Life semi-imitates art: Meet a real Hazel FlaggPosted by vp19 on 2012.04.16 at 07:07
Current mood: devious
In "Nothing Sacred," Carole Lombard's character was able to get away with faking her own death. But it looks as if there will be no happy ending for someone who apparently tried a somewhat comparable real-life ruse.
As was the case with Hazel Flagg, it happened in New York state (a bit north of Manhattan), but the similarities end there. The goal wasn't to get a free trip, but to get an array of wedding freebies totaling several thousand dollars. The "malady" wasn't radium poisoning, but leukemia. And instead of ending with relocation to an unknown tropical locale, this real-life Hazel could ultimately be bound for jail.
Here's the tale of Jessica Vega.
That's Jessica slightly more than two years ago, in happier (or should we say sadder) times. She was being fitted for an expensive wedding gown, donated by a local retailer. Other items that were donated for the supposedly doomed bride's marriage to Michael O'Connell ranged from flowers to a honeymoon in Aruba.
There was just one problem: Vega wasn't dying of cancer, despite her short hair indicative of cancer treatment. Heck, there wasn't even a one-time faulty diagnosis (no Charles Winninger here, folks).
Vega soon dropped out of sight after the marriage (she'd already had a daughter by O'Connell). By the fall of 2010, the ruse was exposed.
Last week, a grand jury indicted Vega on five counts of grand larceny and one count of scheming to defraud. Each count carries up to four years in prison. She's currently being held in a county jail after being extradited from Virginia.
O'Connell recently told a New York City paper about her scheme:
"Michael O’Connell said he was preparing for his wedding and his wife’s death, but later found out the preparations for her funeral were no longer necessary. He told the newspaper that a doctor’s note was faked."
Once a feel-good story for the local newspaper, the Times Herald-Record, it has made its way to major news outlets thanks to the recent indictment. The paper reported that people who were taken in by the scam want her to get help, not prison time. Oh, and note that while the couple eventually divorced, they had another child and are living together in Virginia.
I thank Dana Dunbaugh Burnell for alerting me to this story. She notes at the end of her entry on the topic (http://danaburnell.com/2012/04/15/the-w
"So thank you, silly Jessica Vega, for showing us again how life imitates art and for reminding me of this cynical little diamond of a movie. I hope you see it one day, and take note of how Lombard dealt with the situation."
Perhaps Vega should also watch a Lombard film released concurrently with "Nothing Sacred," the 1937 comedy "True Confession," while also deals with the by-product of a life of lies.
This week's LiveJournal header shows Lombard in a scene from the 1928 Pathe drama "Ned McCobb's Daughter," where she had a small supporting role. Alas, this may be as close as we ever get to seeing the film, as it's the last of a number of Lombard silents feared lost.