Daily News from New York, New York on August 11, 1940 · 120
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Daily News from New York, New York · 120

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New York, New York
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 11, 1940
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120
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FdliCBCIli nDaDstt sib. TTT WMe By RUTH REYNOLDS. TITHEN a first wife recaptures the man she divorced 17 years before, what happens to his still-loving second wife? She loses the support to which she has become accustomed, has to look for a job, loses 35 pounds worrying- about it, and mulls over the idea of suing her predecessor-successor for alienation of affections. But she can't do that for two reasons (1) because the State of New York has outlawed such suits and (2) because her husband feels she is being "a good sport about it all." Such is the predicament is the predicament 01 Gladys Lanphere Benjamin, the j attractive loser in the Park Benja- min marital huddle. Briefly, the socially prominent ; Park wed Katherine Doremus in ! 1909. Katherine, mother of his j two children, divorced him in 1923. ; Three months later Park, one of i the disinherited children of a wide- ly known patent lawyer, married ! Gladys. For 16 years they lived I Ji:;ppiiy albeit irugaiiy on a chicken ranch in Arcadia, Cal., and in Hollywood. Last October he returned East to visit his two grown children. He encountered his first wife, by that time the immensely wealthy widow of Herbert I. Foster. They fell in love all over again. He prevai'ed upon Gladys to go to Reno, "be a jrood sport," and get a divorce. She Sot it last month. Now Katherine and Park are enjoying a second honeymoon. And Gladys? She's crying her eyes out in her New Yoik apartment when she isn't t rain phi g about to casting offices looking fur work as a dramatic octrees. stay longer," the daughter urged. Park talked it over with Gladys. He hadn't seen either Betty or his son, Park Jr., since he was divorced by their mother in 192 5, when they were 7 and 6 years old, respectively. And here was Betty married, with a baby of her own. Maybe it would be a good ldea- THERE is much more to the story than that in spite of Gladys unwillingness to "say anything that might even remotely suggest bitterness on my part. I am not bitter. Neither do I harbor a scintilla of vindietiveness." However, one of her intimates, who cares less than Park about the discarded wife '"being a good sport," declares that "there is no reason for Gladys to remain in the dark and permit the wrong impression as to just why she and Park separated. She worshipped him still does. And for the last 10 years, until certain made themselves felt upon "Sure, go ahead," Gladys agreed. ! Park brought a round-trip plane ' ticket, indicating that he had every t intention of returning, j But, as he tells the story: j "The night I got here I went to : dinner at Betty's, and there was : her mother. It seemed perfectly , natural to see her there and we ; got along fine. I decided not to 1 go right home to California. "We jtmt kept on feeing each i other, and after a while we both I realized we still cared for each other. There were a lot of mis-undemtandings that had to be '-, ironed out. They could have been 1 threshed out years ago if we'd only : gotten together to do it. But we were younger then and stub-bomer." The first intimation that Gladys hail of Park's change of heart was i a letter in which he said that he i never intended to return to Cali-; fornia and added, a little regret-j fully, that never again did he expect to sit on the hill where they : had spent so many happy hours i overlooking their chicken ranch. ! And how did Gladys feel when i she received the letter? ! "I was greatly shocked," she said i softly. Then, after thinking about j it for a few minutes, she ex-! claimed: i "But why should I be silent : .1 ! I1 T '.. .1 .. V, ;T,l,,.,nr.j Liiruogn an una . x vc nunc miui- mMuences , . . . . . it- - v H;?; ' ! ic ,n ..." . . ,v ; tfl: - - 1 Ur: I i h 1 V f I V ' I - '' - .r. :: i' . 1 JX, - - . V " j. . - y I " I ' V -- f r I": v V 7 f. r. yi : : I I ; H I''J : ' ( - I - I S t- i A , r : fcene, they were never separated.'1 Daughter Persuades Him to Come East. of. I was married to Park tor 16 happy years and I loved him. Then one day I woke to find out that hs had been snatched away from me." It is Gladys' friend who tells The "certain influences," she in- j ? hat happened next Gladys subsists, were Mrs. Foster and her I f ered a nervous breakdown lost 3a ,ikf Mr Pfr Rrarllpv I Pounds. When she recovered she I'larkp. the former Bettv Ben- i learned, to her horror, that she had jam in. The bolt from the blue hit Gladys last Summer when Mrs. Foster phoned Park in Hollywood from her Cedarhurst, Long Island, mansion. They talked for an hour. She phoned the next night and the next. Then, in October, 1939, Betty called. She urged her father to tome to visit her and her husband in Greenwich, Conn., and see their baby. "Come for five days if you can't money to get scarcely enough along on. IN' spite of the fact that Park was one of the five children of a wealthy man, there was never much money in Park's pockets and, consequently, very little in Gladys'. When Park Benjamin Sr. died in 1922 he cut off his children with $1 each, principally because they had aided and abetted the marriage of their sister Dorothy to Enrico Ca fe' : v Park Benjamin Mtb. Katherine Benjamin Mrm. Glady Benjamin ruso, famous tenor. He left his $355,000 estate to his widow, now dead, and his adopted daughter, a 38-year-old Italian immigrant servant, who later married his lawyer, Arthur Fullman. After a will suit was threatened, each of the Benjamin children got a small sum in an out-of-court settlement. Most of Park's windfall was collected by his creditors. For Gladys, love was more important than money. She'd had enough but never a great deal of money herself. She had been bora in Wichita, Kas. When her parents went to the State of Washington to live on a ranch near Seattle, Gladys was placed in a Bible School in Chicago. Her voice was trained. She sang in Chicago churches and then came East in 1921 to study voice with a teacher at Carnegie Hall. It was in 1922, when she was Love Wins and Loses Socialite Park Benjamin, during visit with daughter, mrt wife Katherine he had divorced 17 year before and fell in love with her asrain. Then he persuaded his second wife, Gladys, to "be a good sport" and grant him a divorce. 'J- 1 r-.s-x. Gof Hn Back Benjamin decided not to go back West after visit at home of daughter. L. to r. : Betty Benjamin Clarke, her husband, Peter B. Clarke, and her mother attending a tea given by one of her voice teacher's pupils, that she met .Park. He was tall, and exceedingly attractive. Later, when she went to Paris to continue her studies. Park besieged her with love letters. His first divorce and her marriage followed. - They tried living in New York, hut in May, 1924, Katherine had Park thrown into jail for unpaid alimony. He spent 10 days there before he and his former wife reached an agreement on how he might pay up the $3,075 he stood in arrears. was Gladys who proved his mainstay daring this trouble. She took special foods avd his pet pillow to jaiL She el-en pawned her jewels to buy his freedom. Then they went West. Gladys had theatrical ambitions. She worked in the movies eight years under the name Gladys Gale. Then she gave that up to go into the chicken raising business with Park. But the chicken business fell off. They decided to return to Hollywood so that she could resume her movie work. THEN came the phone calls Park's trip East the letter the nervous breakdown and the realization that there was very little money left for her support. There was the nebulous promise of a five-year movie contract. That was of no comfort to Gladys at that moment. Money began to arrive in dribs and drabs of $5 and $10 from a New York address. But Gladys heard from friends that Park was in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with the widowed Mrs. Foster. Then she saw it all! Now she knew why Parle had stayed in the East. Somehoiv she had never considered that it was . Katherine u-ho had changed his mind about iisbig that return plane ticket! Nor was it any comfort to Gladys to reflect that Katherine was many years older and far less attractive than she. Finally Gladys scraped enough money together to travtl East. "Last March 10 1 arrived secretly in New York .City to find out for herself what had caused such an amazing change in my husband's attitude toward nie." This resulted in a luncheon in Mrs. Foster's $150,000 mansion at Cedarhurst for Park,- Mrs. Foster and Gladys. There was little Gladys could do but behave like a lady. "Gladys was a grand person about the whole thing," Park says. Luncheon Results In Visit to Lawyer. The luncheon, fraught with cuinic and tragic situations, resulted in a conference in the office of Victor Lehman, Glady'a lawyer. At first, Park wanted Gladys to be satisfied with $50 a month for an unspecified length of time. Sh was almost persuaded to take it Eventually, however, a cash settlement was made. How much? "Way under $250,0(10." says her friend. Gladys received frequent leiters from Park, and up to the time of her departure for Ketin on May 30, the salutation upon them was always "Beauty Dear." After that it was "Dear Clad." On July 28, a few hours sifter Gladys got her lit no ilivoi t-e.'I'ai k and Mrs. Foster journeyed down to Baltimore and were i married. "I did not ask the Kcho court to permit me to resume iy maiden name," says Gladys. "For 17 years I was Mrs. Park Benjamin. I am still Mrs. Park Benjamin. "Park is a grand person and I can only feel that he will always have the same heartfelt feeling for me that he did in our years of life together. Now 1 am trying to forget it all."

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