Dear fellow Flynn fans,
on April the 24th in 1944 at the Mocambo Nightclub Errol narrowly escaped an assassination attempt by the mafia. But it was not his life that was in danger, but rather his fair hair.
He became involved in a ladies`wrestling match between casino society member Virginia Hill and showgirl singer Toby Tuttle. It is not entirely clear what and who started the socialte scuffle, but somehow Flynn got between the lines of fire. An egg was thrown at our Hollywood hero and hit him bullseye on the head. Later one of them ready to hitwomen would say that was because he wasn´t galantly stepping up for her after a crude remark from the other fighting hen. Another source stated it was for his grinning and watching appreciatively while sport commentating the scene to his pest pal Freddie McEvoy.
Now while some papers spotted Miss Tuttle as the perpetratorette, others held Miss Hill responsible. She of course was “Bugsy`s girl”. Not Bugsy Malone, mind you, but Benjamin Siegel, jewish mobster debonaire, the founder of Murder Inc. and the builder of the Las Vegas Flamingo Casino Hotel.
Born and raised like kettle in Lipscomb (Alabama) Virginia ran away to Chicago at age 17.
“Where I lived was prison. There were ten kids in the family and no money. My father worked in a livery stable as a horse and mule trader while my mother ran a boarding house. My grandmother at eighty was still chopping cotton for a living. I swore the same wouldn`t happen to me.”
Starting out as waitress, she was always looking over her shoulder for police detectives coming to drag her back home.
“I had a story all figured out in case they found me. I was going to tell them I got married and had the wedding annulled. If they wanted to know in what court all that took place, I would tell them to find out for themselves, because I was under no legal obligation to tell them. I died a million deaths before I reached 18. All my life I have been afraid, maybe that`s why I do so many crazy things, just to prove myself that I´m not scared.”
Fatherfigure Joe Epstein made her a figurehead for his bookie joint. Soon the resolute redhead made so much money, she had trouble to account for her incredible income. She`d always claim her good fortunes resulted from the horse track. Her cross my heart hope to die tongue in cheek reference promptly got her summoned to Senator Kefauver`s crime- investigating comittee.
“Winning bets does only account for $15.000. Where does the rest of your money come from?”
“Men give it to me.”
“Why should they give you such large sums of money?”
“I`d rather not say.”
“You`ve got to answer or face up to three years imprisonment for contempt of court.”
“Alright, then, if you must know, it`s because I am the best goddamn lay in the country!”
She was a two time divorcée before settling in California, where she threw lavish parties for the Hollywood Community. The road to the Bug lead via Joey Adonis and over George Raft, who got introduced to her by Pat DiCicco. Her stalksy legs lent the Flamingo Club its name. The most modern and ornate gambling house opened on Dec. 26th, 1946. Night after night it came out $20000 in the red. Local townsfolk boycotted the temple of doom. Bugsy swore he would bury them all before he got out. It never came to that. Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel got shot and killed in Virginia`s monumental mansion at 810 Linden Drive in Beverly Hills on Errol`s birthday, June 20th of 1947. When Virgina got the news in Paris, her statements somehow varied.
“Please get that straight. People are saying I was his mistress and such stuff. That`s nonsense. I never spent much time with him.”
“The death of my friend Benjamin Siegel has caused me immense chagrin and I am seeking solitude because of my suffering.”
“Ben was the only man I loved. I could kill myself.”
She indeed attempted suicide at least four times with sleeping pills but walked away unfazed every time. That is what being used to downing 15 sundowners before noon will do for you. When she met the Austrian world class skier Hans Hauser (instructor of Ernest Hemingway amongst others) at Sun Valley, she knew time had come to get away from Inc. all. Using marriage as an exit strategy they settled near Salzburg, where she penned her 600 page boudoir memoir. In 1966 she finally succeeded with another suicide attempt. Her husband hanged himself years later. Their son Peter, a Vietnam veteran, died in a crazy car crash in France. Rumors in Europe never seized that the long strongarm of organized crime had gotten to all of them at last.
Virgie for sure was no vigilante, but “let (s)he who is without sin cast the first egg…”