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 A Possible Project: Leslie Brooks

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Kittenwithawhip
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PostSubject: A Possible Project: Leslie Brooks   Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:09 pm

Just to dip my toe in the water, how many here know Leslie Brooks, the actress from the 40's? Show of hands.
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Kittenwithawhip
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PostSubject: Re: A Possible Project: Leslie Brooks   Thu Aug 28, 2008 11:07 am

Okay THAT was underwhelming. Well anyway, bear with me.

If you've seen Columbia Movies from the 40s, especially movies with Rita Hayworth in them, you've seen Leslie Brooks. According to IMDB Leslie retired from acting after her second marriage in the fifties, but during one of my browsings through the Los Angeles Times Archive, I've found that that's not the case.

In 1948 she had her three year old daughter kidnapped by her husband. This gem of a guy had gambled away Leslie's earnings, torpedoes her Columbia contract by insisting she not renew unless they gave him a contract, too, then tried to get her to turn her house into a gambling den so he could bilk her famous friends. With such a sterling track record, the divorce judgement in her favor was a sure thing, as was the custory of their daughter Vicky.

A few days later when Leslie went to the mother in law's house to pick up the girl, she was gone, as was the husband. Leslie sued the mother in law, saying she was obviously in on it and knew where Vicky was, but the case was dismissed.

I went through the archives to see if she was ever found, but there wasn't really anything else. So I googled Leslie Brooks to see if any web pages or fansites knew. Nothing.

Then I ran accross this heartbreaking ad from a geneaology site:

Seeking information concerning Leslie Victoria Shay, Born
November 11, 1945, Los Angeles County California.
Mother Lorraine Gettman a.k.a. actress Leslie Brooks.
Father Donald Anthony Shay a.k.a Anthony Shay, Tony Shay

Father served wuth USMC in South Pacific during WWII,
believed to have been medically discharged late 1944 or
early 1945.

Father kidnapped daughter Leslie Victoria Shay after court
awarded custody to mother in 1949.

Subject to agreement of the parties, information will be used
to reunite 82 year old mother with her now 58 year old daughter.



Oh my god, can you imagine? This was Leslie's first child, and all the things that should have come with it - birthday parties, tying shoes, slumber parties, first boyfriends, weddings, grandchildren - all of that was stolen from her. The husband is probably dead by now, but he must have lied to his daughter about her mother in one way or another or she would have contacted her by now.

Leslie is still alive and I can't help but feel that she's hanging on for the end of the story. I would too.

Listen, folks, I think this is where we might be able to help. With all our resources, we might be able to make some headway. If the husband or mother in law is dead now, someone must have paid for the grave. If they collected social security or military benefits, or paid taxes, it's on record somewhere.

Original clippings mention that the husband may have gone to New York with the child. I've found some similar names in the Maryland area through the SSDI. I'd like to follow up. If anyone else is interested in playing detective too, let me know. I'll need some people to go to places I can't.

There's a possibility that this may not go anywhere. We could all come up empty. Or not. I'd like to give it a try.
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Mina
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PostSubject: Re: A Possible Project: Leslie Brooks   Fri Aug 29, 2008 10:54 am

What a heartbreaking story. My inner Nancy Drew wants to help crack the case!
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Lesleyann66
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PostSubject: Re: A Possible Project: Leslie Brooks   Sun Aug 31, 2008 9:06 pm

I wonder who posted the information? Is mother looking for daughter or is daughter looking for mother? Or is it an outside interest?
If you have friends in the movie business the Screen Actors Guild may have information. If she still pays hers dues to keep the insurance, that might be a starting place.
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Lesleyann66
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PostSubject: Re: A Possible Project: Leslie Brooks   Sun Aug 31, 2008 9:12 pm

I found a website www.skylighters.org/lesliebrooks-this page has some beautiful pics of her. If found a site that listed her birthplace as Lincoln, NE.
Maybe she moved back home?
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Kittenwithawhip
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PostSubject: Re: A Possible Project: Leslie Brooks   Sun Aug 31, 2008 10:47 pm

No, no, no, I'm not looking for Leslie, I'm looking for her daughter. Leslie's in Northern California. I think the fellow who posted is her nephew.
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Miss Roulette
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PostSubject: Re: A Possible Project: Leslie Brooks   Mon Sep 01, 2008 5:06 am

Well I don't think I'll be able to help (unless, of course, she ended up over here!), but it sounds like a very interesting investigation. Let us know if you find any more clues.

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Lesleyann66
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PostSubject: Re: A Possible Project: Leslie Brooks   Tue Sep 02, 2008 2:32 pm

I wonder if her father possibly changed their names after the kidnapping?
Many people in custody cases have had that happen.
Sorry I misunderstood who it was you were looking for!
But if I run across anything, I will post here!
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