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...
This is tragic. :( Poor woman.ReplyDelete
Thankfully, as mentioned and seen above, she did have SOME happy moments like the autograph signing..but still RIP Catharine Lorre.Delete
I was at that sign at the famous monster convention in manhatten 1974. She was a sweet lady. So sorry to hear about her life. It breaks my heart. 💔 r.i.p.Delete
I feel so sad she had she had mostly an unhappy and suffered such loss at such an early age. Feeling unwanted, I know the feeling. Escaping those 2 sickos was a miracle. I am glad she had a happy few years, But met again with tragedy. Abd then to die at age 32. Rest in peace.Delete
Whoa – what a tragic story. Hopefully she did have some happy years.ReplyDelete
Very sad life storyDelete
Very sad life storyDelete
sad, but not tragic. She had some happiness, as we all do. I particularly liked hearing about how Lorre's first two wives stepped up to help her. It wasn't a perfect arrangement, but it was definitely a help.Delete
Did she have any children? I'm wondering if Peter has any heirs.ReplyDelete
This is such a sad story especially the part about "No one seemed to want her".
That is so sad her dad was a great actor and brilliantDelete
Cathy was a friend of mine at Bancroft Jr. High school in LA. We had homeroom together and probably a few classes. I remember where she lived because we probably dropped her off at home after getting together after school. I remember her being diabetic and she was probably the first person I knew who was diabetic. She was a very nice person and I was sorry we lost touch when we went to different high schools. Reading her story broke my heart and I wished we had kept in touch.Delete
Sounds like you were a wonderful friend to her.Delete
wow super sad....such a tragic life.may she be resting in peace now...so sadDelete
AnonymousJuly 30, 2020 at 10:23 PM
Sounds like you were a wonderful friend to her.
Sorry but I hardly see how rebruford acted as a good friend. It sounds like this person was simply a casual acquaintance. Cathy could have benefited greatly from actual friends.
You sound like you could benefit from a friend. Why criticize things that don't need criticizing? Be nice.Delete
Thank you Deb McCloud, you sound like a sweet hearted person.Delete
Our world needs more folk like you .I hope in all the morass of
negative you will succeed to thoughtfully continue that way throughout
your own life and help others to learn from your goodness.
so so sad and as other people said let's hope she is at peaceDelete
That's what you got from the story and the responding comments? Critiquing someone's status as a friend? That's a rather curious response.Delete
Unfortunately she never had any children.ReplyDelete
Thank you for the update. I never knew the sadness attached to Peter Lorre and his only child.Delete
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.Delete
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?Delete
Not having children is neither fortunate nor unfortunate...just like having childrenDelete
She looks very pregnant in the above pictureDelete
She does look pregnant in the above photo and appears to be wearing a wedding ring.Delete
Hi, Kristin. You wanna be careful about "daughter..married to Catherine" as you imply you two had a lesbian marriage, nothing wrong, but she was married to Alan Baker as you clearl seemed to know.Delete
Pokey, she was my stepmother not my lesbian partner.Delete
She was pregnant I was there. But she lost the baby.Delete
God bless Catherine, my heart goes out to her. So sad.🌹ReplyDelete
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 onReplyDelete
I always loved lorre and Vincent price together in movies. always a laugh and very entertainingReplyDelete
I loved Cathy very much. We were school mates at a small private high school. G-d rest her loving soul.ReplyDelete
That is very kind.Delete
I'm sure where she is now, that it's appreciated.
Yes, very sad. And G-d rest her loving soul.
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......ReplyDelete
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...ReplyDelete
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.ReplyDelete
What? Did the Hillside Stranglers tell you that or is it just your assumption? I do believe I've heard they were movie buffs. Such evil incarnate.Delete
Bianchi told that during interrogation when he tried to avoid the death sentence and started incriminating Buono.Delete
I knew Catherine (Cat) from around Hollywood in the '70s. She used to hang out with a pool player named Bruce, at the old Ye Billiard Den in West Hollywood. She was a really nice and down to earth person, and we were friendly until I moved away. May she rest in peace.ReplyDelete
May she rest in everlasting peace, bless you dear Catherine.ReplyDelete
"No one seemed to want her." A very sad life story indeed 😢ReplyDelete
A few corrections/additions:ReplyDelete
Lorre and Annemarie met at Wiggers Kurheim, a health resort, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1950. Cathy was born June 22, 1953. Stephen D. Youngkin, author of "The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre", and a close friend, also attended her funeral. Alan was Cathy’s second husband. By her first husband, she conceived a child, which died in infancy of a severe heart condition. Alan was a very nice guy, though admittedly beleaguered by Cathy’s chronic health problems.
Thank you for the info!Delete
It always bothers me when a person is discarded. I am from an error where,all of the actors and actresses, like Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lord's were honored. They brought so much entertainment. I wished Cathy could have had more joy during her short life. I was born the same year she was. Today, I will appreciate life more. RIP Cathy.ReplyDelete
Such a Shame. Heartbreakingly tragic.ReplyDelete
Rest in peace Catherine, Peter & her husband.
Close friends with my sister Jackie. Yes, she was totally her dad and the only person in this world that could say Humphrey was my godfather.ReplyDelete
It amazes how someone with such a famous father was just discarded by so many people. Did he have no close friends in Hollywood to help make sure his daughter was alright? All those people with money and no one made sure she was taken care of.ReplyDelete
My same exact thoughts! So sad!Delete
Maybe she was happier than you'd guess. This profile is typical for juvenile diabetes which is totally unlike adult-onset diabetes. I didn't know until I had a friend with it. Injected herself every few hours, and every two months she had to be hospitalized for days during which she sometimes blacked out, couldn't form a sentence. Even on good days her feet might swell up too painfully to walk. Yet such a cheerful little person, relished comedy, fashion, and vape! Drove her to the hospital once for bloodwork. She confessed, "I actually like it here. For me it feels like home." Now lives as a cheerful companion to an elder and his dog. Maybe Cathy was often very happy too.ReplyDelete
Poor little girl. What a sad life full of tragedy. I hope she’s at peace now.ReplyDelete
This is very sad, I remember her father in some movies, and I just finished watching Peter Lorre in an episode of the Western series 'Rawhide' and I thought I should do a google search on Peter Lorre, I did not know anything about his family, she seemed like a very nice person.ReplyDelete
Nowadays being a child of a celebrity,
A lot of them make a bad choice in their lives, getting involved with drugs and alcohol, Without being born with, serious medical problems.
~ Marky Silva
Peter Lorre was a great actor. He quickly lured me in with his acting. So sad to read that the family had a tragic ending.ReplyDelete
Luis Donado , yes indeed PETER LORRE had the magic - to be sincere and deadly at the same time - what a wonderful actor , Joe Nania a.k.a. Hollywood JoeDelete
Hi! I love this article and the photos of Catherine. I am wondering if I can contact you about using these photos for a film, if the photos belong to you? Please let me know!ReplyDelete
Sure, feel free to email me at email@example.comDelete
It would have been nice if Bianchi could have attended her funeral.ReplyDelete
Nice? A serial killer!Delete
Yes, that would have been heartwarming....😳Delete
I'm surprised forry ackerman didn't go to her funeral.Delete
One thing I noticed - in all the pictures with her father it looks as if he completely adores her. I'm sure her father loved her very much.ReplyDelete
Such cold hearted idiots! Serial killers, REALLY?!!!ReplyDelete
Peter Lorre was one of the most under rated actors in show biz history - I feel that he was more of a supporting actor - but still had such quality in every film he was in , Joe Nania a.k.a. Hollywood JoeReplyDelete
As a Fan of Peter Lorre when I was a Child, I always thought it was his eyes that gave him the sinister look needed for the parts he played. My Father enjoyed him as well, and it was only recently I discovered how long he was dead. Never knew anything about his Family, etc, until now.ReplyDelete
May they all RIP.