Jean Spangler

Jean was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1923. She graduated from Franklin High School in Los Angeles in 1941. Soon, Jean was working as a model for a local clothing firm. Later, she was a dancer with the Earl Carroll Theatre. Jean got married to Dexter Benner, and they had a daughter, Christine, in 1944. Two years later, in 1946, she had a bitter court battle with her ex-husband regarding the custody of their young daughter. In 1948, ruling a daughter’s place is with her mother, a judge awarded full custody to Jean. Sultry and statuesque, Jean, a divorced mother and nightclub dancer, struggled to make it as an actress; she was a bit player and uncredited extra in movies and early television. In 1949, she met Kirk Douglas on the set of Young Man with a Horn (1950), which was released February 9, 1950. On October 7, 1949, when she was 3 months pregnant, she disappeared. A note was found in her purse that read: “Kirk, Can’t wait any longer. Going to see Dr. Scott. It will work best this way while mother is away.” All the police found was her purse and this cryptic note — Jean had vanished without a trace. Her disappearance is still an unsolved mystery.

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