21 May 1934 Mae Murray Slaps Lawyer

Mae Murray, silent film actress, caused a minor sensation in Justice Aaron Steuer’s part of Manhattan Supreme Court this afternoon when she struck an attorney opposing her in the trial of her $300,000 suit against Tiffany Productions INC. The action had been dismissed and Justice Steur had just left the bench when the lawyer, Bertram Mayers, whispered to her: “Now you’ve got justice”. Tears streaming down her face Miss Murray slapped Mayers on the jaw and screamed “God will attend to you. You’ll get yours”. Her attorney, Harry Sitomer, sprang between them and quieted her as the crowd in the courtroom was dispersed. “I did not get justice. I never got justice in my life” the tearful actress told reporters. “I advise all my brothers and sisters in the profession to beware of percentage contracts and be content with salaries”. In dismissing the action, Justice Steur held that she failed to prove the Motion Picture Company had defrauded her. Miss Murray testified that in 1920 she contracted to make her eight pictures in return for 25 % of the earnings. In 1924, after the pictures had been completed, she said the company gave her $12,500 and induced her to sign a release. It was not until 1930, she added, that she learned the pictures had netted $2,000,000. Herbert Crowenweath, President of Tiffany Productions, testified that the first two pictures, “Fascination and Peacock Alley” made money but that no profit was realized on the other pictures.

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