On the menu: domestic strife



Sept. 13, 1957

Los Angeles

Information on Gene Leonard Cornforth is a bit sketchy, but he certainly had interesting taste in women.

Take the first Mrs. Cornforth, Maureen. After she and Gene divorced,
her boss at Hughes Aircraft, David L. Fohl, got her drunk at a
Christmas party, kidnapped her and forced her to marry him in
Ensenada.  When they got home, Fohl held her prisoner for 10 days
before she could escape, according to testimony at her 1955 divorce

But that was nothing compared to the second Mrs. Cornforth, Dona.

Dona and Gene were having a slight disagreement at their restaurant,
the Golden Rooster, 2139 Westwood Blvd. Dona ended the fight by chasing
Gene in the family car and finally ran him over in a vacant lot next to
the restaurant.

Attendants from a nearby gas station jacked up the car and Gene was
taken to Santa Monica Hospital in serious condition. Dona was charged
with assault with a deadly weapon.

Unfortunately, The Times never followed up on the case so we don’t know
the ultimate disposition. Gene survived his injuries and according to
California death records, died in 1989 at the age of 63.

This is what makes reading the Mirror so interesting. Notice that the headline writer has zeroed in on the fact that she is a blond. (Trust me, it’s in the first paragraph of the story, otherwise known as the "lede").  Apparently, the reporter assumed her hair color somehow explained why she ran over her husband with a car, i.e. "You know blonds. Put them behind the wheel of a car and anything can happen."

Now look at her picture. I can’t imagine how anyone would consider her a blond. Granted, the reproduction is hardly the best. But I mean–really! A blond?

And what did she tell the police? "Oops!" (More or less). "This is all a mistake. I just don’t know how to drive very well." As Nathan Marsak would say: "OK, sister."

Dona and Maureen Cornforth (she went back to her previous married name
after divorcing Fohl) vanished without a trace. The Golden Rooster was
still in operation in 1977, as shown below, and was a great place to watch Monday Night
Football, according to The Times.



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About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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