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Dexter Benner
Alternative Title
Los Angeles Herald Examiner Photo Collection
Date Created and/or Issued
Contributing Institution
Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Rights Information
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Photograph was edited for publication purposes.
Born in Seattle, Jean Spangler married Dexter Benner (March 20, 1920-May 7, 2007) in 1942, when she was 19 years old. She first filed for divorce after six months, but their marriage officially lasted until 1946 and two years after that, she won custody of their daughter Christine. A dancer and actress known for small film roles in the 1940s, Jean Spangler lived in the Wilshire district with her daughter, mother, her brother and sister-in-law. On the evening of October 7, 1949, Spangler told her sister-in-law that she was meeting her former husband, Dexter, to ask for an increase in child support. After Spangler did not return the following day, her sister-in-law filed a missing person's report with the Los Angeles Police Department. On October 9, 1949, a Griffith Park employee found Spangler's black purse with its handles torn off, but its contents intact. Among the items in the purse was a note with the following message, "Kirk--Can't wait any longer. Going to see Dr. Scott. It will work out best this way while Mother is away, ..." Spangler's mother, Florence, was visiting family in Kentucky when Jean disappeared. Dexter was questioned and he claimed that he did not meet his former wife that evening, as she had told her sister-in law, and actually had not seen her for weeks prior to her disappearance. A local store clerk stated that Spangler had been seen in the store on October 7, appearing to be waiting for someone. The "Kirk" mentioned in the note lead to speculation about the man's identity. Actor Kirk Douglas mentioned that he had barely known her when she was an extra in a film that he had recently starred in, and Spangler's family members did not know a man in her life with that name. A friend of Spangler's shared that Spangler had confided that she was pregnant before she disappeared. Allegedly, Spangler had been involved with various men, including David Ogul (Little Davy), an associate of Mickey Cohen. Witnesses told investigators that Spangler and Ogul were seen in Palm Springs a week before she disappeared. Ogul then disappeared on October 5, 1949, after having been indicted on conspiracy charges. In February, 1950, Los Angeles detectives received word that Spangler, Ogul and Frank Niccoli, another Cohen associate, may have been seen in El Paso; Niccoli had disappeared in September, 1949 after also having been indicted on conspiracy charges. Throughout the 1950s, Spangler sightings in California, Arizona and Mexico were reported, but nothing developed from the leads. Her case remains unsolved.
Photograph caption dated October 13, 1949 reads, "Dexter Benner, former husband of missing dancer." Benner was married to Jean Spangler.
1 photographic print :b&w ;26 x 21 cm.
Photographic prints
Herald Examiner Collection
HE box 9980; HE-001-781 4x5
Men--California--Los Angeles
Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express photographs
Herald-Examiner Collection photographs
Portrait photographs

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