charlotte’s polishing regimen

Raymonde Allain, 15 year old Miss France 1928

In 1923, aspiring Miss America Charlotte Nash, was only seventeen. She was reported as saying her impressive dimples were insured for a cool one hundred grand. She only managed to come fourth but theatre magnate, Fred G Nixon-Nordlinger, was suitably impressed by her beauty.

Dolly Dimples found here

She was a “diamond of purest water,” he said, just needing “a touch of polishing here and there.” Charlotte was trotted off to finishing school at Nixon-Nirdlinger’s expense, where she learned the niceties of deportment; to rise, sit, and carry herself with dignity. A few months into Charlotte’s polishing regimen, Fred withdrew her from finishing school and married the 18-year-old beauty in a sensational ceremony in Hagerstown, Maryland. Alas, he neglected to tell his young bride the not insignificant fact that he was already married to someone else.


In fact, Fred Nixon-Nirdlinger had been married for the better part of twenty years which came to light while Charlotte and Fred were on their Paris honeymoon. Once she recovered from the dizzying bad news, Charlotte left him and returned to the United States.

Fast forward to 1931; after numerous reconciliations, a divorce, remarriage and two children, the couple were living in Nice.

Fred was drinking. Charlotte was sitting, studying Italian. Fred asked her what she was doing and from her answer he surmised that Charlotte must be interested in an Italian fellow, and he said so. She denied this. He accused her of trafficking with gigolos. Fred’s last words to her were, “I will kill you rather than let you have an Italian lover.” Charlotte beat him to it, and as she lay on the bed she retrieved her pistol and fired. The first bullet entered just under his left eye, a second bullet hit him in the chest. Two other shots went wild. Fred crumpled in a pool of blood.

The shooting death of the American millionaire became an overnight news sensation. As she came to court, the reporters noted that she “was attired in a smart tight-fitting, low-cut frock and wore a black coat with the collar turned up… a black cloche hat also shaded her face.”

image (of Bette Davis)

On cross-examination, Charlotte denied the prosecutor’s accusations that she danced and flirted with other men. She denied rumors of an affair with a swimming instructor. When all was said and done, the prosecutor came up with just two pieces of evidence that she was a wandering wife. One, he had a photograph of her in a fashionable bathing suit. Two, he read from a letter Charlotte wrote to a friend in which the unhappy young lady said — “There are nothing but constant rows. But I’ll be damned if I’ll stay home and sit in a corner reading. I am still young. Maybe when I’m his age I’ll do that.”


Her lawyers were adamant. “It’s a clear case of self-defense,” said her lead defense attorney. “The fact that my client bought two months ago the revolver with which she shot and killed her husband does not indicate premeditation…. She simply purchased the weapon for use in case of extreme emergency to defend her life. How prudent this action was.” Her lawyer summed up his closing argument with the now famous declaration that “she is too beautiful to be bad.” The jurors — seven of whom were bachelors — apparently agreed; they acquitted Charlotte in nine minutes.


Published in: on May 31, 2010 at 8:31 am  Comments (32)  
Tags: ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

32 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hahahahahaha… ‘Nirdlinger’, I love that name. What murder, oh terrible stuff horrid…

    • He must have endured a lot of teasing at school

  2. I like to sit at home in a cosy corner reading, but never at the expense of foregoing Italian lovers.

    • I’d still prefer the book if they looked anything like Mussolini


    • All caps? That really tickled your fancy didn’t it Syncy xx

  4. What a great story! That last pic makes me think of the great Winston Churchill exchange with the (rather large) MP Bessie Braddock:

    Bessie Braddock: “Sir, you are drunk.”
    Churchill: “Madam, you are ugly. But in the morning, I shall be sober.”

    • Churchill was a laugh wasn’t he. I heard a story about an exchange he had with a female dinner guest that went something along the lines of:

      Churchill: If I offered you a million pounds would you sleep with me?
      Female guest: hmm, yes.
      Churchill: If I offered you a shilling would you sleep with me?
      Female guest: Mr Churchill! What kind of woman do you think I am?
      Churchill: We’ve already established what kind of woman you are my dear, we’re just haggling about the price.

      Too beautiful to be bad is a wonderful line, though I know a few woman (not mentioning any names) who are too beautiful NOT to be bad!

      The King

      • Err I mean women, where’s that editing function NM?

        The King

      • That’s a Freudian slip Your Majesty. You were really only thinking of queenwilly weren’t you?

        Happy flying tomorrow! Make sure my mattress in our French chalet is nice and firm and I expect a cocktail on arrival

  5. ‘Too beautiful to be bad’ – wonderful.

    Great story

  6. it’s simultaneously comforting and depressing that media obsession with celebrity sex/crime is as old as the hills… and fred? what a turd.

  7. Looking at the first pic. Were women in the 20’s that manly looking or did the makeup just not do them justice.

    • Styles were very different, a small pursed rosebud mouth was what every woman strived for. Even Angelina Jolie wouldn’t have been rated so highly back then.

  8. So much for a jury of one’s peers.
    Only a jury with seven bachelors would fall for a “too beautiful to be bad” defense.

  9. I wonder if there are finishing schools anymore. There probably are, just not as a prevalent as they once were.

    Nursemyra should open up her own finishing school, producing crops of young ladies who appreciate corsets.

  10. Damn. I guess this explains why my time in court went so badly.

  11. I’ve always thought that bigamy must be really hard work …… one is bad enough …….

    • Don’t let TG read your comment daddyp. you’ll be in the doghouse for a week

  12. Blogpost about polishing…Raymonde Allain article in Polish…is this a coincidence or are you being mischievious again?

    • I’m always mischievious Nick

  13. remind me to tell you about my gigolo story 🙂

    • … over a retsina in the garden of our apartment in Greece? Be seeing you in 18 days darlin’

  14. ‘Fred was drinking. Charlotte was sitting, studying Italian.’ surely they could communicate somewhere ??

    • I think Charlotte was well and truly over talking to old Fred by that stage

  15. I’ve often been judged the same way. Too beautiful to be bad. It’s a blessing and a damned curse.

    • Goodness is its own reward Mr Mills 🙂

  16. Don’t hate us because we are beautiful

  17. being too beautiful to be bad isn’t a bad gig, if you can get it. my seocnd choicem however, would be to be bad.

  18. You just made me feel all dirty…ugh. I was thinking how hot she was until I read that she was only 15.

    Sorry I wasn’t around, I was internetless.

    • but you’re back in fine form now…..

  19. yeah I may have let her go too.

Leave a Reply to Seraphine Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: