CLOSE

Paul McCartney's First Girlfriend

Dorothy "Dot" Rhone, a quiet girl from Liverpool, England, grew up with an emotionally distant mother and an abusive father who drank. She was terribly shy, introverted, and withdrawn, and she thought her nose was too big, going so far as to sleep with a clothes pin hooked on it in the sad hope that it might make her nose smaller.

One person, though, did think she was pretty. His name was Paul McCartney.

In 1959, when she was 16, Dot attended a gig at the "Casbah Club" featuring a teenage group who called themselves "The Quarreymen." (It wasn't until the next year that the Quarreymen would change their name to the Beatles.) She struck up a conversation with Paul, the band's best-looking member, and eventually they began dating.

Because of Dot's shy, withdrawn personality, she was easily dominated by Paul, who set down his rules loud and clear.

Although Paul could (and would) see other girls, he forbade Dot from seeing any other guys. Paul was a chronic smoker, but no cigarettes were allowed for Dot. He made her dye her hair blond, a la his sexual fantasy girl, actress Brigitte Bardot, and made her wear short, tight miniskirts. He told her how to wear her makeup. Paul was so controlling, he even told her she had to drop her girl friends. Dot, in love and very malleable, agreed to Paul's authoritarian rules.

"We got Dot to go blonde and wear miniskirts. It's terrible really. But that's the way it was," recalled Paul.

It wasn't all bad with Paul. Dot also remembers a kind, caring side.

Dot, who often hung out at Paul's happier home, recalls watching him sing old-time Dixie-style songs with his brother. She told Paul of her sad childhood and life and found him to be very caring and compassionate. Paul opened up to her about his own worst tragedy, his mother's death in 1956. Dot recalls flipping through a religious book with Paul and coming upon a picture of Jesus. "Paul said it looked just like his mother," she remembered.

Dot was impressed by Paul's generosity, remembering him once shelling out several weeks wages to buy her a very expensive leather coat. For Valentine's Day, Paul gave her a special handmade card.

Sometime in 1961, Dot got pregnant.

Paul's very conservative father forbade them giving up the baby for adoption, and a wedding was planned. Paul bought his expectant girlfriend a gold engagement ring and was ready to "do the right thing." But fate intervened, and Dot miscarried after three months. The wedding was cancelled. (If Dot had given birth, the entire history of the Beatles would, of course, have been changed.)

Dot was never to forget the sight of Paul bringing her a batch of flowers and comforting her after he heard about the miscarriage.

Dot became good friends with John Lennon's girlfriend, Cynthia Powell. Cyn was to remember Dot as "a gentle soul who blushed frequently." The two would go incognito to watch their boyfriends play at local gigs around Liverpool.

When the band went off to play in Hamburg, Germany, Paul wrote to Dot almost every day. (The song "P.S. I Love You," the B-side of the first Beatles record, was written about Dot.)

Dot and Cynthia went to visit the boys in Hamburg, and both would recall the sight of their two boyfriends running madly to welcome them and show them the local Hamburg sights. Dot and Paul lived together in Hamburg in a cabin on a houseboat. About these happy days, Dot remembered the two of them being "very cuddly, lovely, close."

But still, in spite of the generally happy times, the young couple would sometimes have very furious fights.

By the summer of 1962, with the Beatles on the brink of national fame, Paul decided to call it quits with Dot.

Cynthia remembered the sad night -- a girls night hanging out, no guests expected, with Dot decked out in a baggy sweater with curlers in her hair. Out of the blue, Paul pounded on the door and informed Dot their three year relationship was over. He stalked off, leaving Dot in a state of shock.

The reason for Paul's abrupt severing of the relationship is a bit nebulous; some say Dot was pressing for marriage and Paul didn't want that. Dot was devastated, and it took her months to recover from the shock. She joined the civil service, hoping to escape Paul's memory, but unfortunately, the Beatles soon hit it big and "it was Beatles, Beatles, Beatles," said Dot.

Shortly thereafter, Dot decided to leave Liverpool and make a new life for herself.

She moved to Canada and met her future husband within four days.

Dot was to see Paul again briefly when the Beatles played a gig in Toronto in 1965. Many years later, when Paul's group Wings played the Maple Leaf Garden, Paul invited his ex-girlfriend to attend and sent a Rolls Royce to pick up Dot, her husband, and her daughter.

After the concert, Paul and Dot got a chance to talk, and Paul answered many questions Dot had about their time together. According to her friend Sandra, this meeting with Paul helped Dot tremendously and provided answers to questions she had carried for more than 40 years.

"When she met Paul again, the ghost was laid," said Sandra.

At last, Dot Rhone, Paul McCartney's first girlfriend, had achieved her own closure.

Original image
Magnolia Pictures
arrow
Lists
8 Gonzo Facts About Hunter S. Thompson
Original image
Hunter S. Thompson in Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson (2008)
Magnolia Pictures

Like any real-life legend, there are many myths surrounding the life and work of Hunter S. Thompson. But in Thompson’s case, most of those stories—particularly the more outlandish ones—are absolutely true. The founder of the “Gonzo journalism” movement is one of the most fascinating figures of the 20th century. In celebration of what would have been his 80th birthday, here are some things you might not have known about the eccentric writer.

1. HE WAS NAMED AFTER A FAMOUS SCOTTISH SURGEON.

Hunter S. Thompson was reportedly named after one of his mother’s ancestors, a Scottish surgeon named Nigel John Hunter. But Hunter wasn't just your run-of-the-mill surgeon. In a 2004 interview with the Independent, Thompson brought along a copy of The Reluctant Surgeon, a Biography of Nigel John Hunter, a biography of his namesake, which read: "A gruff Scotsman, Hunter has been described as the most important naturalist between Aristotle and Darwin, the Shakespeare of medicine and the greatest man the British ever produced. He was the first to trace the lymphatic system. He performed the first human artificial insemination. He was the greatest collector of anatomical specimens in history. He prescribed the orthopaedic shoe that allowed Lord Byron to walk."

When pressed about what that description had to do with him, Thompson responded: "Well, I guess that might be the secret of my survival. Good genes."

2. HE MISSED HIS HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION … BECAUSE HE WAS IN JAIL.

Just a few weeks before he was set to graduate from high school, at the age of 17, Thompson was charged as an accessory to robbery and sentenced to 60 days in jail. 

“One night Ralston Steenrod, who was in the Athenaeum with Hunter, was driving, and Hunter and another guy he knew were in the car,” Thompson’s childhood friend Neville Blakemore recalled of the incident. “As they were driv­ing through Cherokee Park, the other guy said, ‘Stop. I want to bum a ciga­rette from that car.’ People used to go park and neck at this spot. And the guy got out and apparently went back and mugged them. The guy who was mugged got their license number and traced the car, and within a very short time they were all three arrested.

“Just before this Hunter had been blamed for a nighttime gas-station rob­bery,” Blakemore added, “and before that he and some friends got arrested for buying booze under­age at Abe's Liquor Store on Frankfort Avenue by the tracks. So Hunter had a record, and he was already on probation. He was given an ultimatum: jail or the military. And Hunter took the Air Force. He didn't graduate with his class.”

3. IT WAS A FELLOW JOURNALIST WHO COINED THE TERM “GONZO.”

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

While covering the 1968 New Hampshire primary, Thompson met fellow writer and editor Bill Carodoso, editor of The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, which is where Thompson first heard him use the word “Gonzo.” “It meant sort of ‘crazy’ or ‘off-the-wall,’” Thompson said in Anita Thompson’s Ancient Gonzo Wisdom: Interviews with Hunter S. Thompson. Two years later, in June 1970, Thompson wrote an article for Scanlan’s Monthly entitled “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved,” which became a game-changing moment in journalism because of its offbeat, slightly manic style that was written with first-person subjectivity.

Among the many fellow journalists who praised Thompson for the piece was Cardoso, who sent a letter to Thompson that “said something like, ‘Forget all the sh*t you’ve been writing, this is it; this is pure Gonzo.’ Gonzo. Yeah, of course. That’s what I was doing all the time. Of course, I might be crazy.” Thompson ran with the word, and would use it himself for the first time a year later, in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

4. HE TYPED OUT FAMOUS NOVELS TO LEARN THE ART OF WRITING.

In order to get the “feel” of being a writer, Thompson used to retype his favorite novels in full. “[H]is true model and hero was F. Scott Fitzgerald,” Louis Menand wrote in The New Yorker. “He used to type out pages from The Great Gatsby, just to get the feeling, he said, of what it was like to write that way, and Fitzgerald’s novel was continually on his mind while he was working on Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which was published, after a prolonged and agonizing compositional nightmare, in 1972.”

"If you type out somebody's work, you learn a lot about it,” Thompson told Charlie Rose in 1997. “Amazingly it's like music. And from typing out parts of Faulkner, Hemingway, Fitzgerald—these were writers that were very big in my life and the lives of the people around me—so yeah, I wanted to learn from the best I guess."

5. HE RAN FOR SHERIFF IN COLORADO.

In 1970, Thompson ran for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado on what he called the Freak Power ticket. Among his political tactics: shaving his head so that he could refer to his opponent as his “long-haired opponent,” promising to eat mescaline while on duty, and campaigning to rename Aspen “Fat City” to deter "greed heads, land-rapers, and other human jackals from capitalizing on the name 'Aspen.'" Unfortunately, he lost.

6. HE STOLE A MEMENTO FROM ERNEST HEMINGWAY.

In 1964, three years after Ernest Hemingway committed suicide at his cabin in Ketchum, Idaho, Thompson traveled to the late author’s home in order to write “What Lured Hemingway to Ketchum?” While there, according to his widow, Hunter “got caught up in the moment” and took “a big pair of elk horns over the front door.” Last year, more than a decade after Thompson’s death, Anita returned the antlers to the Hemingway family—which is something she and Hunter had always planned to do. “They were warm and kind of tickled … they were so open and grateful, there was no weirdness,” Anita said.

7. HE ONCE USED THE INSIDE OF MUSICIAN JOHN OATES’ COLORADO CABIN AS HIS PERSONAL PARKING SPACE.

Magnolia Pictures

Earlier this month, musician John Oates—the latter half of Hall & Oates—shared a story about his ranch in Woody Creek, Colorado, just outside of Aspen, which is currently on the market for $6 million. In an interview with Colorado Public Radio, Oates recalled how when he first purchased the cabin, there was a red convertible parked inside. “I happened to ask the real estate agent who owned the convertible, and he said ‘your neighbor Hunter Thompson,’” Oates said. “Why is he keeping his car in a piece of property he doesn’t own? The real estate agent looked at me and said ‘It’s Woody Creek, you’ll figure this out. It’s a different kind of place.’” After sending several letters to his neighbor to retrieve his vehicle, Oates took matters into his own hands and deposited the car on Thompson’s lawn. Oates said that the two became friends, but never mentioned the incident.

8. AT HIS FUNERAL, HIS ASHES WERE SHOT OUT OF A CANNON.

On February 20, 2005—at the age of 67—Thompson committed suicide. But Thompson wasn’t about to leave this world quietly. In August of that year, in accordance with his wishes, Thompson's ashes were shot into the air from a cannon while fireworks filled the sky.

“He loved explosions," his widow, Anita, told ESPN, which wrote that, “The private celebration included actors Bill Murray and Johnny Depp, rock bands, blowup dolls and plenty of liquor to honor Thompson, who killed himself six months ago at the age of 67.”

Original image
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images
arrow
entertainment
15 Memorable Quotes from George A. Romero
Original image
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Hollywood has lost one of its most iconic horror innovators with the death of George A. Romero, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 77. “He died peacefully in his sleep, following a brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer, and leaves behind a loving family, many friends, and a filmmaking legacy that has endured, and will continue to endure, the test of time,” his manager, Chris Roe, said in a statement.

Though he rose to prominence as the master of zombie flicks, beginning with Night of the Living Dead, Romero honed his filmmaking skills on a far less frightening set: shooting bits for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

“I still joke that 'Mr. Rogers Gets a Tonsillectomy' is the scariest film I’ve ever made,” Romero once said. “What I really mean is that I was scared sh*tless while I was trying to pull it off.” (Rogers returned the favor by being a longtime champion of Romero’s work—and even called Dawn of the Dead “a lot of fun.”)

It’s that high-spirited sense of fun that made Romero’s work so iconic—and kept the New York City native busy for nearly 50 years. To celebrate his life and career, here are 15 of his most memorable quotes on everything from the humanity of zombies to the horror of Hollywood producers.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A SENSE OF HUMOR

“For a Catholic kid in parochial school, the only way to survive the beatings—by classmates, not the nuns—was to be the funny guy.”

ON THE HOLLYWOOD WAY

“If I fail, the film industry writes me off as another statistic. If I succeed, they pay me a million bucks to fly out to Hollywood and fart.”

ON BEING PIGEONHOLED

“As a filmmaker you get typecast just as much as an actor does, so I'm trapped in a genre that I love, but I'm trapped in it!”

ON ZOMBIES AS A METAPHOR

“I also have always liked the monster within idea. I like the zombies being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters.”

ON FINDING OBJECTIVITY AS A FILMMAKER

“There are so many factors when you think of your own films. You think of the people you worked on it with, and somehow forget the movie. You can't forgive the movie for a long time. It takes a few years to look at it with any objectivity and forgive its flaws.”

ON THE REAL VALUE OF THE INTERNET

“What the Internet's value is that you have access to information but you also have access to every lunatic that's out there that wants to throw up a blog.”

ON THE HORROR OF DEALING WITH PRODUCERS

“I'll never get sick of zombies. I just get sick of producers.”

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF COLLABORATION

“Collaborate, don’t dictate.”

ON THE BEAUTY OF LOW-BUDGET MOVIEMAKING

“I don't think you need to spend $40 million to be creepy. The best horror films are the ones that are much less endowed.”

ON HUMANS BEING THE REAL VILLAINS

“My zombies will never take over the world because I need the humans. The humans are the ones I dislike the most, and they're where the trouble really lies.”

ON BEING IMMUNE TO TRENDS

“Somehow I've been able to keep standing and stay in my little corner and do my little stuff and I'm not particularly affected by trends or I'm not dying to make a 3-D movie or anything like that. I'm just sort of happy to still be around.”

ON THE HUMANITY OF HORROR

“My stories are about humans and how they react, or fail to react, or react stupidly. I'm pointing the finger at us, not at the zombies. I try to respect and sympathize with the zombies as much as possible.”

ON THE ENDURING APPEAL OF HORROR

“If one horror film hits, everyone says, 'Let's go make a horror film.' It's the genre that never dies.”

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF SURROUNDING ZOMBIES WITH STUPID PEOPLE

“A zombie film is not fun without a bunch of stupid people running around and observing how they fail to handle the situation.”

ON LIFE AFTER DEATH

“I'm like my zombies. I won't stay dead!”

SECTIONS

More from mental floss studios