Thursday, June 26, 2014

A. P. Younger -- Thanks, Fido

In Hollywood since the mid-to-late teens, Younger either contributed the story, adapted, or wrote more than 50 films.  These included Fair and Warmer (1919), Desperate Youth (1921), The Torrent (1924, also directed), The Devil's Cargo (1925), In Old Kentucky (1927), and Five and Ten (1933).  At the height of his career as a scenarist-screenwriter for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Younger was earning $1,500 a week plus bonuses.  In the late evening of November 29, 1931 (according to Younger's stepson, Frank Deering), the 41-year-old screenwriter was awakened from sleep by a dog barking in the back yard of his luxurious home at 145 South Beachwood Avenue in Los Angeles.  Fearing a prowler, Younger found his .38-caliber automatic pistol and went into the bathroom to examine the weapon.  The gun accidentally discharged, fatally striking him in the right temple.  Younger died soon afterward at the Georgia Street Receiving Hospital.

Initial police reports differed from Deering's account.  According to the investigating officer's report:  "Younger stood in front of a mirror in the bathroom, held the gun in his right hand and shot himself in the right temple."  Forensics confirmed that the gun had been placed tightly against his head when fired.  An investigation conducted for the coroner's jury uncovered two possible motives that supported a ruling of suicide.  Although Younger had $30,000 in the bank, his lucrative contract with MGM had been terminated the week before his death.  That same week, Younger had been arrested during a police liquor raid at his home.  The screenwriter's death was officially ruled a suicide.

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