The Bossman in The Bighouse

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Disappearance of Actress Jean Elizabeth Spangler. California 1949.

Originally aired on May 11, 2006
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Jean Elizabeth Spangler was born in Seattle, Washington, on September 2, 1923 and graduated from Franklin High School in Los Angeles in 1941. While working as a dancer with the Earl Carroll Theatre, Jean met and married Dexter Benner, a local manufacturer in 1942, and they had a daughter, Christine, who was born April 22, 1944. Two years later, in 1946, she had a bitter court battle with her ex-husband about getting custody of their young daughter. In 1948, ruling a daughter's place is with her mother, a judge awarded full custody to Jean. The brown haired, 27 year old divorced mother continued her acting career and soon received a bit part working on the motion picture, A Man with a Horn, with actor Kirk Douglas. At 5 p.m. on October 7, 1949, the 27 year old actress, kissed her daughter goodbye and told her sister-in-law that she was going to work on a movie set after she met with her ex-husband to discuss overdue child support payments. That was the last time anyone saw her.On October 9th, a Griffith Park reported finding Jean Spangler’s purse near the entrance to the park, apparently with most of it's original contents still intact and undisturbed. After a 60-man search of Griffith Park turned up no additional clues, investigators went to work reconstructing Jean’s last hours before her disappearance. Dexter Benner denied having seen Jean for weeks, a story backed up by Benner’s new wife. Further investigation revealed Jean Spangler was three months pregnant. An unfinished note in the purse addressed to a "Kirk" read "Can't wait any longer, Going to see Dr. Scott. It will work best this way while mother is away." The note ended with a comma as if it hadn't been finished. Police concluded that the “Kirk” referred to in the note was not actor Kirk Douglas since he had been vacationing in Palm Springs at the time of Jean’s disappearance. Police also learned none of the movie studios had scheduled any kind of a late night shoot. Click on the web links below, read the case files and if you have any information about the disappearance of Jean Elizabeth Spangler, contact your local police.

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