Monday, March 31, 2014

Herbert W. Mannon -- Death of a Really Bad Philosopher

Betty Montague Gottlieb, a divorcee employed as a photo retoucher in Hollywood's Austin Studio and a sometime film extra, maintained a torrid 18 month affair with Herbert W. Mannon, vice-president of the Tec-Art Studios, before he tried to end the relationship in mid-1927.  Although friends warned the film executive that the fiery 25 year old could be dangerous, he assured them, "Man is master of his destiny.  Nothing can ever happen to me, for I will it otherwise.  There is nothing to fear.  I shall hold the thought that it is impossible for her to harm me."  In the early morning of August 5, 1927, the pair were parked in a car near 1346 Formosa Avenue in Hollywood when Mannon, attempting to disentangle himself from Gottlieb, let her read a love letter from a woman he had become infatuated with during a recent trip to New York.  According to the police reconstruction, Gottlieb handed the letter back to her lover, then slipped her left arm around Mannon, and asked for a goodbye kiss.  As he leaned forward, the divorcee produced a small caliber pistol from her dress, pressed its muzzle against Mannon's ear, and fired an instantaneously fatal shot.  Seconds later the woman who had spent the earlier part of the day reading Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet shot herself in the head.  Gottlieb lingered for several hours before dying.

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