‘Love Child’ Abandoned in Movie Theater as Parents Die in Suicide Pact

Nov. 8, 1933, Comics

Nov. 8, 1933, Missing Love Child

Nov. 8, 1933: Los Angeles history is so rich that all you need to strike gold is to poke a stick in the ground, and today is a perfect example.

We have the story of Jack Bodin Sr., 41, who was estranged from his wife, and Bodin’s girlfriend, Barbara Muller, either 21 or 22 depending on news reports. Bodin, who was variously identified as a salesman, advertising executive and “cafe man” and Muller had a daughter, Audrey Louise Muller Bodin,  on Aug. 1, 1932, but abandoned her in a downtown movie theater at 5th and Broadway on Oct. 3.

The couple apparently decided to commit suicide by booking passage on the steamer ship Yale, sailing from Los Angeles to San Diego and then jumping from the ship on its return to Los Angeles.

In The Theaters: “Footlight Parade” premieres at Warner Bros. Hollywood.

Then the story becomes complicated. Bodin’s body washed ashore near Newport Beach and an autopsy showed that he died of blows to the head rather than drowning. Muller’s body was never found.

And there was the matter of Muller’s will. Muller’s mother had left her a large sum of money – reported as $40,000 to $50,000 at the time – and shortly before the apparent suicide, Muller had written a will giving the money to Bodin’s teenage son.

Muller’s family contested the will and the matter was fought in court for several years. The last story I can find about the incident dates from 1936, when Audrey Louise was 4 and was being adopted.

Nov. 8, 1933, Footlight Parade

April 9, 1933, Suicide Pact

April 10, 1933, Suicide Pact

April 12, 1933, Suicide Pact

April 12, 1933, Suicide Pact

Sept. 2, 1933, Suicide Pact

Nov. 7, 1936, Suicide Pact

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1933, 1936, Art & Artists, Broadway, Comics, Crime and Courts, Downtown, Film, Hollywood, Suicide, Theaters. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to ‘Love Child’ Abandoned in Movie Theater as Parents Die in Suicide Pact

  1. Dewey Webb says:

    Interesting story.

    in some ways roughly parallels the plot of the Forties all-star musical VARIETY GIRL, supposedly suggested by true story, about a baby who was also abandoned in a movie theatre.


  2. cathsparks says:

    Mr. Harnisch, I have located “Little Audrey”. Her name changed, hence, the difficulty tracking her.She died in 1996, in Sonoma. I’m happy to send you all I’ve found. What a fascinating tale this is!


  3. Eve says:

    Well, now, technically (etiquette and copy-editing lesson coming, everyone duck), upon his death, Jack Bodin, Sr., was no longer Sr.; his son, Jack Bodin, Jr., becomes just Jack Bodin. The rule is when someone dies everyone jumps up a notch, unless you are royalty (Henry VIII) or really famous (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.).

    Which is why Baby gets annoyed when she sees middle-aged men calling themselves, say, Egbert Souse III. Really, unless your grandfather, Egbert Souse, Sr., is still living, you are not “III.”


  4. Mary Mallory says:

    How could the woman have gotten Bodin’s body from their cabin to the deck, because if it was a steamer, they were probably below deck? There would have been bruises all over his body from her pulling him upstairs, along the deck, etc., because she couldn’t have lifted him. Babies look so much alike, did Mrs. Porter bring a photo along to show that it was the same baby, and did she get a little of the inheritance? Interesting that the paper admits that the baby was Bodin’s and Muller’s, since they weren’t married.


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