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Friday, October 23, 2009

Actress Best Known For Role as False Accuser Gets False Photo In Obit

Posted By on Fri, Oct 23, 2009 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge That's not Mayella Ewell, Your Honor.
  • That's not Mayella Ewell, Your Honor.
If asked to choose a picture of actress Collin Wilcox-Paxton out of a lineup, most of you could not. But you wouldn't mistake her for Gregory Peck. Or would you?

The actress, best known for her role as Mayella Ewell, the horrid, white trash fabulist whose bogus rape accusation against a black man forms the crux of the movie To Kill a Mockingbird, died this month at age 74. The Chronicle's online edition ran an Associated Press obituary along with the above AP photo (we are uncertain at this time if this photo graced the print edition, too). Sadly, however, that photo is of Gregory Peck in his well-known role as Atticus Finch. It could have been worse; it could have been Peck as Captain Ahab.

This is an AP story and an AP photograph -- so it's unclear exactly who's at fault here. Some readers may recall that earlier this year the Chron and papers worldwide used an AP photo to accompany the obit of actor Patrick McGoohan who "died suddenly" -- and the snapshot was of the actor with a gun being held to his head

So, it's possible that other newspapers featured a photo of Gregory Peck dressed as a Southern gentleman in one of the 20th century's most iconic film roles for an actress' obituary. But, on short notice, I could not find one. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Houston Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, and Boston Globe all got it right. The Radio Programas De Peru Web site got it right, too.

For what it's worth, here's what Collin Wilcox-Paxton looked like, courtesy of the Peruvians:


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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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