Separate Ways

09 Apr

April 8, 1943

Evening Herald Express


Errol Flynn and Lili Damita went their separate ways today.

The actress received her final divorce decree, ending another episode in Flynn’s courtroom capers. Superior Judge William S. Baird entered the decree, which followed an interlocutory award to Miss Damita on April 1, 1942.


Ann Sheridan:

During filming of Edge of Darkness, throughout the fall of ’42 and into ’43, it was increasingly rumored and reported that Errol and Annie were romantically involved – rumors and reports that likely incensed Tiger ‘Lil.

Judge William S. Baird:

Judge William S. Baird spent three decades on the Superior Court, retiring Feb. 1, 1952. Some of the lighter moments got into print. Among his cases was one in which actress Gail Patrick (later “Perry Mason” executive producer Gail Patrick Jackson) was suing for divorce from Robert H. Cobb, owner of the Brown Derby restaurants. United Press reported on Nov. 14, 1940 that Patrick testified that Cobb’s disposition “humiliated me, embarrassed me, and made me nervous and ill.” UP said Baird interjected: “Well, you must have known his disposition.” She nodded in agreement and Baird asked: “Well, then, why did you marry him?” The actress responded: “We were both Irish.”

A 1942 wire service story said: “Superior Judge William S. Baird knows women as well as law. “A lawyer asked Charles K. Matthay yesterday if his actress-wife Virginia Hall felt she had been properly clothed. “No woman,” observed the judge, ‘feels she is properly clothed.’”

A 1943 report from United Press began: “Superior Court Judge William S. Baird is believed to be the only judge who ever awarded alimony to a horse.” He approved an agreement under which the husband made monthly payments for the upkeep of two horses.

Here is a still photo of a still used as evidence in one of Judge Baird’s many newsworthy cases. This is one of the first cases following a new law that made it a felony to have a still. The still was too large to present as evidence in court, so it was exhibited to Judge Baird outside the LA Hall of Justice on July 15, 1927.

— Gentleman Tim


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