Saturday, October 25, 2008
MAE MURRAY, COURT VETERAN, FACES $1,750,000 ACTION
Los Angeles, Feb. 12 (AP)
Mae Murray won screen stardom, married a prince, and now her days in court bid fair to exceed those of any other motion picture actress.
The biggest suit of her career, one for $1,750,000 against Tiffany Stahl productions, Inc., to which she charged the “artistic failure” of her picture “Peacock Alley,” is set for hearing in March.
“Several other suits over beauty treatments and clothing are pending,” Vernon Bettin, one of her attorneys, said today – “just minor ones. And the $29,000 bank loan suit is up next Monday.”
When Miss Murray and Prince David Zahn built their beach home in Playa Del Rey, she had to sue the city of Los Angeles for a permit. Later, the city sued and compelled her to move her beach fence back to mean tide so the public could pass.
She won a $50 suit over Omar Pasha, a pedigreed Great Dane dog, she claimed she never received, and another $395 over miniature colored photographs of herself she said she did not order. She got a “break” when Paul Porlet, Paris designer, sued another girl of the same name by mistake.
Miss Murray wears attractive, modish gowns to court and her testimony is lively. She lost a suit for $2,125 to Mrs. Sylvia Ulback, masseuse, for keeping her in the pink of condition on a vaudeville tour. Mrs. Ulback’s attorney asked if Miss Murray had not borrowed $25 from the masseuse for Prince M’Divani and if Mrs. Ulback had not referred to him as “a bum.”
“My dear man,” replied Miss Murray, “you may not realize it but I am a lady and when you address me as such, I will be able to answer you.”
She fainted at a hearing at Santa Monica when the judge dismissed the charges against her for forcible entry to “The House That Jack Built.”
Miss Murray purchased this said home from Jack Donovan, who said he was a cowboy film star and architect, and Mrs. Jeanette G. Donovan, his mother, in 1926 for $56,000. Later, she sued to cancel the contract on the ground that many of the claimed antiques were not real, others had been removed, that she was disappointed in the pipe organ, and the washing machine would not work.
Mrs. Donavan admitted she had replaced a Louis XV bed, but said it was falling to pieces, so she had a planing mill make a new one.
The superior court gave Miss Murray judgment for $32,295, the appeals court reversed it, but she finally won out last month in the state supreme court. In the meantime, however, she had stopped payment on a $29,000 bank loan secured by a trust deed on the house, and it was sold for a sum reported at $500. The bank now is suing her for a deficiency judgment.
Miss Murray lost a suit to Natacha Rambova, who once was Mrs. Rudolph Valentino, for $1,652 for clothing and jewelry, and another more recently for $1500 for income tax services. She sued to real estate men for $80,000 over an exchange of houses and lost.
There have been numerous other legal actions over wage claims, insurance, notes and usurious money rates. Several were filed in New York on which records here are incomplete, one against the Fox Theaters corporation for $250,000 over an injury to her left foot.