Susan Cabot

Last updated
Susan Cabot
SusanCabot.jpg
Susan Cabot, c. 1950
Born
Harriet Pearl Shapiro

(1927-07-09)July 9, 1927
DiedDecember 10, 1986(1986-12-10) (aged 59)
Cause of deathHomicide
Resting place Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery
OccupationActress
Years active1947–1970
Spouse(s)
Martin Sacker
(m. 1944;div. 1951)

Michael Roman
(m. 1968;div. 1983)
Children1

Susan Cabot (born Harriet Pearl Shapiro; July 9, 1927 – December 10, 1986) was an American film, stage, and television actress. She rose to prominence for her roles in a variety of Western films, including Tomahawk (1951), The Duel at Silver Creek (1952), and Gunsmoke (1953).

Contents

After severing her contract with Universal Pictures in the mid-1950s, Cabot returned to performing in theater in New York. She subsequently returned to Hollywood in the later part of the decade, and appeared in a series of films by director Roger Corman, such as Sorority Girl (1957), War of the Satellites , and Machine-Gun Kelly (both 1958). She made her final film appearance in Corman's horror feature, The Wasp Woman (1959).

Cabot spent the following two decades largely in seclusion, though she did appear in off-Broadway theatre in the early 1960s, and made a 1970 television appearance on the series Bracken's World . By the 1980s, Cabot was suffering from severe mental illness, including depression, suicidal thoughts, and irrational phobias.

On December 10, 1986, Cabot's only child, 22-year-old Timothy Roman, bludgeoned her to death in their Los Angeles home with a weightlifting bar after Cabot purportedly awoke in a panicked state and attacked him. Roman, who had dwarfism and suffered pituitary gland problems, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, and was sentenced to three years' probation for his matricide.

Biography

1927–1946: Early life

Cabot was born Harriet Pearl Shapiro on July 9, 1927, to a Jewish family in Boston, Massachusetts. [1] She led an early life filled with turmoil; after her father abandoned their family, Cabot's mother Elizabeth was institutionalized, leaving Cabot orphaned. [1] She was subsequently raised in eight different foster homes, [2] and stated that she spent much of her childhood in the Bronx. [1] It was posthumously revealed that, while in foster care, Cabot suffered emotional and sexual abuse, which triggered intense post-traumatic stress disorder. [1]

Cabot attended high school in Manhattan, [2] and found employment as an illustrator of children's books. [2] She supplemented her income by working as a singer, performing at the Village Barn club in Manhattan. [2] She married her first husband, the artist Martin Sacker, on July 30, 1944, in Washington, DC, while still a minor. [3] Sacker was a childhood friend, and the marriage presented Cabot with an opportunity to leave foster care. [3]

1947–1959: Acting career

Cabot made her film debut in Twentieth Century Fox's film noir Kiss of Death (1947), which was filmed in New York, playing a bit part as a restaurant patron. [2] She was subsequently spotted performing at the Village Barn by a talent scout for Columbia Pictures, who cast her in On the Isle of Samoa (1950). [2] This role led to further Hollywood roles, with Cabot signing a contract with Universal Pictures. [2] Her first film with the studio was the 1951 Western Tomahawk . [2] The same year, Cabot divorced her husband, Sacker, and was subsequently romantically linked with King Hussein of Jordan for several years. [4]

Based on her performances in the On the Isle of Samoa and Tomahawk, Cabot appeared as a lead in a series of roles in similar Western and Arabian-themed films, such as The Battle at Apache Pass and The Duel at Silver Creek , and Son of Ali Baba (all 1952). [2] In 1953, she starred in a further two Westerns: Gunsmoke and Ride Clear of Diablo . [5]

Dissatisfied with her film offers, Cabot asked to be released from her contract in 1954. [2] She returned to New York, and resumed her stage career with a role in a Leonard Kantor-directed, Washington DC-based production of Harold Robbins' A Stone for Danny Fisher . [2] Cabot studied acting with Sanford Meisner in New York, [6] and continued to pursue a stage career, appearing in a short-lived run of the musical Shangri-La in Boston in 1959. [7]

Cabot returned to Los Angeles and resumed a film career in the latter part of the 1950s, appearing in a series of films for Roger Corman: Carnival Rock , Sorority Girl , The Viking Women and the Sea Serpent (all 1957), War of the Satellites , and Machine-Gun Kelly (both 1958). [2] The same year, she had a lead role in the Western Fort Massacre , opposite Joel McCrea. [2] Cabot's final film role was in Corman's horror film The Wasp Woman (1959). [2] Speaking on her work with Corman, Cabot recalled it as "Totally mad. It was like a European movie," though she stated that Corman was "some kind of maverick... he's very bright and fast-thinking." [5]

1960–1986: Seclusion and later life

Cabot bore her only child, a son, in 1964. [8] In 1968, she married her second husband Michael Roman with whom she raised her son, Timothy Scott Roman, before again divorcing in 1983. [9]

In the last years of her life, Cabot suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts, and was prey to a wide range of irrational, powerful fears. She was under a licensed psychologist's care, but the psychologist found her so troubled and ill that the sessions became "emotionally draining." [10] Cabot became increasingly unable to care for herself; the interior of her home was littered with years of trash, and spoiled food lay everywhere. [10] In late 1986, Cabot's mental health deteriorated significantly. [10] Despite the squalor of the home's interior, Cabot still maintained an "adequate" income despite having retired from acting, largely due to real estate investments and her fascination with vintage cars, which she regularly acquired, restored, and resold. [11]

Death

On December 10, 1986, Cabot's 22-year-old son, Timothy Scott Roman, beat her to death in her home in the Encino neighborhood of Los Angeles, with a weightlifting bar. [9] He was charged with second-degree murder. [12]

At trial, Roman testified that his mother had awakened him while screaming, not recognizing him, and calling for her mother, Elizabeth. When he attempted to call emergency services, she attacked him with a barbell bar and a scalpel. Roman seized the bar from her and beat her repeatedly on the head. [10]

He then hid the bar and scalpel, and told police that a man in a ninja mask had killed his mother (believing no one would believe his story about her mental illness). Roman's defense attorneys claimed their client's aggressive reaction to his mother's attack was due to the drugs he took to counteract his dwarfism and pituitary gland problems [10] as part of treatments for his Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. [13]

At the close of the trial, prosecutors changed the charge to involuntary manslaughter, [12] as no evidence had been presented at trial to support premeditation (which was required for a murder conviction). Superior Court Judge Darlene E. Schempp deliberated 10 minutes, and then convicted Roman of involuntary manslaughter. Roman, who had already spent 2+12 years in jail, [10] was sentenced to three years' probation on November 28, 1989. [12]

Filmography

Film

YearTitleRoleNotesRef.
1947 Kiss of Death Restaurant extraUncredited [2]
1950 On the Isle of Samoa Moana [2]
1951 The Enforcer Nina LombardoUncredited
Alternative title: Murder, Inc.
1951 Tomahawk MonahseetahAlternative title: Battle of Powder River
1951 The Prince Who Was a Thief GirlUncredited
1951 Flame of Araby ClioAlternative title: Flame of the Desert
1952 The Battle at Apache Pass Nona [2]
1952 The Duel at Silver Creek Jane "Dusty" FargoAlternative title: Claim Jumpers [2]
1952 Son of Ali Baba Tala [2]
1953 Gunsmoke Rita SaxonAlternative titles: A Man's Country; Roughshod [2]
1954 Ride Clear of Diablo Laurie KenyonAlternative title: The Breckenridge Story [2]
1957 Carnival Rock Natalie Cook [14]
1957 Sorority Girl Sabra TannerAlternate titles: The Bad One; Sorority House [15]
1957 The Viking Women and the Sea Serpent EngerAlternative titles: Undersea Monster; Viking Women [15]
1958 War of the Satellites Sybil Carrington [16]
1958 Machine Gun Kelly Florence "Flo" Becker [17]
1958 Fort Massacre Piute Girl
1959 Surrender - Hell! Delia GuerreroAlternative titles: Blackburn's Guerrillas; Blackburn's Headhunters
1959 The Wasp Woman Janice StarlinAlternative titles: The Bee Girl; Insect Woman [16]

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
1958–1959 Have Gun - Will Travel Angela
Becky Carver
2 episodes
1970 Bracken's World HenriettaEpisode: "One, Two, Three... Cry"

Stage credits

YearTitleRoleNotesRef.
1954 A Stone for Danny Fisher National Theatre, Washington, D.C. [6]
1955 Much Ado About Nothing Brattle Theatre [6]
1955 The Two Gentlemen of Verona Neighborhood Playhouse [6]
1956 Shangri-La Lo-Tsen Shubert Theatre, Boston [18]
1956The Champagne ComplexMyrtle Beach Playhouse, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina [19]
1956Knickerbocker HolidayLong Beach Playhouse, Long Island; Triple Cities Theatre, Binghamton [20]
[21]
1962Intimate RelationsMadeleine Mermaid Theatre [22]

Related Research Articles

Natalie Wood American actress

Natalie Wood was an American actress who began her career in film as a child actor and successfully transitioned to young adult roles. She was the recipient of four Golden Globes, and three Academy Award nominations.

Lana Clarkson Actress and fashion model from the United States

Lana Jean Clarkson was an American actress and fashion model. During the 1980s, she rose to prominence in several sword-and-sorcery films. In 2003, she was shot and killed inside the home of record producer Phil Spector, who was charged with second-degree murder and convicted in 2009.

Susan Hayward American actress

Susan Hayward was an American actress and model. She was best known for her film portrayals of women that were based on true stories.

<i>I Want to Live!</i> 1958 film noir by Robert Wise

I Want to Live! is a 1958 American biographical film noir directed by Robert Wise, and starring Susan Hayward, Simon Oakland, Virginia Vincent, and Theodore Bikel. It follows the life of Barbara Graham, a prostitute and habitual criminal who is convicted of murder and faces capital punishment. The screenplay, written by Nelson Gidding and Don Mankiewicz, was adapted from personal letters written by Graham, in addition to newspaper articles written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ed Montgomery. The film presents a highly fictionalized version of the case, indicating the possibility of innocence concerning Graham.

Jill St. John American actress

Jill St. John is an American actress. She is best known for playing Tiffany Case, first American Bond girl of the 007 franchise, in Diamonds Are Forever. Additional performances in film include The Lost World, Tender Is the Night, Come Blow Your Horn, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination, Who's Minding the Store?, The Oscar, Tony Rome, Sitting Target and The Concrete Jungle.

Barbara Hershey American actress

Barbara Hershey is an American actress. In a career spanning more than 50 years, she has played a variety of roles on television and in cinema in several genres, including westerns and comedies. She began acting at age 17 in 1965 but did not achieve widespread critical acclaim until the 1980s. By that time, the Chicago Tribune referred to her as "one of America's finest actresses".

Lindsay Wagner American actress

Lindsay Jean Wagner is an American film and television actress, model, author, singer, acting coach, and former adjunct professor. Wagner is best known for her leading role in the American science-fiction television series The Bionic Woman (1976–1978), in which she portrayed action character Jaime Sommers. She first played this role on the hit series The Six Million Dollar Man. The character became a popular-culture icon of the 1970s. For this role, Wagner won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Dramatic Role in 1977. Wagner began acting professionally in 1971 and has maintained a lengthy acting career in a variety of film and television productions to the present day.

Matricide The act of killing ones mother

Matricide is the act of killing one's mother.

Susan Kohner American former actress

Susanna "Susan" Kohner is an American former actress who worked in film and television. She is best known for her role as Sarah Jane in Imitation of Life (1959), for which she was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe award. She played a light-skinned black woman who "passed" for white as a child and young adult.

Ruth Roman American actress

Ruth Roman was an American actress of film, stage, and television.

Susan Strasberg American actress and author

Susan Elizabeth Strasberg was an American stage, film, and television actress. Imagined to be the next Hepburn-type ingenue, she was nominated for a Tony Award at age 18, playing the title role in The Diary of Anne Frank. She appeared on the covers of LIFE and Newsweek in 1955. A close friend of Marilyn Monroe and Richard Burton, she wrote two best-selling tell-all books. Her career devolved into slasher and horror films, followed by TV roles, by the 1980s.

Helen Walker American actress

Helen Walker was an American actress.

Anne Francis American actress

Anne Francis was an American actress known for her role in the science fiction film Forbidden Planet (1956) and for starring in the television series Honey West (1965–1966), which was the first TV series with a female detective character's name in the title. She won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Emmy Award for her role in the series.

Natasha Gregson Wagner American actress

Natasha Gregson Wagner is an American actress. She is the daughter of film producer Richard Gregson and actress Natalie Wood. She has appeared in films including Lost Highway (1997), Two Girls and a Guy (1997), First Love, Last Rites (1997), Urban Legend (1998), Another Day in Paradise (1998) and High Fidelity (2000).

Susan Anspach American actress

Susan Florence Anspach was an American stage, film and television actress, who was best known for her roles in films during the 1970s and 1980s such as Five Easy Pieces (1970), Play It Again, Sam (1972), Blume in Love (1973), Montenegro (1981), Blue Monkey (1987), and Blood Red (1989).

<i>Sorority Girl</i> 1957 film by Roger Corman

Sorority Girl is a 1957 film noir exploitation film directed by Roger Corman. It stars Susan Cabot as Sabra, a sociopath who plays a very disruptive role in a sorority, with Barboura Morris as Rita, and Dick Miller and June Kenney. It was released by American International Pictures as a double feature with Motorcycle Gang.

June Kenney American actress (born 1933)

June Claire Sebastian is an American actress known for her work in B movies in the late 1950s.

<i>Machine-Gun Kelly</i> (film) 1958 film by Roger Corman

Machine-Gun Kelly is a 1958 film noir directed by Roger Corman, chronicling the criminal activities of the real-life George "Machine Gun" Kelly. The film was considered low budget, but received good critical reviews. It was the first lead role for actor Charles Bronson. Corman called it "a major turning point in my career" because it was from this film he began to get serious critical attention.

Danny Lockin American actor and dancer

Daniel Joseph Lockin was an American actor and dancer who appeared on stage, television, and film. He was best known for his portrayal of the character Barnaby Tucker in the 1969 film Hello, Dolly!.

<i>The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent</i> 1957 film by Roger Corman

The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent is a 1958 film directed by Roger Corman. It starred Abby Dalton, Susan Cabot and June Kenney.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Wagner 2020, p. 24.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Weaver 2000, p. 66.
  3. 1 2 Wagner 2020, p. 25.
  4. Barker, Mayerene (April 13, 1989). "Defendant May Be Son of Hussein, Lawyer Says : Accused of Murdering Actress Mother in '86". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  5. 1 2 Weaver 2000, pp. 66–67.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Wagner 2020, p. 26.
  7. Wagner 2020, pp. 26–27.
  8. Doherty, Rosa (January 12, 2018). "CIA files reveal Jordan's King Hussein fathered a child with Jewish Hollywood actress". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  9. 1 2 Brettell, Andrew; King, Noel; Kennedy, Damien; Imwold, Denise; Leonard, Warren Hsu; von Rohr, Heather (2005). Cut!: Hollywood Murders, Accidents, and Other Tragedies. Barrons Educational Series. p. 220. ISBN   0-7641-5858-9.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Lerner, Patricia Klein (October 11, 1989). "Son Convicted of Killing Actress Mother". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  11. Kunder, Jan (June 7, 1986). "Bizarre Lives Bared of Star, Son Accused of Her Murder". Los Angeles Times . Los Angeles, California. Archived from the original on February 25, 2020.
  12. 1 2 3 Harris, Michael D. (November 29, 1989). "Actress Susan Cabot's son gets probation in her death". United Press International. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  13. "Son of Slain Actress Susan Cabot-Roman May Use Insanity Defense at Trial". AP News . February 25, 1987. Archived from the original on February 25, 1987.
  14. Weaver 2000, p. 73.
  15. 1 2 Weaver 2000, p. 67.
  16. 1 2 Weaver 2000, p. 69.
  17. Weaver 2000, p. 70.
  18. "Lew Ayres in "Shangri-La"; New Musical At Shubert Saturday". The Boston Globe . Boston, Massachusetts. April 29, 1956. p. 42-A via Newspapers.com.
  19. "Big Theater Week Beckons Tourists". The Charlotte Observer . Charlotte, North Carolina. July 3, 1956. p. 26 via Newspapers.com.
  20. "Long Beach Playhouse". New York Daily News . New York City, New York. August 5, 1956. p. 386 via Newspapers.com.
  21. "'Knickerbocker Holiday' Ends Season Here". Press & Sun Bulletin . Binghamton, New York. August 27, 1956. p. 3 via Newspapers.com.
  22. "Susan Cabot". Internet Off-Broadway Database. Retrieved February 25, 2020.

Sources