The Daily Mirror
Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
Battling movie stars
June 20, 2007 | 7:27
June 20, 1957, Los Angeles – For battling Hollywood celebrities, it's hard to surpass Shelley Winters and Anthony Franciosa. They were only married a few years, but they made up for it in brawls between themselves, other actors (like Ava Gardner) and the press.
In this instance, Franciosa was given 10 days in jail for kicking Herald-Express photographer William Walker on April 19 after a court appearance.
Franciosa and Winters were trying to bid on a house at 618 Hillcrest Drive, Beverly Hills, and Franciosa objected to being photographed because he was still married to his wife, Beatrice, who was in Reno getting a divorce. Franciosa was wrestled to the ground and arrested after kicking Walker as Winters cried and sobbed: "Please don't have him arrested! You've ruined our lives!"
He was originally sentenced to 90 days in jail and a $250 fine, but the judge agreed to give him two years' probation if Franciosa spent 10 days in jail. The actor fought the sentence in court--in proceedings that revealed a record of arrests for theft and intoxication--before beginning his term on Dec. 12, 1957.
Winters and Franciosa were married in May 1957. In April 1958, Franciosa suffered a 2-inch cut behind his ear when Winters threw a perfume bottle at him. Then in August the Italian press reported that there was a brawl between Winters and Ava Gardner over rumors of Gardner's involvement with Franciosa while filming "The Naked Maja." (Not true, Winters said. They were all good friends. Gardner was curiously silent about the matter).
In July 1960, Winters sued for a legal separation, and filed for divorce in November. The wild ride was over.
Shelley Winters died Jan. 14, 2006.
Anthony Franciosa died five days later.
"I would be prefer to be judged my work alone," Franciosa said in 1961. "It's nobody's business what I'm like except the people I have to live with or work with."