Sat 20 Mar, 2010
I admit it – I’ve become obsessed over the past few days with the part that lipstick has played in divorce court.
A casual search of the historic Los Angeles Times unearthed about a dozen cases of divorce in which lipstick had a role. I’ve covered two of them already this week. What I can’t figure out is if the men who came home to their wives smelling like a distillery and smeared with lipstick were simply clueless or if they wanted to be caught.
In 1935, the Le Roy Millers were a young couple married only eight months. Le Roy was a salesman who, according to his actress wife Dorothy, stayed out all night at least three times each week.
Le Roy would come home with a lipstick stained collar and then clam up. He would refuse to divulge his whereabouts during the missing hours, and he became downright surly whenever Dorothy quizzed him. Dorothy couldn’t rid herself of the lurid mind picture of Le Roy and some unknown cutie getting up close and personal.
Dorothy finally became so fed up with her husband’s antics that she headed for divorce court. She was accompanied by her friend, Eve Chutuk, who corroborated her testimony.
Dorothy was granted a divorce.
In 1955 Antoinette B. Grant, 29, a Dutch oil heiress filed suit against her psychiatrist husband Dr. Henry J. Grant, 42. Mrs. Grant observed that she couldn’t believe that all of the lipstick marks on his clothing had come from grateful patients. She went on to say that ever since she’d started to voice her suspicions of Henry’s infidelity he had started accusing her of being mentally unstable.
Personally, I think that Henry must have been a fan of the 1944 film “Gaslight”. In that movie Gregory (Charles Boyer) attempted to drive his wife Paula (Ingrid Bergman) mad. It didn’t work in the movie, and it wouldn’t work for Dr. Grant either.
In a vote of no confidence Antoinette consulted another psychiatrist who told her that she was fine, except for the stress caused by her failing marriage.
By September of 1955 the Grant’s divorce proceedings had heated up. Antoinette testified that her husband frequently called her a psychopath. According to Antoinette many of the couple’s quarrels were over money. Even though their combined incomes were more than $1000 a month, Henry permitted her a weekly allowance of only $70. With that measly sum she was supposed to run the household, including the wages of a twice-a-week maid.
Henry responded to his wife’s pleas for more money by calling her irresponsible and then beating her. When Antoinette couldn’t, or wouldn’t, iron one of Henry’s shirts on demand he crushed a lit cigarette out on her neck.
Hmm. Sounds to me like Henry was the crazy one in the family. Physician, heal thyself!
Ultimately, Antoinette walked away with the house in Bel Air, a car, $70 a month in child support, and retained a trust fund which would pay her $6,000 per year.
As far as I’m concerned, Henry did much better than he deserved to – he got $16,000 in cash and a car.
Another marriage destroyed by that evil home wrecker, liptstick!