Posts Tagged ‘University of Southern California’

The Doty Twins Tragedy

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

 HOLLYWOOD TRAGEDIES

Weston and Winston Doty; the lost twins from “Peter Pan”

 

  

 

 

By Allan R. Ellenberger

 

For nineteen years, Winston and Weston Doty, twin brothers, lived together, went together and developed the close comradeship that comes only to boys of their kind until the Montrose flood swept down on them during a New Year’s Eve party and ended their lives.

 

Weston and Winston, the twin sons of Clarence “Jack” Doty – radio actor and one time leading man for Edna Park – and Olive Nance Naylor, were born on February 18, 1914 in Malta, Ohio. Before the twins were five years old, their parents separated and Olive moved the family to Los Angeles where she gained employment at the Palmer Photo Play Corporation. It was here that she formed connections to get the twins into films. Weston was originally named Wilson at birth; however once he began appearing in films with his brother, his name was changed.

 

 

Winston and Weston Doty in “One Terrible Day” (1922)

 

The Doty twins film credits included a few Our Gang shorts and as the twin Lost Boys in the 1924 version of Peter Pan starring Betty Bronson. The pair were talented radio performers and, at the age of 15, they graduated from Venice High School. In 1931-32 they attended the architectural school of the University of Southern California where they gained more fame as cheer leaders for the Trojans’ football team. Unfortunately after two years they had to drop out to earn enough money to complete their schooling.

 

On Sunday evening, December 31, 1933, the boys left their home at 1026 Amoroso Place, Venice to attend a New Year’s party given by Henry Hesse at 2631 Manhattan Avenue in Montrose. Weston escorted Mary Janet Cox to the party and Winston took Gladys Fisher. A steady rain had been falling in Los Angeles since early Saturday morning. The chief topic that evening – besides the rain – was the next day’s Rose Bowl game between Stanford and Columbia Universities.

 

At midnight, the twins called their mother and wished her a happy new year.  It was the last time she would hear their voices. A short time later, Henry Hesse heard water rushing around the house. He stepped to a rear door, just in time to see the porch swept away. Rushing inside he grabbed his wife, ran for another exit and shouted: “Everybody get out!”

 

As the party guests reached the outside, they stepped off into several feet of swirling water as the walls of the home crumbled. Hesse said he held to his wife and battled the constantly rising waters to the street, then grabbed a floating tree trunk, placed his wife astride it and started to swim. Three blocks from their demolished home the log rammed into a concrete wall, where the two held on safely until the waters subsided.

 

 

Above is Manhattan Avenue, Montrose after the New Years flood in 1934 where the Hesse house once stood and where the Doty twins lost their lives (lapl)

 

 

On New Year’s Day, searchers found Winston and Weston’s bodies lying close together in the debris in the Verdugo Wash. Mary escaped the flood but Gladys was also drowned. Once the flood waters had subsided, a total of 35 people had lost their lives that night.

 

 

 

Funeral services for 19 year-old Winston and Weston Doty were conducted at the Union Congregational Church in Venice followed by cremation at Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Monica, where they are interred. The following year, their father Jack died alone from a heart attack in a Chicago hotel.

 

 

 

 

 

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Universal Reopens Courthouse Square

Friday, June 19th, 2009

STUDIOS

Universal Studios backlot reopens

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Universal back lot

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The University of Southern California marching band, left, announces the rebuilt Courthouse Square film location at Universal Studios reopening for tours in Los Angeles on Thursday, June 18, 2009. The Courthouse Square, now fully restored, after the four-acre June 2008 fire in the historic backlot. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

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