Eunice Pringle

Eunice Irene Pringle (March 5 1912-1996) was born in Garden Grove, California, USA, and became notoriously famous for accusing movie mogul Alexander Pantages, a Greek immigrant success story, of raping her on August 9, 1929 in his downtown Los Angeles office when she came to audition for him. The trial that followed in the fall of 1929 found Pantages guilty and he was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Pringle's aspirations for theatrical stardom lead her to team up with a castaway Russian prince by the name of Nicolas Dunaev (various spellings), aspiring screenwriter and producer, who acted as her agent and lover. It is alleged that the two lived together in a Hollywood motel.

At a time when theatrical opportunities opened the door to women entering the business world for the first time on a major scale, a source of tension in mainstream society which still preferred domesticated women to liberated ones, the rape trial of Alexander Pantages exposed fissures in American society in gender relations.

Hollywood myth alleges that Pringle was to be paid $10,000 dollars to enter Pantages's office and accuse him of rape so that Joseph P. Kennedy, the patriarch of the famous American family, would buy the Pantages theatre chain (Pantages adamantly refused to sell him the chain when Kennedy approached him). Later, the myth continues, when she was about to confess this set-up in 1933, Pringle died a mysterious death, with all the symptoms of cyanide poisoning.

What is known is that the trial brought notoriety to Pantages and sympathy to Pringle. Newspapers at the time, just winding up their turn towards tabloid exploitation, thanks to the arrival of tabloid newspapers in the U.S. in 1919, already convicted Pantages before the trial even started in September, 1929. Particularly virulent was the Los Angeles Examiner owned by famed press baron and anti-immigrant apostle William Randolph Hearst.

The conviction destroyed Pantages's business and he finally sold his chain to Kennedy's RKO and Warner Brothers studios.

Pringle's life would never be the same. In reality, she wasn't poisoned in 1933. Wanting nothing more to do with show business or the press, she simply disappeared from sight.

In 1935, Pringle married Robert White, the heir to a furniture business. After divorcing White, she married Richard Ellis Worthington, a psychologist, in 1947. They lived in Chicago for several years before moving to San Diego, Worthington's home town, in 1955. Pringle, who was known to friends as Toni, had one child, a daughter named Marcy Worthington.

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