Other Free Encyclopedias » Law Library - American Law and Legal Information » Notable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940 » Mary Astor Divorce Trial: 1936 - "he'd Shake Her So Hard Her Teeth Rattled", The Diary Written In Purple, Playwright Flees In A Laundry Basket

Mary Astor Divorce Trial: 1936 - The Diary Written In Purple

woolley press prove appetite

Anderson had fired a shot heard "round the world. Headline writers outdid each other shouting that renowned play-wright and director George S. Kaufman had been named in Mary Astor's diary as her lover. Thorpe had the diary, dating from 1929. According to Anderson, its presentation as evidence would prove what everyone in show business knew: that Kaufman's sexual appetite was as great as his well-known appetite for work. And the diary—written, the press reported, in purple ink—would reveal a scorecard by Mary Astor on the performance in bed of almost every well-known actor in show business.

Mary Astor conferring with her attorney—Roland Rich Woolley (Hearst Newspaper Collection, University of Southern California Library) Mary Astor conferring with her attorney—Roland Rich Woolley (Hearst Newspaper Collection, University of Southern California Library)

Astor's lawyer, Roland Rich Woolley, told the court he wanted the diary produced by the defense as evidence, to prove that it was not such a compilation of titillation. Astor said the book was a forgery leaked to the press.

Sam Goldwyn, Jack Warner, Irving Thalberg, Louis B. Mayer, and Jesse Lasky and their lawyers tried to convince Astor and Woolley that it would be better for the movie industry and for her not to introduce the diary.

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about 6 years ago

I am the 'custody battle' daughter of Mary Astor - My father was Franklyn Thorpe - Just for your amusement - the diary was NOT purple - Mother wrote the diary on light blue paper with a brown ink fountain pen, which eventually blended to appear purple. Of course the color made the story even more lurid, if possible. The diary was eventually destroyed by the court.