Actresses from a hundred years ago were not safe from scandal any more than the actresses of today. One of the most famous scandals was that of the murder Stanford White, which revolved around actress Evelyn Nesbit.
On June 25, 1906 Evelyn Nesbit and her husband, Harry Kendall Thaw, attended a performance of Mam’zelle Champagne in New York, where Thaw approached the table of Stanford White and shot him three times in the face, killing him.
Stanford White, an architect, was known to have seduced Nesbit when she was 16. Thaw, an extremely possessive husband and a quite unbalanced person, killed White in an act of jealousy.
Thaw was tried twice. The first trial was deadlocked and in the second trial Nesbit testified. Thaw was confined to a mental asylum and Thaw and Nesbit divorced in 1915.
Nesbit, a successful actress, enjoyed moderate success after the second trial. In 1916 she married her dancing partner Jack Clifford, who left her two years later. Her life was plagued by suicide attempts, alcoholism and an addiction to morphine, all of which she overcame. Later in life she taught cereamics and was a technical advisor on the film The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing, which is a film that included all the major players from the murder – and the events before: Nesbit, Thaw and Stanford.
Nesbit died in 1967 at the age of 82.
American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White, the Birth of the “It” Girl and the Crime of the Century By Paula Uruburu