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May be too early to start the.


Christmas playlists.


But it's never too early to start planning your Christmas gifting. The SuperValue gift card is the perfect gift for your team with something for everyone available in-store while supporting a local Irish business. Look after your Christmas shopping today. Visit supervalue. Ie/giftcards. Campside Media. The bench. All right.




It's on. This is our first Christmas tree in our little house at the beach. One hour later. I know. I know. And we're.


Still here. I'm shutting off the light. That's Wendy and Gary DeVore in happy times. This is Dutch. There were no iPhones in the 90s. No, not. Gary is filming this with one of those bulky, handheld, camcorders. A drink in his free hand. Teasing Wendy about taking forever, as usual.


Four hours, 27 minutes, and 30 seconds. Shut it off. Shut it off.


But Gary doesn't shut it off because it's their first Christmas in Montecito. And it's also Wendy's birthday, December 23rd. I'm so happy. Happy birthday.


To you. Happy birthday.




You. Happy birthday, dear. You've been lying about your age for the last year. I'm 47. Happy birthday to you. I'm 47. I got flowers.


Want to see my flowers? Wendy's beaming, keeping eye contact with the camera as she moves from showing off her birthday flowers to a gift from Gary.


I'm opening something Gary got for me. I have a new pair of earrings, Sharon, and you know they're the kind that you love. Oh, Gary, they're gorgeous. They're gorgeous. They're gorgeous. I'm putting them on. Oh.


Yeah, they look great. You like them? Yeah, I do. These are some of Gary Divore's last known lines of screen dialogue. Just simple home videos he made with Wendy. You like them?


Yes, I love them. I picked them out. I must like them. I didn't put.


Them on.


Yeah, but I knew that you- Do you like them? Yeah, I do.


These are hard to watch even now. Imagine being Wendy on June 29th, 1997, a little more than 24 hours after Gary vanished. Wendy had barely slept and pouring over these home videos, it wasn't just some exercise in nostalgia, an attempt to find some joy in an otherwise terrible time. The Santa Barbara Sheriff's detectives had advised her to gather pictures and videos of Gary so the news media could run them as part of the search effort. But as Wendy scanned the videos, her mind turned to that bizarre car ride she'd taken with Gary's mentor, Director John Irvine. He'd planted the seed that there were aspects of Gary's life she didn't knowout. Like that script he'd been writing when he disappeared, The Big Steal.


He had finished the script and polished it, and a lot of it was classified information. I did not understand that in order to get classified information, you have to be entitled. You have to have clearance. She was.


Starting to wonder. By putting real information into his screenplay, Gary might have placed himself in real danger. In watching these videos of what had been the happiest days of her life with Gary, she now had to ask herself, was any of it real?


I started thinking, what the hell was he doing? Who was the other side of this man that I was married to?


From Campside Media and Sony Music Entertainment, I'm Josh Dean, and this is Witness Season 5, Fade to Black. Episode two, Crocadile Tears. On Sunday morning, June 29th, 1997, most people in America were talking about one thing. He's beginning to run. Mike Tyson has bitten Evander, Holyfield for the second time, and he is all out for it. But in Gary and Wendy's house that morning, no one was talking about Mike Tyson biting off a chunk of a Vander, Hallfield's ear. Gary's friends had come for the fight party. They turned on the TV. But then cops had shown up to take that missing persons report of the missing host, and that became the main event. Some of those friends had stayed the night, and now the living room was piled with blankets and sleeping bags. Those who'd come for the fight party were now turning into a search party.


I mean, there was so much going on about the disappearance in the.


Beginning when he went missing and we couldn't find him.


That was a.


Weird feeling because.


When you feel attached.


To somebody and.


They disappear.


Gary, where could he be? That's Gary's best friend, David Devin, one of those who stayed the night. The landline in the small house had been ringing off the hook all day. And each time, Wendy dropped everything to answer, hoping it might be Gary, calling to put an end to this madness. But instead, the phone just brought more of it.


When this happened, all the studios called and said, He's one of us. He's our guy. What it would be like to not have that amazing coverage. But they all called and said, He's our guy. He's one of us. You have cart blanch. You can go on every talk show. You can hold.


A picture up. Indeed, the news media smelled a story, and reporters all over Southern California were moving fast.


Here's a screenwriter who's well-known, and it was.


Getting attention in L. A.


So as a reporter, this was a big deal for me.


Laura Evans-Manitoste was working as a general assignment reporter at KYET, the local ABC affiliate in Santa Barbara, where the biggest news story is usually wildfires or mudslides.


I'd gotten off the morning show and I got word that Gary DeVore was missing. My photographer and I got in the car and we went to Wendy's house. Yeah, I was thinking, this is a great story. This is also a woman in a lot of pain.


While Wendy dealt with a media onslaught, her guests, some of whom had never met before, began working together to help.




And I, this friend of Wendy's, we.


Formed a good relationship.


Within hours of Gary's disappearance, Wendy had put up a $10,000 reward for any information leading to his whereabouts. We put together the reward.


And all that.


The poster featured a photograph of Gary as he was the day he left, bearded, 55 years old, 5'11, 185 pounds, dark graying hair, rugged features. In equal size to the photo of his face was a closeup diagram of his most distinctive physical feature, his broken, deformed, right, pinky finger. A football injury in high school had permanently fractured it, and it stuck out at a right angle. Anyone who met Gary noticed that pinky. It stood out like that.


And he would never have it fixed because I know he thought it was sexy. I mean, it was a conversation piece.


He had big hands, very rough hands, and it looked tough. Wendy's friend Phil Combest, a former writer and producer on hit TV detective shows like Magnum PI, had been at Wendy's side when the real detectives had shown up to take her missing persons report. Although Phil had only ever written fictitious police scenes. It was clear to him that the cops in this case, only hours old, had already reached a conclusion.


The police that were involved in this were not that interested in anything except the possibility that Wendy killed him.


Given their complete lack of confidence in the police, Phil and David decided to undertake their own search. They'd head out to the area near the Mojave Desert, Denny's, where Gary made his last call to Wendy. I found a guy.


With a bloodhound who met us out there.


He was a professional tracker who told him to bring something with Gary's scent on it. So I had Wendy take me into.


Gary's closet. And Gary's closet had rows of Western cowboy hats. And so I found one.


That looked.


Like a.


Good thing. And what they.


Really wanted was a band.


As a backup, they also brought one of Gary's sneakers. He was a jogger and had a pair of shoes that was especially well used, pungent.


And we drove out there to the desert with Gary's hat band and.


A sneaker. Word of Gary's disappearance had spread fast in Hollywood, which was even before social media, a very small and well-connected place. R. K. O. Pictures, the studio Gary owed the script to, had already reached out to Wendy, panicking. They wanted to know if he'd left behind a copy of the script at home on a desktop computer or someplace. When he was fairly certain Gary had taken his only copy of the script with him on his laptop. But now it was due in a few days, and the studio's financing was dependent on its delivery. Soon, even the action stars Gary wrote for were reaching out.


Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme are not people that I could ordinarily reach out to. These are people that Gary worked with in his career writing features. These are two of the men who cared about him, who liked him enough to be as horrified as I was that he never made it home.


Arnold Schwarzenegger was the biggest box office draw in the world at this time, and he'd starring in Gary's film, Raw Deal. There's a few. A lot of people are dead, and now it's your turn. The two remained friends. And when Arnold heard that Gary was missing, he hired detectives to search chopshops in Mexico on the theory that Gary was carjacked and his Ford Explorer was stripped for parts.


Arnold had sent men down to Tiawana to check the chopshops and to find any evidence he could.


Then there was Jean-Claude Van Damme, the Belgium kickboxing star whose film's Time Cop and sudden death, Gary had improved or possibly rescued by doing punch-up work on the dialogue. Now Van Damme, who viewed himself as a box office rival to Arnold, took things further.


Jean-claude Van Damme got in a car and drove to Nugales to go and see if there was any way that he could help find anything to do with Gary's disappearance.


Nugales, Mexico is just across the border with the US and has long been a destination for cars stolen across North America. The idea that John Claude was there personally trying to kick ass and find Gary was something Wendy found deeply moving.


To think that they did go so out of their way to try and help, it was unexpected, and I was so grateful. I really thought, you want to hear how stupid I am? The minute that I heard that Arnold Schwarzenegger was active in trying to find Gary, I thought he would. I had the biggest action stars in Hollywood searching for my husband. They were searching for their lost screenwriter. I didn't think it could possibly fail. When David.


Debbin and Phil Convest made it to the desert that day to begin their search, things started to get weird immediately.


They came across this telephone pole with this big sign that said, Gary, on it. I mean, legitimately, what else could it have been? As she.


Says this, Wendy shows us a photograph taken by David that first morning. As they turned off the freeway, the two men spotted a telephone pole with a small handwritten sign on which someone had spelled out the name Gary. From that sign, they followed a small trail into the desert for about a hundred yards. It ended by a brick hut that had collapsed and was in ruins. The bloodhound found no sense of Gary, so they had to chalk this bizarre sign with Gary's name on it up to coincidence, a decision that's never sat well with Wendy. I mean.


Out in the middle of the fucking desert, and it says Gary on it. I mean, there's an arrow up at the top aiming.


The area where Gary disappeared was one of his happy places. But Gary was obsessed with cowboys and Westerns. He often carried a film camera with him, photographing potential locations for films he'd like to make, sometimes just for scenes that existed only in his head. The last ping from Gary's cell phone was a few miles from Vasquez Rocks, a national historic site with stunning vistas and rock formations. It serves as L. A. 'S mini monument valley, a dramatic location where countless Westerns and TV shows have been filmed. All the classics, from to Blazing Saddles. David and Gary had produced The Heat, a movie pilot they'd shot nearby a few years earlier. Now, out searching for him, spooked by the strange sign with Gary's name on it, and with temperatures rising to well over 100 degrees, David felt very unsettled.


We went out, walked all these little.




Holding the hatband and holding the sneaker.


And then the.


Dog smelled something.


Phil and I are trying to figure out if we should take the.


Sneaker of Gary's that we bought and try and go deeper into it. When seemingly out of nowhere, a cop car pulls up, two sheriff's deputies. They get out and start asking what these two are doing here with a bloodhound and one dirty sneaker. Well, we're looking for a.


Friend of.




Who was.


Lost and try and find him. And he looked at us, he said, Are you guys cops?






Talking to me.


And Phil, a Jew, and I don't know what the.


Fuck he was. Phil, a combatant.




Looking at me like I'm.


Trying to hide something. The last thing I'd ever thought I was going.


To be called or be.


Was a cop.


And boy, he.


Gave us a look. You guys are in the wrong place. Back at her home in Montecito, Wendy was having an unusual encounter of her own. The reporters had left and she was alone in her bedroom, resuming her search of home videos when there was a knock at the front door. According to Wendy, she opened it to find two men in suits flashing what appeared to be federal government IDs, but only one of them really spoke. He introduced himself as Chase Brandon.


He said he was a friend of Gary's and that he was with the CIA.


He looked vaguely familiar to Wendy, but she couldn't place it. Chase said he'd been to the house before for a party. His relationship with Gary was personal, he said. They were friends. And as he stood there in her living.


Room-he acted like he was emotional, and he said, I'd like to just go in there alone into Gary's office and just look at stuff. And I said, Fine.


The door to Gary's office was a few feet down the hall.


And he went in there and he shut the door. I assumed that he was there to help.


He emerged a few minutes later, having gathered himself and told Wendy he would stay in touch. Then he left. Everything about this was odd. Here was the CIA showing up at Wendy's door, but not to offer help, just condolences and tears.


I trusted these people. I mean, if you don't know anything about this world, and I certainly didn't, you feel almost so grateful that there's someone from something like the CIA coming to try and look. All I wanted to do was recover him. I wanted to know what had happened. I wanted to save him. So this looked like a potential hero for me. Why, hello there. Welcome to Radio Rental. If you're new around here and haven't heard, I'm your host, Terry Carnation. On Radio Rental, we play tapes of the scariest, true stories you've ever heard. That's right, we've got real scary stories told by the people that actually experienced them. We've got stories of abnormal peril, near-death experiences, stitches in the space-time continuum, and more. Stories like these. This person.


Was looking for me. They start to take these long strides towards me. I was freaking out.


We started seeing it everywhere we went.


It would.


Be sitting there watching us.


I've never ran so fast in my life.


And it's all set right here at Radio Rental, the Video rental shop of your worst nightmares.


Radio Rental is available now. Listen one week early and add free on Tenderfoot Plus.


There's a mystery on the Caribbean Island of Grenada. I just want to ask to be clear. Sure. Did you ever see the body of Morris Bishop?


No. You're sure? Absolutely. 40 years ago, the.


Remains of the Prime Minister went missing, and we've been trying to.


Figure out.


What happened. I can.


Tell you, in.


My words.


This thing stinks.


I'm Martin Powers with The Washington Post.


The empty grave of Comrade Bishop.


Is out now. Follow and listen wherever you get your podcasts. With no hard leads to work with, Wendy started sorting through her memories all the way back to the beginning with Gary, wondering what she might have missed from the first time they met. Mr. Speaker, if you were.


In the.


Air last Thursday, especially if.


You're flying.


To the.


Los Angeles Airport, you might have been delayed because Air Force 1 was.


Sitting on the tarmac.


While our President was getting a $200.


Hollywood haircut. That's the sound of Bill Clinton's first presidential scandal. Before allegations of White House blow jobs, it was blow dryers. In a ridiculous media moment, now remembered as Hairgate, reporters once ran with the narrative that President Clinton delayed an official flight out of L. A. In order to get a haircut from Christophe, who was then the it's stylist for celebrities and power players around Hollywood. Wendy and Gary were among the regulars.


It's where they first met. He was having his hair cut by the guy who colored mine.


And he got up- Gary was in for a cut one day when he overheard Wendy talking to her stylist about her mom, who was quite sick. When the stylist got pulled away to deal with actor Richard Dreyfus, Gary spoke up to offer a few words of support. Wendy hadn't even seen Gary's face yet, but she liked something about what he'd said, his sense of caring. Gary left the shop after their brief exchange, but moments later returned and walked up to Wendy, still in her chair.


He said, I work out of my home, and I don't get to meet people very often. I'd really like to get to know you. I'd like to have coffee with you or something. And he said, So here's my number. Just call me and I'll make myself available to you.


Wendy had already made up her mind. There was something.


About him. I said, Well, then why don't we just go have a cup of coffee now? And finished my hair up, and we went and we had a cup of coffee. And that was the beginning.


To Wendy, Gary seemed the consummate Hollywood creature. It wasn't just his success in writing blockbuster films with giant movie stars. He had a serious reputation in town as a ladies man.


Yeah, no, he was really a player. And the women that he had been with and the women that he knew was stuff I had avoided.


Gary had been married three times. He was known not simply for dating women who were beautiful or desirable in some way, but for being with women in Hollywood who are powerful, independent, different. Gary's first wife was African-American singer Maria Cole. While her name is little known today, when Gary married her, she was the widow of singer Nat King Cole.


We both had been with other people, but it was really weird to me when I found out who Gary had been married to. She was the widow of one of the most famous people that I ever knew about, ever, Nat King Cole's widow.


His second wife was Sandy Newton, actor and now news anchor in Palm Springs. His third was Claudia Christian, the sci-fi star we heard about last episode. In the list goes on. He dated singer, Jana Jackson and famed rock and roll groupie, Pam DeVars. In the year before he gave Wendy his phone number, Gary had an entire chapter written about him and producer Julia Phillips bestselling memoir, You'll Never Eat Lunch in this town again. Julia Phillips, who died in 2002, is the first woman ever to win a Best Picture Oscar. She made some of the greatest films of the '70s, The Sting with Paul Newman and Robert Redford, Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, and Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind. She used her memoir to eviscerate the male power structure in Hollywood, but then devoted an entire chapter to praising Gary Dvor. Here's a passage as read by our producer, Megan Donis.


Gary, with a Western twang and his voice laced heavy with testosterone.


I have a brief affair with Gary.


He says it's our way of becoming friends.


I think it's.


Because he's written lines that I really admire. Gary and I slide comfortably from lovers to friends. As Wendy looks back now, none of these details even slightly suggested that Gary might have been anything but what he claimed to be, a charming screenwriter. Certainly not a spy. She saw no red flags, even with the colorful dating history. In the end, Wendy took the plunge with him because of the way he made her feel.


You look for a little excitement in your life. And, Gary, if nothing else was a little excitement, let me tell you.


And it wasn't like Wendy was some innocent, fresh off the Greyhound bus to Hollywood. She was a successful voice-over-actor by this point with a romantic past of her own. Wendy's most recent job had been supervising dialogue in ridley Scott's film Black Rain starring Michael Douglas and Kate Capshaugh.


Hi, sweetheart. You remember me, don't you?


Between voice gigs, Wendy ran a surgeon's office in Beverly Hills and was raising her daughter, Brittany. She was an independent, self-supporting woman.


And I have a very strong personality. I was called an upstart. Yeah, it wasn't a compliment.


Wendy came from a background of extreme privilege, mixed with a certain alienation. Her parents were both first-generation Jews. Her paternal grandfather made a fortune, and not legally, at least at first.


He was a boot Liker during Prohibition. And then when Prohibition ended, they became legitimate distillers.


His business partner was Joe Kennedy, father of President John F. Kennedy. Wendy was raised in Palm Beach, Florida, playground of America's rich and famous. Joe Kennedy lived down the street. Blond, blue-eyed girls were everywhere, but Wendy was I.


Was tall for my generation. I was 5'9. I was exotic. I had very black hair. She was.


The eldest of three sisters, close to her father, but had a difficult relationship with her mother.


She would never have wanted to be a mother. These women didn't have a choice. They had to get married in that generation. Remember, the first birth control pills were not until 1965, and she did everything that was right.


Meaning her mother did everything expected of her, except to have a warm and loving relationship with her daughters. By the time Wendy was 13, her mother began traveling, leaving Wendy to her own devices. While it's easy to look back at the early 60s as a more innocent time, the young, privileged kids Wendy found herself running with in Palm Beach were fast company. A common fixture in the neighborhood was President John F. Kennedy, who, according to Wendy- He.


Would slow the car up and say hi. Nothing else. Not really. Two days before he was assassinated, he stopped and said hello to me in his car driving down the street. We lived on the other corner. He was down in Palm Beach before he went to Dallas.


Wendy says there was a reason she kept having these run-ins with President Kennedy, beyond his neighbourliness.


He was having an affair with the girl around the block from me while he was a President. I used to walk down to his house with her, and I'd outside with the Secret Service guys and drink Coca-Cola while she went inside with him. I mean, we thought it was all pretty cool. I think I was 14. I think she was 16, maybe almost 17.


Wendy's older adventurous friend soon enlisted her help as a winged man in another dangerous escapade, one that would form a lasting connection for Wendy later in her life. Wendy's friend needed her on a double date.


I've never a date. I was 14 years old. She asked me if I wanted to study with her. She said, Call your mom and ask her if you could spend the night over with me.


This, of course, was a lie. See, Wendy's girlfriend was actually involved with a much older, married man, and he was friends with a famous actor who happened to be in town that night. The actor's name was Sean Connery. Mr. Bond.


James Bond.


So, Wendy, a young teenager, found herself having cocktails in a top West Palm Beach restaurant on a date with James Bond.


We're all sitting at dinner in this restaurant, and they brought the drinks and they brought the appetizers, that's as far as it got. And all of a sudden, my mother came in, and you should have seen the faces on the people facing the door because she looked like she was completely out of her mind. And she came charging in there, grabbed me by the back of my neck and my shoulder, dragged me up, started screaming at them, and dragged me out. And that was my entire introduction to Sean Connery.


What Wendy saw as her dark, weird, freakishly tall, Russian, Hungarian, Jewish looks were precisely the features that drew people to her. And one day, while walking down the street in Palm Beach, Wendy was discovered.


First job I ever had was Bill Blass and Hubert Gervais. I mean, Colleen, Trigger, I would model for all.


Of them. To satisfy her mother, Wendy went to college to study nursing, but Ford Model signed her and brought her to New York. She also fell into some work as a Cher lookalike.


When you find out you have a double, you have a double. And when it comes to Cher and I, I mean, you couldn't tell us the party.


Wendy would end up in People Magazine as America's most famous Cher lookalike. She tried developing a career as an actor, but if you play Cher once, you can only ever play Cher after that. Wendy ended up running into Sean Connery again on the BBC Universal lot and had a relationship with him. She went from Sean Connery to Judd Hersh, Star of Taxi, and eventually spent 10 years with a successful TV producer in what would be her last relationship before Gary.


Meeting Gary was like a growing-up event. I thought I was growing up already. I thought I was growing up when I was 20, didn't you? I think that with Gary, it was a different thing because I was a grown-up.


Now, that growing up event and meeting Gary was turning into the biggest test of her life.


Have you ever seriously pissed off your in-laws? A couple of years ago, I started investigating a murder in my wife's family. Why would I do something so stupid? Well, partly because I've come to suspect that the woman who was killed is haunting the house I grew up in.


It was a weight and the beard like somebody was in it.


I woke up.


Because my bed was shaking. So it would.


Be like, shake, shake, shake.


Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake.


Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake. But mainly because I think someone in the family might have got away with murder. Am I in-laws? Well, they're not exactly thrilled about it. You are.


Deconstructing an age-old story. We're going to be more traumatized by this podcast than we were about the murder, I'll tell you that.


There is going to be blowback. I'm Tristan Redman, and from Wondry and Pineapple Street Studios, this is Ghost Story, a podcast about the.


Things that.


Come back to Haunt Us. Follow Ghost Story on the Wondry app or wherever you get your podcasts. You can binge all episodes of Ghost Story ad-free right now by joining Wondry Plus. Gary Deboard had it all. A successful career as a Hollywood screenwriter, a beautiful wife, his dream home, good friends. But everything changed the night of June.


27th, 1997.


I didn't understand that people go missing this way. It's a very odd thing. You have no idea what it's like to lose a human being on your watch.


When Wendy Devor's husband, Gary, disappeared without a trace, it was as if he'd been sucked into one of his own espionage thrillers.


I had the biggest action stars in Hollywood searching for my husband.


But no one knows what happened to him or the screenplay he was about to direct.


Gary told me that this script was going to blow the lid off the CIA.


From Campside Media and Sony Music Entertainment, listen to Witness, Fade to Black, the mysterious disappearance of Gary Divore and the rise of the CIA in Hollywood. Available now wherever you get your podcasts. Criminalologists say that when a person goes missing, the first 72 hours are critical. It's when clues are the freshest and when victims of foul play are more likely to still be alive. Experienced investigators know that they're working against the clock in this early period, and each passing moment simply increases the odds that a loved one will never be found alive again. Since Wendy had reported Gary missing, authorities had seemingly done everything except to actually look for Gary. They've gone from suspecting Wendy to suspecting Wendy and her friend Phil Convest have gotten rid of him together. And now they were preparing Wendy for another possibility.


As the FBI told me when they came in, very few men go missing. And when they do, the highest percentage of them go missing on their own accord because they can, and they want out of whatever their life is.


And so the authorities started to dig hard into Gary's past, his marriages and his well-earned reputation as a player. A million different ways they asked, could it be that he had left Wendy for another woman? Phil, who was present for the whole ordeal, remembers feeling strongly that cheating wasn't a likely scenario for Gary.


I'm not.




This because I go back 100 years with Wendy and became pretty close to Gary. Over the time I knew him. There was no affair. There was nothing like that.


He found Wendy.


And that was then, believe it or not, Yeah. It's true. It's 100 % concrete in my mind. And whenever people brought it up to me at that time, I said, it's just not possible. No, he had decided, it was a decision he made. He had decided that I was what he had been looking for all of his life, and he was not going to fuck this up.


Faced with the questions of whether she might be wrong about Gary being loyal, it occurred to Wendy why she was never jealous. If Gary had a double life, it had been his obsession with work. But after that drive into the mountains with Director John Irvine, the call from government security specialist Frank Thordwald, and especially that visit from CIA Officer Chase Brandon, Wendy was now looking at Gary's career as a screenwriter in a very different light. Had she missed something? The fact is, if you hold Gary's early career up to scrutiny, there are some oddities worth zooming in on. Small, weird things that could, if you squint, at least point to the possibility of a secret life, like his entry into Hollywood. In his 20s, Gary Divore got his first writing job on The Dating Game. It was on the staff of this show that Gary met his oldest friend, David Devin. He also met another long-time friend, the dating game's producer and creator, Chuck Baris. Baris is famous for hosting The Gong Show, a fixture of daytime TV in the '70s. It was a live performance competition game show like The Voice, except the performers all seemed to be crazy people living out of their cars.


And the joy of the show was in seeing them gonged off of it and into oblivion by the judges. And this is the other reason people remember Chuck Berris.


Eddie Harvard, a.


Deep secret. I was a paid Assassin for the CIA. In 1984, Chuck Berris published his memoir, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, in which he claimed that while revolutionizing American TV with game shows that pushed the boundaries of sexual inuendo and bad taste, he was also working as a secret CIA hitman.


It's The Gong Show. It's a perfect cover, TV producer by.




Cia operative at night. Think of it as a hobby.


That's George Clooney playing CIA operative Jim Bird in 2002's Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. The film was Clooney's directorial debut based on Chuck Berris' book. Wendy had never really considered Berris' claims to have been a CIA hitman, but as she reviewed her past with Gary, she did remember something that seemed strange. At their first coffee together.


He said, I have someone that you have to meet. And the first person he had me meet was Chuck Berris.


Naturally, they all met at The Ivy, the L. A. Power player hotspot for meals and deals.


Everybody was at The Ivy at that time. We went in to The Ivy one night and they moved a table of people to give him his favorite table. He was very interesting. He was nothing like the game show guy. Nothing. He had an entirely different personality, very bright.


But to Wendy, that initial encounter Gary arranged with Chuck Berris felt strange, like he was assessing her.


And it was like I was being approved.


At the time, Wendy perceived all of her meetings with Gary and Chuck Berris as simply part of his Hollywood life. But since that visit from CIA Officer Chase Brandon, Gary's relationship with Berris began to look very different.


Later, when all of this stuff started to emerge and then the book was out that Chuck had written, I started to put things together in a different way. I didn't know if I was right. But Gary was always in touch with him. And when he spoke to Chuck, sometimes he needed total privacy.


And then there was Gary's first produced film, Dogs of War. It features Christopher Walkin leading a double-life as an amateur birdwatcher and secret hitman. Birdwatching is a quiet business. How would you know?


You're not CIA, are you? Well, you're hardly KGB.


Thanks for the drink. You are.


A fucking CIA.


The script was based on a novel and Gary was hired to rewrite it. He didn't originate the story. Still, how was it his first film just happened to be about a secret hitman? But it was the car trip with John Irvine that truly haunted her. Wendy had always seen John as one of Gary's closest Hollywood friends as a protector.


Yeah, John Irvine was literally one of Gary's most important friends. I mean, they were connected all the time when one wasn't on location.


Wendy had viewed the socializing they did as part of Gary's job in the Hollywood dream factory. At the same time, she knew Gary tried to be different. To distinguish his fictional writing and scripts about crime and tough guys, Gary did serious research. He read books, sought out reporters, and government sources. When Wendy met Gary, he described himself as working almost like a journalist.


When I first moved in with him, he said to me, You're going to get calls, you're going to pick up the phone, and now and then you're going to get a call from the CIA, from the New York Times. He made it sound very generalized, and he said, Because I call and I write and ask for information for my books, and I never thought another thing about it.


Until now, given the warning from John Irvine and the odd visit from Chase Brandon, Wendy was really taking what the police said to heart about Gary having a possible double life, or at least she wasn't able to completely dismiss it. But if Gary really had been living a secret life, she still didn't feel it involved another woman. The answers, in Wendy's opinion, had to lay hidden somewhere in Gary's intense connection to his work. In the hours and days following his disappearance, Wendy had spent some time alone in Gary's office. He had.


This gigantic setup in one of the rooms he used as an office overlooking the ocean and the beach.


And she began to see it in another way.


And he had that divided into two sides, which I now understand what the two sides were. One was the writer and the other was his other life.


Whatever suspicions Wendy was having, she didn't vocalize any of them until Phil and David returned from their fruitless search in the desert. A college roommate named Jean had arrived that day from Austin to support Wendy and was helping to prepare dinner. Jean was only half listening, but as the group debriefed about the search and Wendy shared the story of her very weird visit from an emotional CIA officer, Jean perked up. She hadn't seen this CIA officer arrive and didn't know he was in the house when she'd gone into Gary's office to get something from her suitcase, which she'd left in there. Expecting the office to be empty, Jean had instead come upon Chase Brandon. Remember, Brandon had shown up, claiming to be distraught, and asked if he could have a moment alone in Gary's office to collect himself. Today, some 26 years later, Jean still recalls the odd encounter, as she described it to Wendy.


I walked in there and he was bent over the desk. He had his back to me when I walked in, and I thought it was odd at the time. I think I surprised him because I just walked in and he was looking at Geary's computer. And I didn't say a whole lot until I got what I wanted and then turned around and walked out.


We asked her if Chase seemed upset.


No, he seemed surprised. Somebody asked me that. Some detective asked me that question. I remember saying no. To me, he looked like he had not been crying. He looked surprised.


Wendy went into Gary's office as soon as she heard Jean's account. Nobody had looked at or touched anything in there since Chase left, but Gary's computer had been turned on and it had crashed.


It was frozen and it said, are you sure you want to delete the big steal? That's right, to erase to delete the big steal. That was what was on the computer after Chase Brandon left.


To Wendy, it looked like the CIA and the person of Chase, Brandon, apparently rifle through Gary's desktop machine. His technical skills were wanting too. The entire computer had crashed and the hard drive was rendered unreadable. Wendy immediately called Government Security Specialist Frank Thurwalt, who remembers trying to recover Gary's data. I was working with Wendy to try to get into the computer and couldn't get into it. And this visit from CIA Officer Chase Brandon still bothers Thorewald today. And the things that have concerned me that I've never been able to come up with answers for, regarded Chase Brandon, he said he needed a moment because he was tearing up about Gary. And somebody, in my view, who has held those kinds of positions does not tear up over something like that. It's just not something that's going to happen. Why had a CIA officer shown up and used Crocadile tears to gain entry to Gary's office, allegedly, Ransack his computer and steal his screenplay? Well, that screenplay that Gary was adapting, the producers wanted him to set in Panama, and that he bragged to people would blow the lid off the CIA. It turns out that Wendy's mysterious visitor from the agency, Chase Brandon, had made his bones in the CIA as a clandestine officer in Panama.


Gary wrote the script on Panama, and it did have classified information. He should never have written it.


That's next time on Fade to Black. Witnessed Fade to Black is a production of campside Media and Sony Music Entertainment, an association with Stowaway Entertainment. The series was co-created, written, and reported by Evan Wright and Megan Donis. Megan Donis is the senior producer and Sheba Joseph is the associate producer. The executive producers are Evan Wright, Jeff Singer, and me, Josh Dean. Niall Kassin is the consulting producer. Studio recording by Ewin Light-Tramuyn, Blake Rook, and Sheba Joseph. Sound design, mixing, and original music by Mark McAdam and Erica Wang. Additional engineering by Blake Rook. Additional music by APM and Blue Dot Sessions. Additional field recording by Devin Schwartz. Fact-checking by Amanda Feinman. Special thanks to our operations team, Doug Slawin, Destiny Dingle, Ashley Warren, and Sabina Mara. The executive producers at Campside Media are Vanessa Gagoyadis, Adam Hoff, Matt Chair, and me, Josh Dean. If you like the show, please take a minute to rate and review it, which really does help other people find it. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next time.


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