In 2014, filmmaker David Fincher and writer / screenwriter Gillian Flynn captivated audiences with a sadistic portrayal of a beautiful woman with blond hair, a mysterious face, and obsessive-compulsive behavior. The spirit of “Exemplary Girl” presented audiences around the world with a character full of evil tricks, thoughtful and flawless. With victimhood on the surface, she distorts points of view and creates evidence for and for herself, manipulating everything around her.
Amy Dunne’s story is very similar to that of American actress Marie McDonald. Stereotypically after an appearance in the comedy ‘Pardon My Sarong’ (1942), by the duo Abbott and Costello, the young and beautiful with blond hair was nicknamed by Hollywood as “The Body”, thanks to her well-defined curves. The title ended up being an obstacle in his career, which peaked in many supporting roles and only one of the protagonists alongside Gene Kelly in the musical ‘Vida à Larga’ (1947). Over time, his career declined, as did his name. All that remained was this troubled report of an abduction, followed by a beating, at the ‘Girl Exemplar’. History is reborn, with in-depth research carried out by the American magazine EW, which we tell you today.
In his mid-30s and already numbering four marriages, McDonald was once the mistress of infamous gangster Bugsy Siegel, until he was murdered at close range in his Beverly Hills mansion. Her most tumultuous relationship has been with shoe mogul Harry Karl, whom she married twice, the second just six weeks after her divorce. But what does he have to do with all of this? We will get there soon.
It was in the early morning hours of January 3, 1957, when Marie McDonald heard a noise outside the window of her lavish home in upscale Los Angeles. With her three children, the maid and the driver asleep, the actress found herself in the midst of an abduction, shortly after seeing her dog chasing after a man who insisted on disturbing her familiar peace with insistent blows on the fence. Beside him, another boy with a gun. Both wore leather jackets.
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The classic thriller doesn’t end there. Full of threats, the attackers – an African American and a Mexican – forced their way into the house, asking for jewelry, money… and her body. They took whatever they wanted, but before they left they left a note made from newspaper clippings that said “she won’t be hurt for money”. They put it in the residence mailbox and left with a blindfolded McDonald’s to an unknown location.
Marie McDonald tells reporters about her kidnapping
In the dishes, Marie depicts her moments of terror in captivity
After crossing the Californian desert for more than an hour, the actress was held hostage by the kidnappers in a kind of bungalow, where she was forced to take a series of pills with whiskey, managing to dodge them, by hiding some under his tongue. Soon after, Marie Tuboni – Marie’s mother – receives a call from a man claiming to be with his daughter, threatening her if the police are contacted. The same goes with Harry Karl, her (ex) husband. With the police involved in the crime, the missing actress was still nowhere to be found.
Under the orders of the kidnappers, Marie had access to a telephone, voluntarily left in an empty room where she was blindfolded. After hours of captivity, the actress decided to use it to call for help. His first call is gossip columnist Harrison Carroll. The second was made to Michael Wilding – future ex-husband of actress Elizabeth Taylor. The third was for businessman Harold Plant.
When she is caught on the phone by the bandits, Marie finds herself in close combat with the couple, who threaten to kill her. After being brutally beaten, she was blindfolded again and thrown into the car. Shortly after, he was placed outside, abandoned in the middle of the desert landscape. Wounded and wandering in the twilight, she is confronted with the powerful headlights of a truck, driven by Richard D. Corn.
The desert road near the town of Coachella (California) where Marie was found
This is the story told by Marie McDonald on January 4, 1957 to the Hollywood press and the Los Angeles police. Surrounded by spotlights, police officers and journalists desperate to find out what happened, the actress takes on the same characteristics as Amy Dunne, reporting 12 hours of terror and suffering. It becomes national news, becomes the target of pity and compassion in public opinion. Until her story begins to unfold.
Flashes and attention further fueled Marie’s story, that the more it was told, the more it grew. Allegations of sexual abuse and new reports made straight from the hospital (a resemblance to Amy Dunne?) Have surfaced. After a thorough investigation, conflicting information and forensic analyzes that totally diagnosed the opposite, Marie McDonald was brought to trial, where her alleged case was closed and her attackers “never” found.
The sketch of the alleged kidnappers
Her story running out of steam, a new twist brought her ex-husband to the center of the maelstrom. Claiming to have found her captors in Las Vegas, Marie would have paid $ 5,000 in exchange for information on the brain, which was none other than Harry Karl. The businessman even voluntarily took a lie detector test to prove his innocence. From there, the discredit with the case of the actress simply faded.
Harry Karl voluntarily submits to lie detector test
Coming out of the shadows and into the limelight, Marie McDonald’s tale is one of those quirky stories, which mixes Hollywood drama with the constant struggle against social ostracism, born from a branch eager for new artists to attract public attention. If it was all for the same sick reasons as Amy Dunne, it’s hard to know, but the actress managed to save – in a real way – that same torn desire in the words of Norma Desmond, of ‘Twilight. of the Gods’: “I am tall, the films have become small”.
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