It was not a building that stays on the news for murders.
The ritzy apartment was located in midtown 34 E. 51St. St. amongst the luxurious shops of 5th avenue. It was the place where sugar daddies, socialites, and nearby residents met and greeted and had liquor.
Who knew, a place like that could see a terrible incident. It happened in June 1929, when frenetic screams of a woman were heard coming from a penthouse. Later it was found out that the screams heard were of Margaret Lawrence, who was Mrs. Gertrude Chalaire’s childhood friend. The beautiful actress of Broadway lived on the highest floor of the building for almost a year.
It is no secret that the 40-year-old actress Lawrence has always been a party woman who enjoyed night-life a bit more than any woman at this age. However, that night, her friend Claire was on edge throughout the day as it was almost 2:00 pm and she didn’t hear a word from Lawrence as she was not answering her calls.
Claire couldn’t resist using the passkey that she had recently got from her friend. On entering, she saw her friend lying on the bed, under a silk sheet as she was in deep slumber.
After trying to wake her up, she saw a small circle right above her breast, over her heart, and a bloodstain on the sheet beneath the body. That was the moment when she found out her best friend was no longer alive.
Not just that, she found a frozen body of a middle-aged male named Louis Bennison lying on the other side of the bed. From his condition, she interpreted that the man had been shot as well.
Like Lawrence, Bennison was a famous star who was featured in several New York stage plays and made his career playing the role of cowboys in silent movies.
She recently got involved with Bennison when her husband’s mother fought her in court for being drunk and acting appropriately in front of her children.
Lawrence and Bennison saw a downfall together that was evident with their apartment’s condition that required many renovations.
Claire revealed to the police that Bennison gave death threats to Lawrence a few days before the death of two when she told him that she didn’t want to continue her relationship with him.
That was the time when Lawrence gave a passkey to her friend, saying “Look in once in a while and keep your eye on us,”
Daily News wrote “Margaret Lawrence is dead, the pitiful victim of her own weaknesses and Bennison is dead, the victim of the cheaper actor’s ego, a weak stomach and the sort of liquor Prohibition have provided.
“It would all be very pathetic if it were not so very common and so very unnecessary.”