriage, Paige and her attorney file for divorce from Mark F. Segal. Paige is represented by rising Beverly Hills attorney Marvin M. Mitchelson.
Below are just a few of the dozens of divorce documents I obtained from a records department located in Downtown LA.
The filing below states that Mark threatened Paige and her animals with bodily harm “on numerous occasions,” and on August 17, 1964, “brandished a knife in her presence,” and “Plaintiff’s profession is that of an artist and painter and on or about June 15, 1964, defendant maliciously and with intent to destroy plaintiff’s artwork drove nails through plaintiff’s prized paintings and further did mischievous damage by driving nails through plaintiff’s personal belongings including an expensive fur stole.”
Paige requests and is granted a temporary restraining order from the court.
Mark quickly countersues and denies all of Paige’s claims of abuse. He claims that she is the one who caused him mental anguish and suffering. I see nothing in the documents further explaining what Mark meant by that, no further details on what Paige did to him.
Marvin Mitchelson, on behalf of client Paige, asks for alimony, lawyer’s fees and court costs: “Plaintiff is not employed and presently embarking on a career as a painter, therefore needs the money from Defendant who is able bodied and employed.”
Marks balks at this request and states he can’t afford it.
Paige sues Mark Segal for divorce after less than one year of marriage. She is represented by rising and soon to be celebrity attorney Marvin M. Mitchelson
The divorce filing was picked up by the wire service UPI and appears in several of newspapers across the country.
We might call these headlines “clickbait” today.
There is a high probability that Marvin M. Mitchelson was behind the above stories.
Beginning early in his career, Marvin had a belief in the power of publicity and looked for ways to garner some for his cases.
“No matter how trivial the cause of action, if he (M.M.M.) found an angle, he could turn it into a story. And in the early days when his client list was still thin, he could gin up publicity by filing an oddball lawsuit himself.”
…”But Mitchelson knew that Man Bites Dog was what sold papers…this was 1964 and he had to work with the material fate sent him.”
Patti Corman recalled that for her in 1976 divorce, Mitchelson “called AP, UPI and every other P there is.!”
From the book “Ladies Man, The Life and Trials of Marvin Mitchelson” by John A. Jenkins
This is likely the reason Mitchelson took Paige’s case despite her lack of ability to pay him any money upfront. The case was unusual or “oddball” enough for it to be of use to him.
Hollywood History/Celebrity Connections: Only a few days after the articles about Paige Young/Mark Segal divorce is published in a few newspapers, more news breaks that Beverly Hills LA talk show host, Pamela Mason, has won the unprecedented amount of over 1 million dollars in her divorce settlement from husband of 20 years: actor James Mason.
Her lawyer is Marvin Mitchelson.
Sept.1, 1964 Pasadena Independent, Pasadena, California.
Author Jenkins discusses the 1 million plus dollar settlement Mason case:
“Afterward in the courthouse corridor, “James (Mason) called the settlement ‘a flea bite.’ After all, he was getting off the hook without giving her any alimony at all. But Pamela was ecstatic. Her settlement was one of the first to break the magic million-dollar mark, and Mitchelson had gotten her, and himself, a ton of publicity about it.”
“The Mason case set the tone for the Hollywood divorces to come. Pamela was so grateful she did everything she could to make Marvin Mitchelson a household name. Pamela introduced Mitchelson to her divorcing friends…she became his entrée to those rarefied upper brackets of Beverly Hills and Hollywood. Pamela hired him eight months later for a 138, 500 breach-of-contract suit against actress Loretta Young on behalf of Pamela’s sixteen-year-old daughter Portland.”
“Pamela Mason introduced Mitchelson to her divorcing friends, all of whom were wildly delighted with the results, she later said.” END
The Mason case was a first as far as Hollywood divorces go, and a major breakthrough for the career of Marvin Mitchelson.
Later in 1964, Michelson represented legendary lyricist Alan Lerner’s estranged wife, Micheline in a very contentious custody fight.
Roy Cohn was Micheline’s divorce attorney in NYC. Yes, that Roy Cohn, who had a great admirer in Mitchelson.
Mark F. Segal came from a fairly well off Sherman Oaks family. His father Harold Segal owned a thriving car business according to his friend racing and stunt car driver, Rex Ramsey.
Still Mark Segal wasn’t anywhere near the league of My Fair Lady, Gigi and all the rest composer Alan Lerner.
However both men however did have some things in common that most divorcing men that year didn’t, and that was estranged wives represented by rising lawyer Marvin M. Michelson.
The other is being found in contempt of court by failing to pay alimony to these estranged wives.
Mark’s attorney is Bernard Echt from Sherman Oaks. Echt, a few years down the road, would represent the milkman who was being sued by Vincent Bugliosi for suspected impregnation of his wife. Strange yet true.
An initial agreement is reached pretty quickly: Sept. 18,1964 . Mark is required to pay Paige alimony, but only for six months.
This would be about $1000 in 2017, so the equivalent of $6000 total in today’s money.
1964 November 24: Paige and her grandmother Virginia LaRocca are sworn-in for testimony in a Los Angeles courthouse, probably 111 Hill Street, for the divorce trial; Mark is a no-show. Virginia LaRocca testifies for the plaintiff, her granddaughter Paige. An interlocutory decree of divorce is granted to Paige on grounds of extreme cruelty.
Paige waives her right to any further alimony payments beyond the six months. Mark is also ordered to pay Marvin Mitchelson $300 (about $2072 in 2017 dollars) and $15.00 in court costs around $100 today. Paige is awarded a 1953 MG Roadster; Mark is ordered to sign the title over to her. Paige gets to keep certain antiques and wedding gifts. Mark gets to keep his home at 4133 Crisp Canyon Rd. in Sherman Oaks.
Both parties are ordered to not annoy, molest or harass the other.
This year shows Mark has not been making his required alimony and lawyer’s fees since 1964.
1965-Marvin Michelson goes hard on Mark Segal this year. For every month Mark fails to make his monthly alimony payment to Paige and the lawyer’s fees, Michelson files a contempt suit in court.
And it turned out to be all 12 months.
More on this in the next chapter.
Category: 1940s Tagged: 1963, 1964, 4144 Crisp Canyon, Alan Jay Lerner divorce, Bernard Echt, Divorce, Early 1960s, Hollywood divorce, Hollywood History, James Mason, LA History, LA Locations, Las Vegas, Mark F. Segal, Mark Frederick Segal, Marriage, Marvin Mitchelson, Micheline Lerner, Paige Young, Pamela Mason, Rex Ramsey, Roy Cohn, Sea Gull Motors, SFV, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Vegas Wedding, Wedding Chapels Las Vegas
Posted on May 15, 2020
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 or if she started grade school in that community. See chapter 1950s #1.
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 1953-1954.
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.
Diana was definitely at Dixie Canyon in the 6th grade as seen in the above 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.
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 a member of the Singing King family and performed with them at some point.
1953-1959 Like many kids living in 1950s San Fernando Valley, Diana Lee Cotterell is obsessed with horses according to her friend from junior high, Joan Edwards. Diana and Joan ride and board their horses 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. In fact the whole area was known as still quite 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 American 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 is where I got much of this information and the website 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. which was located “south of the (Ventura) Blvd.” Paige invited this young girl up for lemonade to this address on Crisp Canyon Rd. (See chapters on Marriage and Divorce. 1963)
The future Mrs. John Huston and friend to Paige Young, Celeste Shane, (see chapters on her) also boards a horse at Sepulveda Stables in the early 1960s. So 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 3, 1958, 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 much cleaner air than other parts of the San Fernando Valley.
Note the name of last employer: Leith Stevens.
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,” as we see in the obit.
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.
Ned Argo shown in the Edmonton Journal June 1919. Ned’s granddaughter Paige would memorably visit Edmonton 50 years later on behalf of Playboy. See chapter 1969 most popular year.
Category: 1950s, LA Locations Tagged: #Diana Cotterell, 13055 Moorpark St., 1950s, 1950sLA, 1959, 4 King Cousins, 5 King Cousins, Candy Coklin, Candy Conkling, Celeste Shane, CiCi Shane, Dixie Canyon Elementary, Donna Reed, Horse culture, Horse husbandry, Horses, Joseph Ned LaRocca, LA History, LA Locations, Ned LaRocca, Riverside Drive Elementary, Sepulveda Stables, SFV, SFV celebirty, SFV History, The 4 King Cousins, Van Nuys Junior High
Posted on May 12, 2020
San Fernando Valley abbreviated SFV.
more information about the LaRocca/Cotterell family unit: they are listed at a residence in Gardena at 1830 W. 147th.
Joseph’s occupation, Radio Orchestra Manager, Virginia, Christian Science Practitioner, Donna has an empty box for occupation, granddaughters Constance S. is listed as 7 years and Diana L. as 5 years.
The above is an online phone directory from Gardena 1951. It has a listing for Virginia LaRocca, CSP, at this same address but no Joseph is listed. Why no Joseph and Virginia listed together, as every other year for decades in directories and voter registrations.?
When did Diana and family leave Los Feliz? late 1940s?
How long did they live in Gardena?
About two years.
When did Diana and her family move to 13055 Moorpark St. in Studio City/Sherman Oaks?
I first connected the family to 13055 Moorpark St. address by an online city building permit dated in Dec. of 1952.
This house on Moorpark Street was located on the west side of Studio City close to the eastern border with Sherman Oaks. Specifically, off of the intersection of Coldwater Canyon and Ventura Blvd.
The Los Angeles River is nearby the house as is Sportsman’s Lodge; a classic Hollywood and SFV landmark.
The family knew about the area in the SFV for some time because Joseph’s only sister Kathryn Marinello, and her husband Anthony opened a food store at 13251 Moorpark in 1947.
There is a 1947 City document I have been unable to download; indicating a “food store” at 13251 Moorpark St. The building was not owned by the Marinellos.
Meanwhile……Diana’s father Robert Morgan Cotterell also moved to the SFV around this time, but further west of his daughters and ex-wife. His new wife Patricia/Pat and their two children, born in 1950 and 1951, (while his first 2 daughters were in Gardena according to the 1950 census) start out in the Canoga Park/Winnetka area on Lurline Ave.
It’s the first of many moves for them around Los Angeles due to Bob Cotterell Sr.’s career at Douglas Aircraft.
It is unknown exactly why the The LaRocca/Cotterell family moved to the SFV, but we do know that they were part of a massive migration to the area after World War 2, from both inside and outside of Los Angeles.
“The end of WW2 transformed the Valley and vastly accelerated its growth
with: vast tracts of suburban housing, shopping centers and industrial parks where chicken ranches, orchards and cattle ranches and wheat fields once existed. The 1940s and 50s, when I was growing up, the Valley was full of movie cowboys, beautiful ranches and fine horses.”Jerry England at cowboyup.com
“In the five years after the war, the population (of SFV) more than doubled to 402,538 residents-the pastoral San Fernando Valley was suddenly the ninth-busiest urban area in the nation. Valley society was a mix of young suburbanites, older families who had come west to try their luck as engineers, animators, or pioneers in the new field of television, and ranchers trying to hang on in the face of the new hordes.”The San Fernando Valley: America’s Suburb by Kevin Roderick
I discovered that Ned LaRocca spent most of the 1950s working as an orchestra manager for composer/conductor Leith Stevens, through Ned’s death certificate.
I can confirm two Leith Stevens projects that have a credit as “contractor” for Ned LaRocca: A Doris Day album recorded in 1951 at 1032 Sycamore Street; a studio known at that time as “The Annex.” Found on youtube.
The website careerexplorer.com defines an orchestra contractor is: “He or she has the job of finding the appropriate musicians for Broadway shows, television episodes and commercials.”
Ned already had experience adapting to a new mass medium when his first industry Vaudeville, died in the early 1930s during the Great Depression.
One significant factor that changed the popularity of radio programming was the rise of TV in the 1950s. Drama and comedy and musical variety shows moved to TV.
In 1950, just under 20 percent of American homes contained a TV set. Ten years later, nearly 90 percent of homes contained a TV—and some even had color TVs. The number of TV stations, channels, and programs all grew to meet this surging demand.encyclopedia.com
Ned LaRocca also has a credit on Leith Steven’s 1953 score to the Marlon Brando movie “The Wild One.” The Los Angeles recording industry was growing by leaps and bounds in the 1950s.
This record was a hit, released by Decca records, it remains Leith Stevens most well-known and well-regarded creation. J. Ned LaRocca is credited as “Contractor” on the project. Per Discogs.com. As I understand, it was the first soundtrack entirely made up of Jazz music.
Besides composing and conducting “The Wild One” soundtrack, Leith Stevens composed numerous scores for radio shows, movies and T.V. from the 1930s until his death in 1970.
IMDB indicates that many of Stevens’ compositions go uncredited as “stock music.”
Diana’s grandmother. She started out life as a Mormon in Utah, but somewhere along the way became a Christian Scientist. She is listed as “Chr. Sci.pr.” (Christian Science Practitioner) in Los Angeles telephone directories in the 40 and 50s, and listed with her own telephone line. Read more about her early years as a vaudeville performer in the family history chapters.
A Christian Science practitioner is an individual who prays for others according to the teachings of Christian Science. Treatment is non-medical, rather it is based on the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (1875) by Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), who said she discovered Christian Science in 1866 and founded the Christian Science church in 1879. According to the church, Christian Science practitioners address physical conditions, as well as relationship or financial difficulties and any other problem or crisis.wikipedia
In 1955, an LA telephone directory lists a Ned J. LaRocca at 4414 N. Ethel and a Virginia Young LaRocca with the same address.
Donna Cotterell is listed with the 13055 Moorpark address. 13055 Moorpark is on a corner with Ethel St.
4114 Ethel St. doesn’t seem to be an “real” address; I don’t find a record of it anywhere besides the phone directory. This could be a result of the house modification for Donna, Diana and Constance.
1957 Virginia Young LaRocca is listed in the phone directory at 4414 N. Ethel State 4-7052 North Hollywood. Cr. Sci. Pr.
At some point, the Christian Science Church won the right to accept insurance for their practitioners, but I have been unable to find exactly what year.
So, I can’t tell how much income Virginia might have earned from her vocation as a CSP.
I’m sure Donna received child support and likely alimony as this would have been normal for the times.
However, it is probable that grandfather Ned LaRocca was the primary breadwinner of his household.
Category: 1950s, LA Locations, Popular Culture, Radio City, CBS, NBC, Robert Morgan Cotterell Tagged: #Gardena, 1032 Sycamore St., 1950 Census, 1950s LA, 1950s San Fernando Valley, 1950sLA, Christian Science Practitioner, Defense Industry, Doris Day, Douglas Aircraft, Gardena, LA Recording Industry, Leith Stevens, Los Angeles History, Marlon Brando, Ned LaRocca, Ned LaRocca Grandfather, Paige Young, Rise of TV, Robert Morgan Cotterell, SFV, Sherman Oaks, Stevens, Studio City, The Annex recording studio, The Wild One, Virginia LaRocca
Posted on April 29, 2020
Diana Cotterell/Paige Young’s parents: Robert M. Cotterell was 23 and Donna V. LaRocca, 19, when they were married in 1940. (Donna is listed in the 1940 census as living with her parents at 3834 Evans St., and that she was a “New Worker” in “Dramatics.”)
Below is the Hollywood Wedding Chapel where Robert and Donna were married per the marriage certificate.
The location is on the Sunset Strip, about one block from the infamous and historic Chateau Marmont hotel.
The famed Garden of Allah apartment building was across the street.
This Hollywood Wedding Chapel building was purchased by famous director/writer Preston Sturges in 1940; he transformed it into “Players” restaurant, a movie business watering hole.
Players has its’ own interesting Hollywood and LA history.
Donna and Robert must have been one of the last couples to marry at the chapel before Sturges took over.
Currently this location is a Pink Taco restaurant. Building is the same.
Diana’s father Robert Morgan Cotterell was born around 1917 in Algon, Iowa. He moved to Los Angeles around 1938 to follow his interest in aviation.
From Constance Susan Cotterell’s birth cert. in 1942. Father Robert a Leadman at Douglas Aircraft.
Donna’s parents and Diana’s grandparents, Ned and Virginia LaRocca, were musical vaudevillians who travelled the Pantages, Orpheum and other vaudeville circuits for about the first 10 years of her life. (For more see Family History Chapters)
Diana’s mother Donna Virginia LaRocca was born in 1921, in Peoria, Illinois, hometown of her father.
Donna V. moved with her parents to Los Angeles around 1934.
(Robert Cotterell is listed with the Evans address on his daughter Diana Lee’s birth certificate.)
Recently found article: Robert Cotterell goes from MIA to POW.
Robert Cotterell’s daughter Constance is 2 years old, and Diana only 5 months, on the date the POW announcement was published.
For his part in the war effort, Joseph Ned LaRocca signed up for the “Old Man’s Draft Card” enacted by Congress to show solidarity for the war effort. 1942, living in Los Feliz and driving to and working as a harpist in the NBC and CBS buildings on Sunset & Vine. (More on this in other family chaper.)
From the 1944 birth certificate of Diana Cotterell.
1945 Robert Cotterell is liberated from the German Camp.
Donna LaRocca Cotterell files for divorce against Robert Morgan Cotterell.
1947 The Cotterell’s divorce is finalized. Only 2 months later, the divorce is granted.
Historic Context: Robert and Donna Cotterell were one couple out of thousands who made up a nation-wide spike in divorce rates after WW2.
Statistics show that in 1946 one in four US marriages ended in divorce.
A 1946 article written on the subject in the New York Times said:
“More than half of America’s 1,500,000 war-wed G.I.s have returned. Already one out of every four of these 800,000 men is entangled in divorce proceedings. Experts are predicting that by 1950, 1,000,000 of these wartime marriages-or two out of three-will end in divorce.”
Robert Cotterell remarried in approximately 1949 to Patricia Frick and the couple had two children, in 1950 and then 51.
He had a job after the war working for Douglas Aircraft. The job took his family all over the San Fernando Valley and Laguna Beach.
I would imagine Robert paid alimony to Donna, common at the time, as well as child support for Constance and Diana.
Virginia LaRocca is named owner of a “double” house at 3710/12 Arbolada Rd. on an LA building permit. This house is only one mile from the home on Evans St.
Donna has a voter registration record with this address in 1944 below.
Joseph LaRocca is listed in the LA telephone directory with this address in 1948.
Arbolada Rd. is a dead end street. It’s high on a hill with an incredible panoramic view of the area. It’s close to their Evans St. home and still near Griffith Park.
Joseph and Virgina La Rocca listed above at the Arbolada address.
Virginia’s listing leaves off “Christian Science” and just says her employment is “practitioner.” Antonio and Corina La Bianca purchased the house on Waverly Dr. in 1940, you can see their names above the LaRocca’s. The world knows the story of their son Leno, who was unfortunately murdered in this house in 1969 along with his wife Rosemary, by members of the “Manson Family.“
So the 2 Italian families (Joseph’s wife Virginia was not Italian but Mormon with English ancestry) lived a 5 minute car drive from each other at one point, even if they never met.
Diana/Paige mother Donna was very close to her first cousin Mildred Marinello who lived close to Donna in Peoria, Ill., with her in Los Feliz, Los Angeles, and lived two doors from each other in Sherman Oaks, San Fernando Valley, in the 1950s.
The Marinellos and LaRoccas will live almost next door to each other in Sherman Oaks for several years in the 1950s. Diana and her sister would have grown up with her children.
The city of Los Angeles experienced a housing shortage during the post-war years. More so than the usual housing shortage that seems to have always existed in LA.
This fact caused me to wonder as to how the LaRoccas could afford the 2 houses, or one right after the other, in the 1940s.
I didn’t find an exact answer but the next several chapters may shed some light on the upwardly mobile family.
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.
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.
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.
And of course there was daughter Donna. and granddaughters Constance and Diana Cotterell. Robert was serving overseas most of this time, his name was connected with the addresses as I’ve shown.
All these names, excluding Diana and Constance, were linked to the Evans or Arbolada address from 1938 through around 1947, per records I have shown or seen.
Donna and Robert’s divorce was final in 1947.
View of the area is spectacular as is the building itself.
The LaRocca Arbolada Road house, where the family lived some portion of the 1940s, is very close to the LaBianca “Manson murder house,” on Waverly Drive. However, between the 2 houses is a large plot of undeveloped (!) land, so one has to travel a circuitous route between the two. Perhaps this prevented the two Italian men from ever meeting each other.
Category: 1940s, LA Locations, Robert Morgan Cotterell Tagged: #3710 Arbolada, #Family, 1940s Los Angeles, Chateau Marmont, Donna Cotterell, Douglas Aircraft, Garden of Allah, German POW Camp, Hollywood History, Hollywood Wedding Chapel, Los Angeles History, Los Feliz, Paige Young, Players, post WW2 divorce rate, POW, Preston Sturges, Robert Morgan Cotterell, SFV, Sunset Blvd., Sunset Strip, Waverly Drive, WW2