Monday, March 4, 2019

THE SAD LIFE OF CATHARINE LORRE

Peter Lorre was one of the best character actors of all-time. Even the horrible movies he made were made better because of Peter's acting. Sadly though, Peter's personal life was sad and scary like some of his movies. Lorre suffered from an addiction to morphine and spent much of the 1940s trying to get clean. It was there at a clinic that he met his thrd and final wife - Anne Marie Brenning. They were married in 1953, and they had a child right away. Catharine was the only child of actor Peter Lorre and Anne Marie Brenning Lorre, and she was born on September 21, 1953.

Cathy had a number of strikes against her. Peter and Annemarie (Brenning)’s marriage was in trouble as early as 1956. Finally, they separated in 1962, when Cathy was nine years old. She was only 11 when her father died of a stroke on March 23, 1964. Annemarie was an alcoholic and died a few years later on April 26, 1971. What to do with Cathy? No one seemed to want her. Finally, Celia Lovksy, Peter’s first wife, offered theater and film critic James Powers (who was married to Karen Verne until her death in 1967) the upstairs of her house on Crescent Heights if he would adopt Cathy. He did and Celia moved into the basement. (Cathy thought of Celia [“Mumili”] as a grandmother. As such, she functioned as a hub for the Lorre family, connecting all to the center, even the actor’s second and third wives.)


Catharine nearly fell victim to "Hillside Stranglers" Angelo J. Buono and Kenneth A. Bianchi, who approached her one night in 1977 intending to abduct and murder her as they had and would do to ten women before the law caught up with them. Learning she was Peter Lorre's daughter, they just let her go. They were movie fans and liked Lorre's work. Catharine was 25 at the time. After the capture of Bianchi and Buono, and their photographs were made public, Catharine realized who they were. Later in interviews, Catharine stated that she never felt threatened by either man: She believed it to be a casual and friendly encounter. Bianchi and Buono stated that the only reason her life was spared was because Peter Lorre was her father.

In 1980, Catharine got married and had a few happy years, but her husband lost his life in a tragic motorcycle accident, leaving her a widow.


Catherine never took care of herself with no real parental guidance around and, she suffered from juvenile diabetes- As she grew older, complications from her diabetes took a greater toll until in her final year she was hospitalized at Harbor General. At that point, she was suffering vision and circulation problems. She spent upwards of a year there and died shortly after. She died of sepsis and encephalomalacia, complications from diabetes, on May 7, 1985, at age 32.

Sadly, unbeknownst to family and friends, she remained in the morgue for nearly a month before funeral arrangements were made. Only a few people attended her funeral. The only people at her funeral were Larry Lorre, Cathy’s cousin; Peter Lorre’s attorney, Robert Shutan; his son Peter Shutan (named after the actor); and Cathy’s nurse. She was buried at Inglewood Cemetery on June 4, 1985. It seemed like at every turn Cathy had bad things happen to her. The pain that she endured in her short 32 years seems overwhelming, but hopefully she did have some happiness and she is at peace now...



17 comments:

  1. This is tragic. :( Poor woman.

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  2. Whoa – what a tragic story. Hopefully she did have some happy years.

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  3. Did she have any children? I'm wondering if Peter has any heirs.

    This is such a sad story especially the part about "No one seemed to want her".

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  4. Unfortunately she never had any children.

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    1. Thank you for the update. I never knew the sadness attached to Peter Lorre and his only child.

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    2. Hi David, My name is Kristin Baker now Hudson. I am Allen Bakers Daughter who was married to Catherine. She did have a very tragic life! I remember her telling me stories when I lived with them. The year and a half that I lived with them before my father died, were not all that great either. She was a very unhealthy diabetic, that had us in and out of hospital a lot of the time. 2 weeks before my father died, he told me he was going to divorce her, after only being married for just over a year. She lost touch with petty much everyone after my father died. They were in a motorcycle club, that I kept in contact with for many years, and I don't believe any of them talked with her much after. I didn't know she had died for at least 6 months after.

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    3. Hi Kristin! Thank you for your memories. I am sorry your father died so young. You must have gone through a lot as well. How old were you when your father died?

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  5. God bless Catherine, my heart goes out to her. So sad.🌹

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  6. I knew Cathy during elementary and Junior high and she was always a bit of a loner but we would talk occasionally...ran into her a few times in early 70's in Hollywood then lost contact with her later on

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  7. I always loved lorre and Vincent price together in movies. always a laugh and very entertaining

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  8. I loved Cathy very much. We were school mates at a small private high school. G-d rest her loving soul.

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    1. That is very kind.
      I'm sure where she is now, that it's appreciated.
      Yes, very sad. And G-d rest her loving soul.

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  9. I knew Cathy thru her husband Alan...Alan was killed by a truck when he lost control while test riding a honda motorcycle. He was a test rider for honda development motorcycles..his father had passed away and left them with a huge property in Redondo Beach Ca...I helped Cathy for a short while after Alans death as she was confined to bed and then lost touch......

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  10. This is so sad...still if she were such good freinds with bogart's daughter I wonder why they didn't reach out..makes you wonder...middle class folks are apt to go there with no thought for expenses...

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  11. The Hillside straglers did NOT spare her out of any admiration for her Father's acting. They spared her because she would have made a high profile target that would have drawn too much attention, thus they would've been captured even soner.

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