You’ve probably heard of Bonnie and Clyde, but have you heard of Bonnie and Roy?
This month marks the 79th anniversary of the deaths of notorious crime duo Bonnie and Clyde on May 23, 1934. The young gangsters in love tore across the American Southwest during the Great Depression, leaving a trail of robberies and murders.
Newspapers demonized Clyde Barrow and his “gunwoman” Bonnie Parker as “notorious desperados” and “dangerous killers,” so the following six facts might surprise you.
1. Although Barrow and Parker claimed to be married, Parker remained legally married to her first husband, Roy Thornton. On the day she died, she still wore his wedding ring and bore a tattoo on her knee with intertwined hearts and their names, Bonnie and Roy.
2. Bonnie and Clyde were both short. Parker was only 4’11″ and Barrow 5’4″ at a time when average heights for women and men were about 5’3″ and 5’8″. (Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, who played Bonnie and Clyde in the famous 1967 film stood 5’7″ and 6’2″ respectively.)
3. Parker was an honor student and a poet, and life as one of America’s most wanted didn’t stifle those interests. Shortly before her death, Parker wrote a poem called “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde,” which was published in several newspapers and immortalized their tale.
4. Parker and Barrow remained close to their families, even on the run. In fact, it was their predictable pattern of stopping to visit family that aided the team of Texas Rangers and deputies who ambushed and killed them.
5. The pair attained such notoriety that hordes of people flocked to the scene of their death and later to the coroner’s to retrieve “souvenirs.” Some attempted to cut off Barrow’s ear or finger; others took snippets of Parker’s blood-soaked dress or shattered window glass. One man offered Barrow’s father over $30,000 for Barrow’s body—the equivalent of over $600,000 today.
6. Eight decades later, the morbidly curious can see Bonnie and Clyde’s bullet-ridden death car on display at Whiskey Pete’s Casino in Primm, Nevada, outside of Las Vegas.