On June 3, 1955 Barbara Graham and two of her partners in crime were executed in the gas chamber at San Quentin for their part in the brutal murder of Mabel Monahan in Burbank, California. Born on 6/26/23, Graham might be celebrating her 85th birthday today if she hadn't been convicted. To be perfectly frank, I let the more significant date, that of her execution, slip by unnoticed so we'll settle for marking her birth date instead.
Graham, along with a few accomplices, had heard rumors of a large amount of cash hidden in Mabel Monahan's house. Unfortunately for Monahan, she made the mistake trying to help Barbara Graham when Graham claimed she had car trouble and asked to use the phone. When Monahan opened the door to Graham, the whole gang streamed in and commenced ransacking the house and pistol-whipping Monahan in an effort to get her to give up the money's supposed location. Police officers found Monahan's blood splattered across the floors, the walls and all over the furniture and the rugs. No stash of money was ever found. The coroner ruled that the cause of death was asphyxiation due to strangulation and a cranial hemorrhage.
Actress Susan Hayward won a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Graham in the 1958 movie I Want To Live. Prior to filming, director Robert Wise attended an actual execution at San Quentin in order to help him authentically capture his film's climactic event. At the right is a photo of the house where Mabel Monahan was killed. It's located at 1718 West Parkside Avenue in Burbank, just a couple blocks east of Disney Studios. Thanks to Lisa Burks' blog for the photo. The house was sold not too long ago for $749,000. Not surprisingly, the realtor's "House For Sale" web page made no mention of Barbara Graham or the bloody mayhem that transpired in the house in March 1953.