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

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

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

He now lives in the Coachella Valley area of California.

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

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

Thanks also to his niece Ellen Sample.

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

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

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

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

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

After we sat down to talk, Sample told me:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard doesn’t remember which edge.

For a dinner party, Paige had a different chair for each guest to use, not a matching (dining) set. She would only eat salad if it was a day old.

“I never saw Paige with shoes on.” see chapter 1970 Warhol, Paige appears with her date at the Warhol opening in Pasadena. She is photographed wearing a long Rudi Gernreich dress and is barefoot.

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

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

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

How Richard met Paige:

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

LAT July 19, 1964 the famous Cooper house by architect Harry Gessner

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

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

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

Jonathan Winters:

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

I told him about the archival newspaper interviews with Paige from 1969, while promoting Playboy around the country. Some of the articles mention that Paige has appeared as an extra or “in many skits,” on The Jonathan Winters Show. (1967-1969 CBS) (See my chapter on Paige’s Most Public Year 1969).

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

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

Presumably because of Jonathan Winters.

Paige did not tell Richard anything about Jonathan Winters when they were together. He said he wasn’t aware of her appearing on the show during its run from 1967-1969. He said it is a possibility that she did and he didn’t know about it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I decided not to tell Richard that there is more proof of a suicide besides the death certificate: witnesses like neighbor Melanie, the man DeWitt listed as a “2nd witness” on the police report, the police at Paige’s house and coroner’s office. Celeste Huston to me in a facebook exchange.

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

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

Richard moved to Venice Beach, around 1966-67 motivated by its’ thriving art scene. Paige joined Richard not too long after he moved.

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

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

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

After I returned from my trip, I did some research and I found a quote from both Larry Bell and DeWain Valentine in an art magazine.

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

Larry Bell

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

The Brooklyn Rail May 2019 Interview with DeWain Valentine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard and his father were both quite handsome.

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

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

And presumably the Raincheck Room, to be determined, per Larry Bell’s quote.

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

“Lewis Beach Marvin the 3rd parents’ owned Green Stamps. He was a friend of Paige’s and mine. He introduced me to Robert Carl Cohen who put a lot of my sculptures in his movie Mondo Hollywood.

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

I did some research and one story says that Lewis Beach Marvin is the young man who gives Jim Morrison a lamb on stage in Miami on May 1st 1969. This can be seen on a film.

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

He does appear in a Miami article with a lamb around the time of the Doors concert. I also read it was a local Miami man who gave Morrison the lamb, this is the same concert where Morrison allegedly exposed his penis on stage and was arrested..

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

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

I did see his ending credit as:

Moonshadow sculpture: Richard Lauren Sample

..

Famous pin-up and 50s, 60s Playboy photographer Peter Gowland:

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

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

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

The next several photos are all from Playboy magazine November 1968, taken by Peter Gowland.

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

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

TiRi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He said it didn’t bother him.

He remembered and shared one last thing:

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

Tony Dow purchased some of Richard’s art .

Part 2 of the interview is posted.

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

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

However, in a SFV phone directory, I find Virginia Young LaRocca, widowed in 1959, listed at 13204 Riverside Drive. A 6-plex (at that time) on the corner with Atoll Ave.   Diana could have lived here with her grandmother, as she was only 16 years old in 1960. Josephine Young Harker, Diana’s great aunt, is also listed with this address in a 1960 LA phone directory.

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

Diana’s mother Donna and stepfather Jack Holroyd, are listed at 12835 1/2 Oxford Ave., very near Grant High School in 1960, 61 and 62. Diana could have lived here as well.

12385 Oxford Ave. Van Nuys

Panorama City

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

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

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

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

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

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

Close up on page 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What happened to Paige’s family, ex Husband Mark F. Segal, Desmond Guinness, Lawyer Marvin Mitchelson.

From the LAT Aug. 29, 1976

Paige’s grandmother Virginia Young LaRocca died in August of 1976 in the Studio City Convalescent Hospital located at 11429 Ventura Blvd.  

It’s difficult to read, but I think Virginia died from complications of a stroke.

 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, as were her granddaughter’s ashes.

Her sister and former vaudeville partner, Josephine Young Harker, Paige Young’s great aunt, died in June of 1979 in the Jacksonville, Florida area.

Mary Jane Harker Lanier died in 1986 in Florida.

Donna Virginia LaRocca Holroyd, had moved with mother Virginia and husband Jack, to the Simi Valley around the mid to late 1960s.

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.” (from the Oxford News)

According to an Oxford newspaper article, Donna received a degree from UCLA in Early Childhood Education.

Donna and John “Jack” Holroyd divorced in the early 1970s, she and Virginia were back in Sherman Oaks and living at the historic Chase Knolls Apartment Community by 1974. (Per Paige Young’s death certificate listed as  next-of-kin.) 

1980- Donna 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 Constance Smashey is listed on the death certificate as next of kin. She has an address in Simi Valley. Constance would move to the Palm Desert area in the late 1980s and now lives in Banning, California. She turned me down when I called her and asked if I could ask a few questions about Paige and Donna.

Chase Knolls Apartments Sherman Oaks. Not Donna’s apartment which is located behind the locked gate.

Paige’s father Robert Morgan Cotterell and his wife Pat, moved to Oregon in the 1970s after he retired. 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.

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 a friend and later bought it back. He sold it again and moved to Portland in the late 80? He died there on October 16, 2012.

4133 Crisp Canyon Ave. was razed and replaced with a McMansion.

His son Ivan Segal lives in Portland and Scottsdale.

Scroll WAY down for more.

Desmond Guinness married Penelope Cuthbertson in 1984. According to “international set”gossip writer Suzy Knickerbocker in 1973, Penny and Desmond are cousins.

He continued his work on Irish architecture preservation and fundraising for several decades and died on August 20, 2020. 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 he became acquainted with Paige Young is still a mystery, could have possibly been through John and CiCi Huston in Ireland. Desmond was well connected in Los Angeles too.

Paige’s divorce lawyer Marvin Mitchelson went from “Beverly Hills and LA famous” (due to the Mason case and others) to internationally famous, when he represented Michelle Triola Marvin in her lawsuit against live-in lover of 6 years, actor Lee Marvin.

 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.

Michelle Triola Marvin felt she was owed part of Lee Marvin’s $3.2 million fortune, as she had given up her own career (per his demand she says) as a lounge singer, to become his live-in lover, helpmate, career advisor, and even part-time mother to 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 celebrity 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 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. 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.)

He also represented a few men: Mark Christian, ex-lover of Rock Hudson, in his widely publicized case against Hudson’s estate after the actor died of AIDS, Mel Torme, Carl Sagan and Sonny Bono.

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.

For the only biography of Marvin Mitchelson, please read: Ladies’ Man: The Life & Trials of Marvin Mitchelson, by John A. Jenks. It’ a fascinating look at an LA character at one time in history. This book provided me with a great deal of context of the era.

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

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

Some examples below:

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

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

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

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

“..In the early days, when his client list was still thin, he could gin up publicity by filing an oddball lawsuit himself…this was 1964 and he had to work with what material was sent him.” From the book “Ladies Man, The Life and Trials of Marvin Mitchelson” by John A. Jenkins.

 This is likely the reason Mitchelson took Paige’s case despite, her lack of ability to pay him any money upfront.  The case was unusual or “oddball” enough.

 Hollywood History/Celebrity Connections: Only a few days after Paige files for divorce,  news breaks that Beverly Hills society matron and LA talk show host, Pamela Mason, has won the unprecedented amount of 1 million dollars, for her divorce settlement from husband of 20 years: actor James Mason.

Her lawyer is Marvin Mitchelson.

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

Jenkins details the Mason case:

“Afterward in the courthouse corridor, “James (Mason) called the settlement ‘a flea bite.’ After all, he was getting off the hook without giving her any alimony at all. But Pamela was ecstatic. Her settlement was one of the first to break the magic million-dollar mark, and Mitchelson had gotten her, and himself, a ton of publicity about it.” “Pamela was so grateful she did everything she could to make Marvin Mitchelson a household name. Pamela introduced Mitchelson to her divorcing friends…she became his entrée to those rarefied upper brackets of Beverly Hills and Hollywood.”

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

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

Bernard Echt is Mark Segal’s attorney

 An initial agreement is reached pretty quickly: Sept. 18,1964 . Mark is required to pay Paige alimony, but only for six months.

This would be about $1000 in 2017, so the equivalent of $6000 total in today’s money.

1964 November 24:  Paige and her grandmother Virginia LaRocca are sworn-in for testimony in a Los Angeles courthouse, probably 111 Hill Street, for the divorce trial; Mark is a no-show. Virginia LaRocca testifies for the plaintiff, her granddaughter Paige. An interlocutory decree of divorce is granted to Paige on grounds of extreme cruelty.

 Paige waives her right to any further alimony payments beyond the six months.  Mark is also ordered to pay Marvin Mitchelson $300 (about $2072 in 2017 dollars) and $15.00 in court costs around $100 today.   Paige is awarded a 1953 MG Roadster; Mark is ordered to sign the title over to her.  Paige gets to keep certain antiques and wedding gifts.  Mark gets to keep his home at 4133 Crisp Canyon in Sherman Oaks.

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

1965

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

Defendant Mark F. Segal is delinquent in alimony payments 64-65
Order to show cause that Mark is in contempt; alimony unpaid up to middle of 1965

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

Virginia Young LaRocca is Diana’s grandmother. She started out life as a Mormon in Utah, but somewhere along the way became a Christian Scientist. She is listed as “Chr. Sci.pr.” (Christian Science Practitioner) in Los Angeles telephone directories in the 40 and 50s, and listed with her own telephone line.

Christian Science practitioner is an individual who prays for others according to the teachings of Christian Science. Treatment is non-medical, rather it is based on the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (1875) by Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), who said she discovered Christian Science in 1866 and founded the Christian Science church in 1879. According to the church, Christian Science practitioners address physical conditions, as well as relationship or financial difficulties and any other problem or crisis.

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A 1955, an LA telephone directory lists a Ned J. LaRocca at 4414 N. Ethel and a Virginia Young LaRocca with the same address.

Donna Cotterell is listed with the 13055 Moorpark address. 13055 Moorpark is on a corner with Ethel St.

4114 Ethel St. doesn’t seem to be an “real” address;  I don’t find a record of it anywhere besides the phone directory. This could be a result of the house modification for Donna, Diana and Constance.

1957 Virginia Young LaRocca is listed in the phone directory at 4414 N. Ethel State 4-7052 North Hollywood. Cr. Sci. Pr.

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

I can’t tell how much income Virginia made from her vocation as a CSP.

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

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

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

Family History #1: Teens, 1920s Vaudeville. Joseph And Roxy LaRocca. Peoria, Ill. Virginia Young. Salt Lake City. The Great Depression. Jane Harker. Warner Bros.

Roxy LaRocca is Diana/Paige’s great uncle. Roxy used this as his passport photo. Postcard found on e-bay.

Family Background:

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,” and “Ned Argo” he was a harpist in a family of several brothers, oldest brother Roxy show above and below. The brothers were all musicians and many of them toured with the major vaudeville circuits like Orpheum and Pantages.

Ned began touring in vaudeville about age 14.

The LaRocca brothers supported their widowed mother back in Peoria, after their professional musician-harpist father, Salvatore LaRocca, died at around age 40. 

Salvatore LaRocca, was from Italy and settled in Chicago before raising a family in Peoria with Rose Ann, born Dunufrio. The couple had moved to Peoria from Chicago when Salvatore became leader of a local Italian band.

The oldest brother Roxy, became a “famous-at-the-time” vaudeville harpist, known affectionately as the “Wizard of the Harp.”

The ad at lower left advertises the bill Roxy is on at the Colonial Theatre. It’s the Keith Vaudeville circuit.

WIZARD OF THE HARP

I read literally of dozens of articles from the era about Roxy’s talent and performances on the harp.

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; the 1920s were the heyday of radio and at this point vaudeville was beginning to slide as a mass-media entertainment form. “Moving pictures” added to the lessening popularity of vaudeville.

Sacramento paper 1925 Diana/Paige’s grandfather.
Diana Cotterell/Paige’s Young’s maternal grandmother.

Ned’s wife, Virginia Young was born in 1898, was from Utah and also a vaudeville performer. Her grandfather was Brigham Young and grandmother one of his many wives: Emily Partridge Young. If you google Emily Partridge Young, you will see she holds an interesting place in Mormon history as one of the first of Joseph Smith’s “plural wives.” Virginia, seen at right, met Ned LaRocca on a Pantages tour where Virginia and her sister Josephine were performing in “The Wrong Bird,” a very successful Utah production that was touring North America. I have saved dozens of articles on Virginia Young and her sister Josephine. They toured together on vaudeville and eventually had their own act with Virginia’s husband Ned Argo LaRocca. I hope to post some of these soon. These folks had a minor kind of fame in vaudeville.

Salt Lake Tribune March 28, 1915.

From a Salt Lake paper. Marriage in 1918 Paige Young’s maternal grandparents.

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.”

Sometimes Virginia’s sister and fellow vaudeville performer 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)

Josephine married George Truman Harker a year after her sister married Joseph Ned LaRocca. The marriage ceremony of Josephine and George took place backstage at LA’s Pantages theatre.

Los Angeles Daily Times Sept. 15, 1919 Josephine is Diana/Paige’s great aunt.

1920 approx. Josephine quit touring with her sister and brother-in-law and moved to San Francisco with her husband George Truman Harker. The couple had a son, Jack Truman Harker in 1921, and a daughter, Mary Jane, in 1923 .

Mary Jane Harker was a first cousin to Donna LaRocca, Diana’s mother.

In the 1940s, she 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, to mention only a few.

I will be working on a video about Mary Jane Harker soon. She is misidentified on the internet.

This is the true background of Jane Harker, short lived Warner Bros. pin-up and starlet.

In the mid 1920s, The Harker family moved to South Pasadena, an affluent area then as now.

Ned and Virginia continued to tour vaudeville throughout the 1920s.

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, Joseph Ned and Virginia, moved to LA during the Depression early/mid 1930s.

Please see my next chapter Family History #2 for the family’s history in Los Angeles in the 1930s and 1940s.

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