Monday, December 17, 2012

Don't Bother to Knock


Granted, none of us wants to die. But if you're gonna go, you should be as lucky as jazz pianist Hal Schaefer, whose obituary involves one of the best bits of Hollywood lore of all time, starring Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Joe DiMaggio! The New York Times writes:
On Nov. 5, 1954, not long after Marilyn Monroe filed for divorce from Joe DiMaggio, DiMaggio was having dinner with Frank Sinatra when he heard, probably from a private investigator, that if he went to a certain apartment house on Waring Avenue in West Hollywood, he’d find her in the arms of another man. 
There are different accounts of what happened later that night, but what is certain is that a party of men, including DiMaggio and Sinatra, showed up at the address and someone broke down the door of the ostensible love nest, terrifying the woman who lived there, Florence Kotz — sometimes identified as Florence Kotz Ross — who was in bed by herself.
“Mrs. Ross was fast asleep about 11 p.m. when five or six men suddenly battered down the back door to her apartment, tearing it from its hinges and leaving glass strewn on the floor,” The Los Angeles Times reported, adding, “A bright flash of light was shone in her eyes and she was confronted with a number of men, some of whom seemed to be carrying an instrument which at first sight she believed to be an ax.” 
The incident, which came to be known as “the wrong door raid,” resulted in a lawsuit filed by Mrs. Ross against Sinatra, DiMaggio and four others, which was settled for $7,500. And where was Monroe? A female friend of hers claimed at the time that they had been together that evening, but years later, Hal Schaefer, a jazz pianist who was also Monroe’s vocal coach and who had become her confidant and romantic partner, admitted in interviews that he and Monroe were trysting in an apartment just a few yards away.  
"We were very close to making love; I don’t remember the stage we were at, but I would say half-dressed,” Mr. Schaefer recalled. He added: “And all of a sudden for some reason, Marilyn got these vibrations, and we went over to the window and saw this group standing across the street, one of whom was Joe DiMaggio and another was Frank Sinatra. They all came en masse and broke this door in, demolished it. We scrambled to get out the back way, and we made it, luckily.”
Keep reading HERE.


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