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Discombobulated SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 201
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm searching Rudy on newspapers.com and coming across some interesting photos of Rudy and his wife Mae that I don't think I've seen before from when they popped into the news in his last years.

This one was published in the New York Daily News 25Mar1937 in an article about his stabbing in the chest by his wife Mae with a paring knife after a drunken quarrel at their home in Los Angeles. According to one version of the story, actress Mary Sheridan, a friend and house guest of the Wiedoeft's, discovered Rudy unconscious and bleeding in the living room. Mae claimed to be unaware that he was injured and was in the kitchen cooking. He was treated at the hospital and released and refused to press charges against Mae. Mae was jailed overnight.

I can't quite tell if that's a cowboy hat. He supposedly sometimes wore a cowboy hat and shuffled about while playing on vaudeville stages.

Arm Human body Jaw Sleeve Gesture


Another apparent older stock photo published at the same time by the Brooklyn Times Union
Forehead Face Chin Photograph Eyebrow



Here's a photo of Mae from the St. Louis Post Dispatch, 26Mar1937.

Gesture Art Monochrome photography Cap Monochrome


Another from the Fresno Bee, 25Mar1937

Photograph Black Jaw Art Monochrome photography


A year and a half earlier, Mae had had Rudy arrested at their home at 1765 W 47th St., Los Angeles. It's not clear if this is the same home where the stabbing occurred, though it seems likely. Mae did not press charges but Wiedoeft said he would quit drinking. Here's what appears to be a contemporanous photo of Wiedoeft from the LA Times 04Oct1935.

Forehead Hair Nose Cheek Chin


Here's a link to a second photo from the Times:


Here's Rudy in a tux in a photo published with his obit by the Sacramento Bee

Nose Eye Mouth Jaw Style


Rudy's obit mentions that the Wiedoefts had moved to California around 1935 and returned three years before his death, so perhaps shortly after the stabbing incident. At the time of his death they lived at 35-48 165th St., Flushing, Queens, New York. Here's a screen grab of their charming house, built in 1925, from Google maps:

Plant Building Window Sky Cloud
 

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Discombobulated SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 201
Joined
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9,967 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
You wouldn't happen to have the obit, would you?
I didn't save it. You can get a free 7-day trial to newspapers.com if you want to go to the trouble. There were a few different versions, but I'm guessing most were variants of the New York Times story here, though I don't have a sub so I can't read it: RUDY WIEDOEFT, 46, VALLEE'S TEACHER; Saxophonist and Composer, to Whose Music Thousands Had Danced, Is Dead Here VALLEE TOOK HIS NAME Writer of 'Saxophobia' Played Clarinet in His Father's Orchestra at 11 (Published 1940)

One of the slightly more detailed obits - most were very brief - mentioned he'd been removed from his Queens home pictured above in the morning and died in the hospital (in Flushing I think) in the early evening. They all mention a "stomach ailment" as the cause of death, though it now seems to be accepted that it was cirrhosis. They mention he had returned from Los Angeles about three years earlier and that he was living a quiet life in Queens. I think they mention him being Rudy Vallee's inspiration.

I am really looking forward to reading Doug Caldwell's bio of Rudy when it is eventually completed and published.

Rudy's mother Anna died three days after Rudy without ever knowing he had died: 22 Feb 1940, Page 15 - St. Louis Post-Dispatch at Newspapers.com

I've mentioned before that I think I remember Ted Hegvik talking years ago about Mae/Mary Wiedoeft dying in a fire, and that Ted had a singed scrapbook of hers that survived the fire that he got from one of her relatives (I truly hope I'm not propagating inaccurate info here as my memory is a little vague). I think this is the findagrave entry for her but the pictured marker seems to be wrong: Mary Wiedoeft (unknown-1963) - Find a Grave...
 
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