Scandalous romances have been a fiber of the Hollywood tapestry because the silent period. Few, nonetheless, approached the extent of jaw-dropping conduct because the torrid affair between actors Barbara Payton and Tom Neal within the early Nineteen Fifties. In the end, a potent cocktail of infidelity, assault, alcoholism, and homicide ended their careers and led to a tragic downfall.
A former mannequin, brassy blonde Payton made her display screen debut within the 1949 noir “Trapped.” She specialised in femme fatales, most notably reverse James Cagney in 1950’s “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye,” however by the next 12 months, she was starring in B-grade fare like “Bride of the Gorilla.” Throughout this era, Payton dated Tom Neal, an actor whose best-known characteristic was the doom-laden noir “Detour.” Nevertheless, she reduce off the connection after turning into engaged to actor Franchot Tone.
In 1951, Neal despatched Tone to the hospital after a savage beating. Payton and Tone nonetheless bought married, however she left him 53 days later for Neal, which successfully killed their Hollywood careers. After their split-up in 1953, Payton descended into alcoholism, drug habit, and arrests for examine fraud and prostitution, a lot of which was detailed in her ghost-written 1963 autobiography “I Am Not Ashamed.” She died of coronary heart and liver failure on the age of 39 on Might 8, 1967.
Neal moved to Palm Springs and ran a landscaping enterprise, however could not appear to keep away from bother. He was convicted within the taking pictures loss of life of his spouse, Gail Bennett, in 1965. Although he claimed it was an accident, Neal served six years in jail for the crime earlier than his parole in 1971. One 12 months later, he was lifeless of a coronary heart assault on the age of 58.
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