Friday, August 9, 2019
Eunice Pringle Accuses Alexander Pantages of Rape 1929
Eunice Irene Pringle (born March 5, 1912, Garden Grove, California — died March 26, 1996) was an aspiring dancer, notable for accusing Los Angeles movie-house owner Alexander Pantages of rape in 1929, resulting in a sensational trial.
1929 Rape Trial
Pringle alleged that the Greek immigrant Pantages had attacked her on August 9, 1929 in a tiny side-office of his downtown theater after she came to see him to discuss her audition.
Newspaper coverage of the trial, particularly by William Randolph Hearst's Los Angeles Examiner, was antagonistic towards the Greek-accented Pantages, while portraying Pringle as the innocent victim.
In countless stories in the Examiner from the moment the case broke in the newspaper on Saturday, August 10, 1929, until the end of the trial, Pantages was portrayed as variously alone, aloof, cold, emotionless, effete, and 'European,' while the American-born Pringle was portrayed as "the sweetest 17 since Clara Bow."
There were portraits with her family, tearful outbursts in court and lengthy interviews in the press, which depicted her with a sense of decorum and empathy. Pantages granted no interviews during the trial.
Pantages was found guilty and he was sentenced to 50 years in prison. However, he overturned his conviction on appeal.
Hollywood myths have alleged that Joseph P. Kennedy, the patriarch of the famous American family, paid Pringle $10,000 to enter Pantages's office and accuse him of rape, with the goal of destroying his reputation and business prospects and forcing Pantages to accept Kennedy's bid to buy Pantages's theatre chain. Pantages had adamantly refused to sell when Kennedy initially approached him.
The conviction destroyed Pantages's reputation. Despite his success on appeal, he sold his chain to Kennedy's RKO and Warner Bros. After the incident, Pringle withdrew from show business.
Later, the story circulated that Pringle implicated Kennedy in a deathbed confession in the throes of evident cyanide poisoning soon after the trial. This alleged incident is described in Ronald Kessler's biography of Kennedy, Sins of the Father, as well as Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon II. The fact that Pringle actually died more than 60 years after this "confession" calls into question Kennedy's supposed role.
In 1935, Pringle married Robert White, the heir to a furniture business. After divorcing White, she married Richard Ellis Worthington, a psychologist, in 1947. They lived in Chicago for several years before moving to San Diego County in 1955. The couple had one child, a daughter, Marcy. Pringle died in 1996, aged 84.
1. Lagos, Taso (May 2012). "Poor Greek to 'Scandalous Hollywood Mogul: Alexander Pantages and the Anti-Immigrant Narratives of William Randolph Hearst's Los Angeles Examiner". Journal of Modern Greek Studies. 30 (1): 45–74. doi:10.1353/mgs.2012.0006.
2. "Eunice Pringle Hits Pantages Freedom". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Nov 28, 1938. Retrieved 3 Feb 2013.
3. Beauchamp, Cari (2010). Joseph P. Kennedy Presents: His Hollywood Years. Vintage Books. pp. 297–298. ISBN 978-0-307-47522-0.