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Errol Flynn at court
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
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Images available for reproduction and use. Please see the Ordering & Use page at http://tessa.lapl.org/OrderingUse.html for additional information.
Used in the Exhibit: The First with the Latest! Aggie Underwood, the Los Angeles Herald, and the Sordid Crimes of a City.
In 1942 swashbuckling actor and heartthrob, Errol Flynn, was accused of three felony counts of statutory rape involving two teenagers: Peggy Satterlee, fifteen, and Betty Hansen, seventeen. The trial took place during January and February of 1943, and if convicted the star could have spent years in San Quentin. Errol’s first accuser, Peggy Satterlee, testified that she had been attacked by the actor while a guest on his ketch Sirocco. She and several other people were on a weekend cruise in the Santa Catalina Channel on August 2 and 3, 1941 when the alleged attack occurred. She told the jam-packed courtroom that she had been up on the deck as they approached Los Angeles Harbor when Errol joined her. She remarked on how pretty the moon looked and he allegedly told her, “It looks prettier through a porthole” as he escorted her to his stateroom. One of the guests on the yacht, photographer Peter Stackpole, testified that Errol was holding one of the pictures of Peggy that had been taken over the weekend when he turned to Peter and said he was going to caption it “$5,000” because the girl was trying to shake him down. Betty Hansen, Errol’s second accuser, testified that the star had been intimate with her at the Bel-Air estate of Fred McEvoy, a British sportsman. Neither girl’s testimony withstood scrutiny. Peggy had given several conflicting statements before testifying in court. She had recently found a job as a theater usherette, and on her application she gave her age as 18. When the theater manager questioned it, Peggy’s mother declared: “My daughter is 18.” Betty Hansen’s story didn’t fare much better. While being held at Juvenile Hall the young woman evidently told policewoman Mary Ross that it was “easy to get money in this sucker town.” Ross also stated that Betty had told her she had undressed herself in the bedroom of the Bel-Air mansion—which didn’t match her later statement that Errol had undressed her. The jury didn’t find Peggy or Betty credible and acquitted Errol of all charges. The trial proved to be a media frenzy with throngs of fans showing up to get a look at their favorite movie star. Some had even made long trips from out of town to participate in the circus. Aggie Underwood had covered the entire trial. Following the acquittal, a party was held at Underwood’s home. Errol supplied the liquor and Underwood cooked spaghetti for the celebrants.
Between two rows of spectators, mostly women, Flynn is shown going to court on January 12, 1943 on charges of attacking two girls. With him is attorney, Jerry Giesler.
1 photograph :b&w
Photographic prints
Herald Examiner Collection
HE box 5412-Flynn, Errol; HE-001-031 4x5"
Flynn, Errol,--1909-1959
Flynn, Errol,--1909-1959--Trials, litigation, etc
Giesler, Jerry,--1886-1962
Motion picture actors and actresses--United States
Lawyers--United States
Courthouses--California--Los Angeles
Spectators--California--Los Angeles
Men--California--Los Angeles
Women--California--Los Angeles
Interiors--California--Los Angeles
Downtown Los Angeles (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Herald-Examiner Collection photographs

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