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, furniture maker.
He now lives in the Coachella Valley area of California.
Richard Sample was still living in Sun Valley, Idaho when he was interviewed by Daily Mail reporter Ryan Parry in 2014. He says he doesn’t know who gave his name to Parry in association with Paige Young.
I am thankful to Richard Sample for inviting me to interview him in person and taking the time and effort to talk about Paige Young. It was not always easy for him (or me).
Thanks also to his niece Ellen Sample who has been very helpful.
At the appointed time, I pulled up in my rental car and parked next to Richard’s house. There was a chainlink fence and gate that had a big padlock on it and the house was about 10 yards beyond it; I called out his name several times and did not get a response.
Luckily, Richard’s niece Ellie pulled up in her car, got out and told me Richard’s neighbor had called and told her that “there is woman in a red car was in front of her Uncle Richard’s house.”
Ellie unlocked the gate and as we walked toward the house, she told me that Richard doesn’t hear very well now.
Ellie said that she was aware of the interview, but “didn’t ask him any questions so that he feels he has his own life.” Ellie lives one street over and has been very involved with caring for Richard after he moved to the area.
Richard warmly greeted me with a hug as did his dog Tolly. Ellie left us to the interview.
Richard Sample gave me permission to publish what he said during our interview.
After we sat down to talk, Sample said to me:
“In 2001 I got throat cancer. I got radiation that burned the lining of my throat and my whole body. I also had a surgery and they cut my throat, it left me hard to talk, hard to drink, hard to eat… I am dying.”
Richard Sample is now 84 years old and obviously does not hear well or speak easily. I strained to hear his whisper of a raspy voice to understand what he was saying, and I didn’t always understand right away. I got better at understanding pretty quickly as our conversation got going.
I will say Richard and I didn’t have a have a normal flowing conversation, but more of a question and answer session, and mostly the answers Richard gave took him a long time to say. I also got to know him as a person and shared my journey with researching Paige’s story.
This chapter and the next will be a mixture of exact quotes from my tape recorder as well as transcribed hand notes.
Background: Richard and Paige got together after the end of his relationship with Sylvia Nicolosi, daughter of famed LA based sculptor Joseph Nicolosi. She was one of three sisters.
Richard said he was in the military but “never made it to Vietnam, just Ft. Bragg North, Carolina.” He showed me his military ID,
He had several memories of Paige he wanted to tell me right away.
“Paige lived in a converted chicken coop on the edge of Malibu.“
Richard doesn’t remember which edge.
For a dinner party, Paige had a different chair for each guest to use, not a matching (dining) set.
She would only eat salad if it was a day old.
“I never saw Paige with shoes on.” (see chapter 1970 Warhol, Paige appears with her date at the Warhol opening in Pasadena. She is photographed wearing a ankle length Rudi Gernreich dress and is barefoot as described by the reporter.)
“She is the only person I’ve ever known who ate ice cream with a fork,”
I asked about Hamish, the horse she had owned since junior high and still had in late 1964 according to her divorce filing. Richard says she did not keep a horse in Malibu that he knew of. Malibu is a town where people have kept horses and been involved with horses for many decades.
Paige would often strip down to her underwear and “run around topless or even nude.” Confirmed. Westwood neighbor Melanie told me that Paige often walked around nude in the shared backyard and it got on her nerves.
How Richard met Paige
Paige was “going with a man named Harry Gesner. He was an architect who designed the Cooper house in Malibu. The house was on the cover of Life magazine. Harry Gesner was a client of my landlord. My landlord was Edward Ravick; he was involved with the Malibu Colony and maybe lived there at times.”
“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.
Harry Gesner passed away in June of 2022 at the age of 97.
I had contacted Richard months earlier by writing a letter. I asked him what he knew about Jonathan Winters.
Richard asked me why I asked about Jonathan Winters.
I told him of Paige’s newspaper interviews from 1969 when she promoted Playboy around the country. In some of them, it says that Paige “has appeared in many skits,” on The Jonathan Winters Show. (1967-1969 CBS) (See my chapter on Paige’s Most Public Year 1969).
I then asked Richard why he called Jonathan Winters an “asshole” in his letter back to me.
His answer below.
“Dennis, (does not remember his last name) was the owner of the Golden O Gallery, in Los Alamos, he told me that Jonathan Winters used to come and sit on the sidewalk at Dennis’ gallery and talk about Paige, and he had nothing good to say, it was always nasty or negative. I never met the man, but Dennis could tell you all about it. Richard added that Dennis never met Paige, but he “did know about her.”
Presumably because of Jonathan Winters.
Richard said that Paige did not say anything about Jonathan Winters when they were together.
He said he wasn’t aware of her appearing on the show during its run from 1967-1969.
He said it is a possibility that she did and he didn’t know about it.
I have since learned 2 thing about Jonathan Winters: He painted seriously as a hobby, and even published a book of his paintings entitled “Hang-Ups.“
And Winters had a residence in Santa Barbara which is quite close to the art infused town of Los Alamos.
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. I brought it out and showed it to him.
“I wouldn’t ever think she would do that,”he said shaking his head at the document.
I decided not to tell Richard that there is more proof of a suicide besides the death certificate: witnesses like neighbor Melanie, the man D. DeWitt listed as a “2nd witness” on the police report, the police at Paige’s house on that day. (See chapter on LAPD report) And the coroner’s report.
Celeste Huston to me in a facebook exchange.
Melanie is the only one of these people to have spoken out publicly about the day of Paige’s suicide.
“She was a good person. I really miss her.” Richard said about Paige a few times that afternoon.
Richard Sample moved to Venice Beach, around 1967 motivated by the thriving art scene and to join his father, artist Charlie Sample, who was already there and had a storefront.
Richard’s father was Charles “Charlie” Sample, a well known artist, an eccentric Los Angeles and California character. He moved around a bit within California.
He was at least locally famous as a talented goldsmith/jeweler to the Hollywood stars, in particular the western ones. There are many newspaper articles about him.
“My father (Charlie Sample) was a famous gold and silver smith. He made silver spurs for $8000 and made belt buckles and horse saddles for Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, John Wayne, Mae West, Tim Holt.”
Richard shows me a recent catalog for a company producing high-end western gear, Bohlin, using Charlie Sample designs: horse saddles, bridles, spurs, belt buckles, bolo ties, rings, bracelets etc. Charlie was a lead designer for Bohlin for many years.
“Paige liked my father, he made some jewelry for her.”
Paige joined Richard not too long after he moved to Venice Beach. He said he invited her and was thrilled that she moved in. (more on this later) Records show that Richard was married in 1968 and not to Paige.
Like many artists, his house doubled as his art studio.
I asked Richard if he encountered any of the many artists who became famous out of the Venice Beach art scene (that started in the 1950s with “The Cool School” and the slightly later “Light and Space” or “Finish Fetish” movement.)
He said “De Wain Valentine had a studio next door to Paige and me.” (See chapter on Museum appearance with Warhol 1970)
“He was a friend of mine.”
“Another friend, Larry Bell, lived across the street from us, on Market.”
(Turns out Larry Bell had a building next door to Valentine, it was Robert Irwin who lived across the street. I did mention Irwin and Ruscha and Richard did not recognize those names.)
“We (Paige and I) all used to hang out a lot, with all these (Venice artists) at Barney’s Beanery.”
After I returned from my trip, I did some research and I found quotes from Bell and Valentine in Art magazines.
There were a lot of actors and writers. We all used to hang out at a place called Barney’s Beanery, which was in West Hollywood. It was a local bar, a funky little place right at the end of La Cienega Boulevard where all the galleries were. So after the Tuesday or Thursday night openings, everyone would go up to Barney’s and hang around—there was The Raincheck Room on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood as well.Larry Bell in Whitewall: Beyond the Walls, Dec. 2019
See chapter on Pasadena Art Museum for much more on DeWain Valentine.
Paige owned a yellow Mustang, a recent model and Richard owned a Corvette.
“A guy named Rex Ramsey stole our cars, but Paige got them back.”
I already knew about Rex Ramsey; he’s connected to Mark F. Segal, through renting Segal’s (where Paige lived as his wife) house at 4144 Crisp Canyon in Sherman Oaks. Both men spent a career heavily involved with cars: sales, importing. racing. Ramsey designed a successful race car once. He did some stunt driving in Hollywood.
(Rex Ramsey told me Mark’s family had a series of car dealerships and a towing service business. “They were quite well off,” Ramsey said. Otherwise he said he did not remember Paige Young but maybe he would later. I haven’t been able to reach him since the second phone call when he was unable to talk with me.)
Richard shows me a picture of himself decked out head to toe in animal fur, looking like mountain man Jedidiah Smith.
Richard and his father were both quite handsome.
He says that “unfortunately” he has no photos of Paige or paintings by her; he has lost a lot of his possessions and paintings over the years but he is hoping to retrieve some of Paige’s paintings in Santa Maria.
“I never knew Paige to be involved with drugs, except an occasional use of grass.” Richard said that she did sometimes drink alcohol and occasionally went to clubs “in the Marina.”
And possibly the Raincheck Room per Larry Bell’s quote.
After I asked about something else and not hearing my question, Richard said “Paige was basically a very good person, until she got mixed up with Hefner. She went downhill then.”
Lewis Beach Marvin 3rd
was born into the family, “who owned Green Stamps. He was a friend of Paige’s and mine. He introduced me to Robert Carl Cohen who put a lot of my sculptures in his movie Mondo Hollywood.“
Lewis Beach Marvin and the amazing dwelling he put together in the hills of Malibu, is featured in Mondo Hollywood. The movie is a cult film known as an important document of counterculture LA/1960s history.
I did some research and one story says that Lewis Beach Marvin is the young man who gives Jim Morrison a lamb on stage in Miami on May 1st 1969. This can be seen on a video. It’s the concert that resulted in Morrison’s arrest due to alledgedly exposing his penis on stage.
Lewis Beach Marvin was an vegan activist WAY before it was a “thing.”
He does appear in a Miami article with a lamb around the time of the Doors concert. I have also read a local Miami man gave Morrison the lamb.
The Miami arrest hanging over his head is supposedly one reason Jim Morrison left for Paris where he fatally overdosed on heroin. He was already in bad health due to alcohol abuse.
Shortly after I returned from California, I rented Mondo Hollywood on Amazon. I was unable to specifically identify Richard’s sculptures in the film–a sculptor named Valerie Porter is one of the “main characters” and the movie is heavy on a variety of her sculptures and many other sculptures and structures.
I did an ending credit:
Moonshadow sculpture: Richard Lauren Sample..
Famous pinup and 1950s, 60s Playboy photographer Peter Gowland
Peter Gowland called Richard (in 1974) looking for Paige because she hadn’t been seen for a while. He called Richard back some time later to tell him that Paige had committed suicide. Peter did not tell Richard the method that Paige used to kill herself.
According to Richard: Peter Gowland is the one who suggested and encouraged Paige to try out for Playboy. The two had met a few years previous, Paige had already modeled for Gowland several times.
Without mentioning this to Richard, I knew that Paige had said in a few 1969 interviews “my photographer friend suggested” the idea and submitted her photos to Playboy.
Richard opened Eros Gallery in Westwood in the late 60s. He can’t remember the location beyond that.
The next several photos are all from Playboy magazine November 1968, taken by Peter Gowland. I went through them with Richard.
Richard said this photo below shows him helping Paige carry one of her paintings into his Eros Gallery.
Richard says the seated woman on the left is “Mrs. Burke, my partner in Eros Gallery.” Mrs. Burke was a local patroness of the Arts. He said that Peter Gowland is the man in between Mrs. Burke and Paige.
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 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 been able to definitively locate where Diana/Paige was living and what she was doing these years. She would have been 16 and 17 years old.
I do find some clues in a SFV phone directory where there is a Virginia Young LaRocca, (widowed in 1959) listed at 13204 Riverside Drive. A 6-plex (at that time) on the corner with Atoll Ave. Diana could have lived here with her grandmother, as she was only 16 years old in 1960. I have since confirmed this with a close relative of Diana’s; he remembers visiting the Riverside Drive home.
Josephine Young Harker, Virginia’s sister and Diana’s great aunt, is also listed with this address in a 1960 LA phone directory.
(It’s also the address on Ned LaRocca’s death cert. 1959. Unknown if he ever lived there or was at the sanitarium for two years.)
Donna marries Jack Holroyd in Las Vegas in 1958 and their son Wesley Scott Holroyd is born on August 20, 1960. This date is almost 9 months to the day that Donna’s father died.
Diana’s mother Donna and stepfather Jack Holroyd, are listed at 12835 1/2 Oxford Ave., very near Grant High School in 1960, 61 and 62. Diana could have lived here as well. Virginia is listed here at least once or twice in directories and voter registration. I think they would have run out of space pretty quickly.
UPDATE 7/25/2022: I had a phone conversation with a close relative of Paige Young’s. He informed of Donna and Jack Holroyd’s son Wesley.
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.
Close up 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 picture listing in the Van Nuys Jr. High yearbook, 1957, age 15 or 16.
Quite a bit of evidence that Paige, Virginia, Donna and Jack moved to this booming city in the Valley around 1962, possibly in separate apartments.
1963 and 1964 Both Virginia LaRocca and Jack Holroyd are in the phone directory with an address of 8533 Ventura Canyon, Van Nuys. This address is also listed as Panorama City.
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.
Paige’s cousin told me he remembers visiting Donna and Jack Holroyd with baby Wesley in the early 1960s.
He remembers swimming at Donna’s apartment house during many of those visits and that both Panorama City and Oxford St. near Grant High, sound right for the location. He recalls Paige was not present at these visits with the Holroyds.
In 1969 interviews, Paige told reporters she graduated from Van Nuys High School. I have found no school photos of Paige at VNHS. (see 1969: Most Public Year)
I’ve seen dozens of newspaper photos accompanied with brief write-ups of model/starlets, beauty contest winners and runners up, from the 50s and 60s. Almost always it includes where the young women attended high school. Many times, they were still in high school. Note that in this write-up of Paige, no high school is mentioned. She has a “background in modelling and drama.”
It is probably the only one I’ve read that doesn’t mention her devotion to oil painting.
I’m really thinking now that Paige dropped out of high school after the 9th or 10th grade.
Paige would be married in Las Vegas 1 1/2 years (Oct. 1, 1963) after this article appeared. The marriage lasted for 11 months (Aug 27, 1964).
In 1964, Paige filled out a divorce questionnaire ( below) stating that she had moved out of the marital home and was “living with family”. Family would have been living at 8533 Ventura Canyon Ave. according to phone listings. Her answer to employment record says clerical-secretary.
See chapter on Marriage and Divorce to Mark F. Segal 1963-1964.
Paige says clerical-secretary here–Was this at Robinson’s in the Valley or was she a salesgirl there? Unclear.
Some of Paige’s quotes from Playboy are about disliking the “9-5 doldrums” and her distaste “working for impersonal corporations.”
By 1963, Diana’s childhood home on Moorpark had been razed. Records show a city permit (below) requesting a 6-unit apartment to be built. Notice it says NONE (highlighted) for “existing buildings on lot.” I’m not sure when the house was actually torn down.
Did a developer make the LaRoccas an offer for the Moorpark house back in the late 50s when Ned was sick with lung cancer? Many older houses were now being razed for multi-unit housing to meet demand for higher density populations. If you can call a 6-plex multi-housing.
Nearby Ventura Blvd. continued to thrive with many businesses of all kinds.
SFV continued to experience massive population growth and housing development throughout the 1960s.
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 August 26, 2020
Paige’s grandmother Virginia Young LaRocca died in August of 1976 in the Studio City Convalescent Hospital located at 11429 Ventura Blvd.
She was a 1st Reader for the Church of Christ Science for 35 years according to her death certificate.
Virginia was cremated and her ashes were scattered in the ocean near the Santa Monica shoreline, just like granddaughter Paige’s ashes two years previous.
Her sister and former vaudeville partner, Josephine Young Harker, Paige Young’s great aunt, died in June of 1979 in the Jacksonville, Florida area.
Josephine’s daughter, former Warner Brothers starlet Mary Jane Harker Lanier died in 1986 in Jacksonville, Florida. Her husband Samuel Lefkovitz Lanier remarried and lived with his second wife for over 10 years until his death in 2007 at age 88, also in Florida. The oldest child of Jane and Samuel Lanier, Samuel Harker Lanier, passed away in 2018; he was only in his 60s. A lawyer, he had been disbarred in St. Augustine on a cocaine related arrest only a few years before.
Donna Virginia LaRocca Holroyd, moved sometime in the late 60s, with mother Virginia and husband Jack, to the Simi Valley.
By 1970, Donna was the head supervisor for the Ocean View Children’s Center (5201 Squires Dr.) in Port Hueneme “for low income and welfare families…. so that the mothers (of the Valley Village neighborhood) could work or go to school.” Oxford News 1970.
Article below mentions that Donna received a degree from UCLA in Early Childhood Education.
Oxford Press Courier March 21, 1971. Her daughter Paige was probably living in Westwood or Trancas Beach at this time.
By the time of Paige’s suicide in 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 Chase Knolls address is on Paige’s death certificate as her next of kin.
This address is also on Virginia LaRocca‘s death cert. in 1976. Donna is listed as her mother’s next of kin.
In 1980 this address appears on Donna’s own death certificate.
She dies of a “hypertensive arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease,” in her Chase Knolls apartment at age 59 years.
Donna outlives her mother by 4 years, and her daughter by 6.
Oldest daughter and Paige’s sister Constance Smashey is listed on the death certificate as next of kin with a Simi Valley address.
Constance and Smashey divorced and Connie would move to the Palm Desert area in the 1980s. She now lives in Banning, California. She turned down my request to ask her a few questions about her sister Paige and their family.
Paige’s father Robert Morgan Cotterell and his wife Pat, moved to Oregon in the 1970s after he retired from Douglas Air. They lived there until their deaths around 2010.
Bob Cotterell’s obituary is no longer online. When it was, there was no mention of his daughters by Donna LaRocca: Diana/Paige and Constance.
It appears that Connie has reunited with her half siblings.
Richard Sample told me that Paige drove him to meet her sister one time only. and that He he “did not get any impression” they were close.
Paige did not disclose her personal history or childhood, to anyone I’ve talked with who knew her.
Paige’s ex-husband Mark Frederick Segal married a woman named Denise in 1974 and a few years later they had a son: Ivan Mark Segal.
1985/86 Mark F. Segal stayed in the car business:
Segal sold his home on Crisp Canyon Ave. to Rex Ramsey and later bought it back from him. He sold it again and moved to Portland in the late 80s? He died there on October 16, 2012.
4133 Crisp Canyon Ave. was razed and replaced with a really horrible McMansion.
His son Ivan Segal lives in Portland and Scottsdale.
Scroll WAY down for more.
Desmond Guinness married Penelope Cuthbertson in 1984.
She is his cousin according to “International Set” gossip writer Suzy Knickerbocker back in 1973. They were not couple at that time.
Desmond continued fundraising for his Irish Georgian Society well into old age. He died on August 20, 2020. I have read Desmond had some degree of dementia.
Ex-wife Mariga and co-founder of the IGS had died decades earlier.
There are numerous obituaries online for Hon. Desmond Guinness.
Desmond’s niece is fashion icon and socialite Daphne Guinness. His granddaughter is popular fashion model Jasmine Guinness.
How and where Desmond became acquainted with Paige Young is a mystery. Possibly been through John and CiCi Huston in Ireland and Celeste basically denied knowing the two were acquainted. Desmond on his own was well connected in Los Angeles and Southern California. He had a receptive audience in the area.
Paige’s divorce lawyer Marvin Mitchelson went from “Beverly Hills and LA famous” with some degree of national fame, to internationally famous, when he represented Michelle Triola Marvin in her lawsuit against live-in lover of 6 years, actor Lee Marvin. This in the late 1970s.
Mitchelson introduced the term and concept of “palimony” into the courts.
Commonly known as Marvin vs. Marvin, the case received major publicity in the mass-media of the time. It’s something I personally remember as a young teenager. I call it “People magazine” famous.
I didn’t learn the back story in detail until I researched this project. I am condescing the details for this website.
Michelle Triola Marvin was a singer in Hollywood. She felt she was owed part of Lee Marvin’s $3.2 million fortune, as she had given up her own career, per his demand, to become his live-in lover, helpmate, career advisor, and even helped to raise his 4 children from first wife Betty.
Triola said Lee Marvin had promised her life-long financial support. Triola-Marvin was abruptly dumped when Lee Marvin suddenly married his high school sweetheart Pamela Feeney in 1970. Marvin kicked Triola-Marvin out of their Malibu home and cut her off financially.
Because Michelle Triola Marvin was not legally married to Lee Marvin, she had no legal standing to demand any financial compensation.
Mitchelson saw an opportunity in California’s newly enacted “no-fault” divorce laws.
Mitchelson filed a breach-of-contract suit against Lee Marvin in February of 1972 asking for 50% of his estate.
After being rejected by two lower courts, Mitchelson pushed the case to the California Supreme Court, where he won.
The Marvin vs. Marvin case finally reached trial in January of 1979 and it quickly became a mass-media event.
The judge in the case, Judge Marshall, awarded about $100,000 to Triola-Marvin, for the salary she potentially lost giving up her career as a singer.
Lee Marvin’s attorneys appealed, and the decision was reversed, leaving Triola with nothing and Mitchelson with nothing.
Mitchelson didn’t care though, because the fame the case brought him was worth millions of dollars in representing “wronged spouses,” mainly women.
The fact that in the end, Triola got nothing was not well publicized in the many media reports. It happened after the initial hoopala had died down.
Some of the women Marvin represented were celebrities like Bianca Jagger, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Joan Collins ( a reverse of his norm as Collins was the one being sued by husband Peter Holm.) Mostly he took cases of non-celebrity live-in girlfriends or mistresses of rich celebrities: Sara Dylan (Bob), Anna Kashfi (Marlon Brando) Nancy Lee Andrews (Ringo Starr), Veronica Buss and Puppi Buss (girlfriends of Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss) Soraya Khashoggi, Kayatana Harrison (Flip Wilson.)
Marvin represented a few men: Mark Christian, ex-lover of Rock Hudson, in his widely publicized case against Hudson’s estate for failing to disclose his AIDS status to Christian. Mel Torme, Carl Sagan and Sonny Bono were other clients.
Mitchelson was disbarred in 1988 for grossly overcharging clients and went to prison in 1993 for tax evasion.
Marvin Mitchelson was released from prison in 1998 and died in 2004.
Lee Marvin died in 1987 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Michelle Triola went on to have a long live-in relationship with actor- comedian Dick Van Dyke. She died of lung cancer in 2009.
Information from: Ladies’ Man: The Life & Trials of Marvin Mitchelson, by John A. Jenks. The only published biography of Marvin Mitchelson. It’ a fascinating look at an LA character of his time.
Which is all you can ever be right?
Category: 1970s, 1970s, LA Locations, Popular Culture, Robert Morgan Cotterell Tagged: 1970sLA, 1980, 1980s, California Divorce Law, Chase Knolls Apartment Community, Constance Cotterell Smashey, Daphne Guinness, Denise Segal, Desmond Guinness, Dick Van Dyke, Divorce, Divorce Law, Donna Holroyd, Famous celebrity Lawyers, Famous Lawyers, Hon. Desmond Guiness, Ivan Segal, Jack Holroyd, Jasmine Guinness, John A. Jenks, LA History, Ladies' Man, Lee Marvin, Mark F. Segal, Mark Frederick Segal, Marvin M. Mitchelson, Maverick, Michelle Triola Marvin, No-fault divorce, Paige Young, Palimony, Pop culture, Robert Morgan Cotterell, Virginia LaRocca
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.
This is an online Gardena phone directory from Gardena 1951. It has a listing for Virginia LaRocca, CSP, at this same address but no Joseph is listed. Why no Joseph and Virginia listed together as every other year in directories and voter registrations.?
When did Diana and family leave Los Feliz? late 1940s?
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 as is Sportsman’s Lodge; a classic Hollywood and SFV venue landmark.
The family knew about the area for some time because Joseph’s only sister Kathryn Marinello, and her husband Anthony opened a food store at 13251 Moorpark in 1947.
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: 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 had experience adapting to a new mass medium, when his first industry Vaudeville, died in the early 1930s during the Great Depression.
One significant factor that changed the popularity of radio programming was the rise of TV in the 1950s. Drama and comedy and musical variety shows moved to TV.
In 1950, just under 20 percent of American homes contained a TV set. Ten years later, nearly 90 percent of homes contained a TV—and some even had color TVs. The number of TV stations, channels, and programs all grew to meet this surging demand.encyclopedia.com
Ned LaRocca also has a credit on Leith Steven’s 1953 score to the Marlon Brando movie “The Wild One.”
This record was a hit, released by Decca records, it remains Leith Stevens most well-known and well-regarded creation. J. Ned LaRocca is credited as “Contractor” on the project. Per Discogs.com.
Besides composing and conducting “The Wild One” soundtrack, Leith Stevens composed numerous scores for radio shows, movies and T.V. from the 1930s until his death in 1970.
IMDB indicates that many of Stevens’ compositions go uncredited as “stock music.”
Diana’s grandmother. She started out life as a Mormon in Utah, but somewhere along the way became a Christian Scientist. She is listed as “Chr. Sci.pr.” (Christian Science Practitioner) in Los Angeles telephone directories in the 40 and 50s, and listed with her own telephone line. Read about her early years as a vaudeville performer in the family history chapters 19 teens and 1920s
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.
It is probable that grandfather Ned LaRocca was the primary breadwinner of his household.
I’m sure Donna received child support and likely alimony as this would have been normal for the times.
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 May 2, 2020
Census records, military records and local directories show that Joseph Ned LaRocca (Diana/Paige’s grandfather) was born in 1894 in Peoria, Illinois and grew up there.
Known as “Ned,” Joseph Ned LaRocca was a harpist in a family of several brothers and one sister named Kathryn.
His Father was Salvatore LaRocca, a harpist from Italy, settled in Chicago before raising a family in Peoria with Rose Ann, born Dunufrio. The couple moved to Peoria when Salvatore was offered the leadership of a local Italian band: Marino’s, according to Find a Grave.
Salvatore LaRocca, died at age 52 in 1906, according to records from Peoria listed on ancestry.com. I think Ned was out on the vaudeville circuit by his teenage years.
The one with the most success and fame was oldest brother Roxy.
Roxy was a “famous-at-the-time” vaudeville harpist, known affectionately as the “Wizard of the Harp.”
The LaRocca brothers were all musicians and many of them toured with the major vaudeville circuits like Orpheum and Pantages. None were quite as successful as Roxy in terms of fame.
I read literally of dozens of articles from the era about Roxy’s talent on the harp and his many performances. Two examples follow:
Joseph Ned LaRocca, Diana Cotterell’s grandfather and younger brother of Roxy, often used the professional name Ned Argo or just plain Argo, for his harp act. The ad below from 1925, performing for broadcast radio.
Ned was to have a future in performing for radio broadcasts in Los Angeles.
RCA Corp. did a study in 1925 and found that 19% of homes had a radio. In 1930, it was 40%. Vaudeville was beginning to slide as a mass-media entertainment form. “Moving pictures” continued to be a reason for the lessening popularity of vaudeville.
Ned’s wife, Virginia Young, was born in 1898 in Salt Lake City. Her father was Albert Carrington Young, a doctor. Her mother was named Josephine Young and she died when Virginia and her sister Josephine were still children. Part of the Salt Lake drama and music community, Virginia and Josephine became vaudeville performers. Thier grandfather was Brigham Young and grandmother one of his many wives: Emily Partridge Young. If you google Emily Partridge Young, you will see she and her sister Eliza hold an interesting place in Mormon history as two of founder Joseph Smith’s first “plural wives.”
Virginia Young met Ned LaRocca on a Pantages tour where Virginia and sister Josephine were performing in “The Wrong Bird,” a very successful Utah production that toured North America. The musical play was written by Margaret Whitney, part of the theater and music circles in Salt Lake.
The married couple form a vaudeville act and tour the US in the late teens and most, if not all, of the 1920s. Ned continues to use the name Ned Argo or Argo.
Joseph N and Virginia LaRocca are listed in the 1917 and 1918 Peoria, Ill. directory.
June 30, 1917 Goodwin’s Weekly Salt Lake City. Virginia was married by now and singing in an vaudeville act with her husband Ned. Not named here.
Sometimes Virginia’s sister and fellow vaudeville player Josephine, is part of the act. The girls went by the name “The Virginia Sisters” as seen in the ad from The Daily Oklahoman Oct. 25 1919.
(When this was published, Josephine had already been married one month to San Francisco businessman George Truman Harker)
1920 approx. Josephine quit touring with her sister and brother-in-law and moved to San Francisco with her husband George Truman Harker.
They started a family there: Jack Truman Harker born in 1921, and a daughter, Mary Jane, in 1923 .
In the 1920 Federal Census, Virginia is listed as living in Peoria, Illinois with her husband and his family, and her occupation is listed as “Actress.” Mama LaRocca was still living at this point. Virginia would give birth to Donna Virginia in 1921.
The whole family together in 1923 in Peoria. Anna, the matriarch, is listed as a “widow of Salvatore”
Ned and Virginia continued to tour vaudeville throughout the 1920s. The couple had a two year stop over in 1926-1928 in Oakland, California.
Charlotte Observer June 27, 1929. With an act about “Peoria.” They are listed in the 1930 census as living in Peoria. They were only a few years away from relocating to Los Angeles.
In the mid 1920s, The Harker family moved to South Pasadena, an affluent area then as now.
After Vaudeville died out in the early 1930s, the Great Depression was already in full swing.
Roxy LaRocca retired about this time to the LaRocca family hometown of Peoria, Illinois, where he started a magazine stand.
Frank and Rose, Ned and Virginia, moved to LA during the Depression early/mid 1930s. See next chapter………
MARY JANE HARKER BECOMES JANE HARKER AT WARNER BROS. STUDIO
Please see my next chapter Family History #2 for an in-depth history: move to Los Angeles in the 1930s, Radio City from 1938 through the 1940s and much more on Jane Harker, model/starlet, who worked with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. She appears in an obscure Noir film: The Unfaithful with Ann Sheridan. Also starring Angels Flight, one of the last remaining relics of Bunker Hill in Los Angeles. This film has been shown on TCM a few times, along with Humoresque with Crawford and Garfield.
In the 1940s, Mary Jane Harker was known as Jane Harker, Warner Brothers starlet. Harker had small parts in movies with stars such as Joan Crawford, Ann Sheridan, John Garfield, Jack Carson, Errol Flynn, Eleanor Parker and more.
Category: 1940s, LA Locations, Peoria, Illinois, Radio City, CBS, NBC Tagged: #Dick Whittington, 1940s LA, Angels Flight, Ann Sheridan, Avon Theater, Dick Whittington Phographer, Elysian Park, Frank LaRocca, George Truman Harker, Harp, Harpist, Illinois, Jane Harker, Josephine Harker, Josephine Young, KNX, LA History, LA Noir, Los Angeles architecture, Los Angeles History, Mary Jane Harker, NBC, NBC\CBS, Ned Argo, Ned LaRocca Grandfather, Pantages, Peoria, Radio City, Radio Shows, Roxy LaRocca, South Pasadena, Starlet Warner Brothers, Studio 1 CBS, Vaudeville, Virginia LaRocca, Virginia Young, Warner Brothers