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The Truth About Mary Astor’s Diary

The salaciousness of the starlet’s writing was exaggerated, and the resulting scandal arguably helped her career.

In 1936, actress Mary Astor (who had not yet made her most famous film, The Maltese Falcon) and her husband went to court to fight for custody of their 4-year-old daughter. The trial made international news thanks to both sides’ use of Astor’s diary, in which she had recorded details of her affair with playwright George S. Kaufman. How much did Astor truly reveal in her diary, and what role did the scandal play in her life and career?

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Podcast production by Cameron Drews.