Conclusion of the Sid Levy Trial, Benefactor of Showgirl Rosemary Williams Who Kubrick Had Photographed in 1949

Go to Table of Contents of the analysis (which has also a statement on purpose and manner of analysis and a disclaimer as to caveat emptor and my knowing anything authoritatively, which I do not, but I do try to not know earnestly, with some discretion, and considerable thought).

We'll start out with some photos of Rosemary when she was less notorious and was being photographed by Stanley for the LOOK article that never ran. We're in the apartment she shared with other showgirls/models, dressed in bra, panties and slippers with pompoms, seated on a radiator she grooms her hair beside a rolling bar cart filled with glittering bottles and glasses. Everything is in place for a wonderful photo but it needs the glue of the right eye to pull it all together, which Kubrick does.

From the Online Museum of the City of New York collection of Kubrick photos
Showgirl Rosemary Williams, 1949

We can see that an alternate, similar shot of Rosemary seated on the living room radiator hasn't the same magic. The slip Rosemary wears is too much a block of white against the window and looks almost frumpy. The shopping spree boxes seem to be too much clutter, whereas the single dislocated panel leaning against the wall in the above photo contributes a sense of mystery. Why is it sitting there?

From the Online Museum of the City of New York collection of Kubrick photos
Showgirl Rosemary Williams, 1949

The camera loved Rosemary, and Kubrick photographed her in a style far more cinematic and embracing than with which he approached the majority of his subjects.

From the Online Museum of the City of New York collection of Kubrick photos
Showgirl Rosemary Williams, 1949

Rosemary seated on the radiator is one of my favorites, as is Rosemary, in the above photo, holding the cup of coffee, in one hand, cigarette in the other, a gesture of smoke before her mouth. Two others I'm especially fond of show Rosemary having a dinner drink with a companion. The first photo is lovely for its blurred action and animation. Another photo shows a very different Rosemary settled into her seat, brain working away behind that face. She almost looks like a scheming Vivian Leigh. I don't know if Rosemary had acting chops or not, there's more to cinema and stage than a face or even acting ability, but a number of Kubrick's photos of her project screen charisma. Did she have the voice? How did that photographic charisma do when she had to move around? Could she make a character come alive?

From the Online Museum of the City of New York collection of Kubrick photos
Showgirl Rosemary Williams, 1949

From the Online Museum of the City of New York collection of Kubrick photos
Showgirl Rosemary Williams, 1949

Was Kubrick influenced by Rosemary when he cast The Killing? When I watch Colleen Gray with Sterling Hayden, I get glimpses of Rosemary. Or am I seeing the then popular mask of the make-up of the time? But, oddly enough, the man embracing Rosemary also reminds of Sterling Hayden.

From the Online Museum of the City of New York collection of Kubrick photos
Showgirl Rosemary Williams, 1949

When I watch Tracy Reed in Dr. Strangelove, I get a glimpse of Rosemary in a mirror shot, wearing a bikini. Not that Tracy looks like Rosemary, she doesn't. One scene simply reminds me of the other.

From the Online Museum of the City of New York collection of Kubrick photos
Showgirl Rosemary Williams, 1949

That shot of Rosemary applying lipstick is from the photo shoot in which Kubrick famously captured himself in the mirror alongside and behind her. There are a number of images from that shoot, including several of Rosemary with a bearded man in rolled up pants and saddle shoes who was photographing her. A photographer photographing a photographer.

From the Online Museum of the City of New York collection of Kubrick photos
Showgirl Rosemary Williams, 1949

This is a shot by the bearded photographer that came out of that session. Cheesecake rather than documentary, it is what it is, what it is supposed to be, what that photographer was being paid to capture.

But the photograph that everyone remembers is the one behind the scenes, Kubrick photographing himself in the mirror with Rosemary while she applies her makeup.

From the Online Museum of the City of New York collection of Kubrick photos
Showgirl Rosemary Williams, 1949

For Kubrick to photograph himself with a subject was highly unusual. His photographs of the studio shoot include no images of the other photographer actually taking pictures of Rosemary--Kubrick gives us photos of the other photographer speaking with her, taking light readings, adjusting her bikini with clothes pins, but no pictures from Kubrick of the actual photo taking. Kubrick seems to reserve that territory for himself, photographing himself photographing Rosemary in the dressing room, as if to say, "I'm the photographer here."

Then Rosemary met Sid Levy. Scandal resulted, after which the lights no longer graced Rosemary.

The below news article gives an earlier date for Sid's introduction to Rosemary than in the Life article that stated they met in spring of 1950. The news article instead relates she met Sid in 1949, the year Stanley took these photos of her.

To make clearer the financial reality of the cost of the gifts Rosemary received from Sid, which earned him the nickname "Broadway's Biggest Chump", I've added in brackets in the news article what the dollar amounts would be today. Not listed in the article below is the price of the Cadillac that Sid also gave Rosemary, but it was mentioned in the Life article as $5000, equivalent to $43,791.

In a way, what's more amazing than Sid swindling $53,000 [$466,098] out of people for the purpose of lavishing Rosemary with gifts, is the fact Rosemary was living in a $24 a month apartment in New York that would be $211 today. If anything makes one's head explode, it's that. $211 for an apartment in New York.

NO SHMO-DOUGH FOR ME - MICKEY-- Roommate Raps Judge's "Unkindness" to Rosemary

by Martin A. Bursten

Sunday Herald, Feb 3 1952

New York (Special to the Herald) -- "Broadway's Biggest Chum" didn't palm off any of his ill-gotten $53,000 [$466,098.00] on her, Muriel "Mickey" Miller, beautiful Bridgeport, Conn., showgirl, angrily asserted yesterday.

Mickey, her curves undulating indignantly, told the Herald she didn't get a $250 [$2198] fur coat and an undescribed $110 [$967] "operation" from the "chump," accused swindler Sidney Levy.

Levy's claim that he staked Mickey out to the coat and surgery came in the testimony of a sensational Supreme Court trial here in which Mickey's roommate, Rosemarie Williamson, got $2500 [$21,985] from an insurance company.

She sued the firm, the Northwestern Fire Marine Insurance Co., to recover $3800 [$33,148] for a mink coat and a diamond ring stolen from her soon after Levy bestowed them on her.


Rosemarie, Mickey's sister chorus girl in Mike Todd's musical, "Peep Show," was named by Levy as the recipient of the $53,000 he had swindled to woo her.

Levy, who during the trial had earned the characterization of "Broadway's Biggest Chump," claimed that the whole project was hardly worth while since Rosie's affections were grudgingly and meagerly proffered.

While on the stand, Levy, a $75 [$659] a week textile salesman who had painlessly extracted $40,000 [$351,722] from two equally painless New York dentists in a mythical nylon deal, asserted he brought Mickey a $250 fur coat and had paid for her $110 operation. Mickey angrily denied the allegation.


"Why, the ----" she stormed. "He sent me a kidskin coat as a gift on the opening night of 'Peep Show' and paid for it with a rubber check. I had to pay it off myself. And I hate the coat."

As for the operation for which Levy paid, Mickey could also explain that easily. "He gave me the money in repayment for an old debt," she said.

Did Mickey at any time suspect that the diamonds, furs, a heliotrope Cadillac convertible and sundry other items dear to the impressionable heart of a chorine, which Sad Sid had lavished on Rosie, were paid for out of stolen funds?

"Certainly not. He told us his father was rich, and had set him up in a textile business which some days brought him four-figure profits.

"He even bragged to me that he lost as much as $10,000 in one day at the race track."

Mickey told The Herald that the whole fantastic story "has been vastly distorted."


She was sharing a $24-a-month [$211] apartment at 904 Third Av. with Rosemarie during the Summer of 1949. Mickey had a spot in the chorus of "As the Girls Go," and Rosie was modeling for a photographer named Leo Fuchs.

During one of Rosie's visits to the photographer's studio, she was introduced to the nattily-attired and smooth Sid Levy, who said he was in the textile business.

It was then and there that the susceptible Sidney fell for the "body beautiful."

"He didn't pose as being rich at first," the Bridgeport beauty added. "But after we knew him a little while and he was rushing Rosemarie more and more, he told us that his father was a rich manufacturer who had finally set him up in business."

Sid's story was different. He testified under oath that he never professed to such wealth. He claimed that he took to thievery when he sensed that the shapely Texas-born brunette's interest in him was waning.


He said he didn't want to be bracketed with Rosie's other boy friends as a "schlupp." (A wag later wrote on the pressroom blackboard that a "schlupp" was a "shmo without dough." There was no footnote to define "shmo.")

It was Rosie, Sad Sid testified, who introduced him to a dentist for the purpose of getting him to invest in a phony black market nylon deal. He took the unsuspecting dentist for $18,000 [$158,297] plus an introduction to another dentist who kicked in an additional $22,000 [$193,474].


He used the proceeds, he sadly recounted, to fan the flame of true love, lavishing upon Rosie an $8000 [$70,354] diamond-and-emerald ring; a number-two diamond ring worth a mere $2800 [$24,624] (for use as a spare); a $1500 [$13,191] wrist watch; a $1000 [$6784] marten scarf; a Caddy convertible; a mink coat, and oodles of other luxuriously interesting items.

Then came the time when Sid's lode petered out. By a curious coincidence so did Rosie's love. He ruefully related to the court that she told him in her delightfully blunt fashion, that without money she considered him a total loss.

She further stated categorically that he was a "creep." The word remained undefined in court.

Then Sad Sid, perceiving his castle of love crashing around his ears, went to the authorities and confessed his wrongdoings.

He was placed on probation with the condition that he would retrieve the merchandise he had showered on Rosie and make restitution to the lambs he had fleeced. His speculations had amounted to $53,000, including $40,000 from the dentists and $13,000 from numerous minor touches.

His attempts to retrieve all his gifts from Rosie were not crowned with notable success. Rosie showed a sentimental reluctance to part with the evidences of his affections. She did, however, break down and return part of the stockpile.

In desperation Sad Sid dispatched a muscle man to threaten his erstwhile passion. But cute Rosie was not born yesterday. She invited Sid to her apartment, where she had hidden two detectives in a closet.

When Sidney, over a cup of coffee, admitted that he had employed the muscle man, the two gendarmes emerged from the closet and arrested him. But Rosie softened by the remembrance of a fervid love, did not press charges and Sadder Sid was merely bound over to keep the peace.

Mickey, asked during a recess at the trial, if she had helped engineer the hiding of the detectives, said, "Wait," went into a huddle with Rosie, and came up with an emphatic, "No." Rosie had apparently refreshed her memory.

On Jan. 5 1951, Mickey testified on the stand, she entered the apartment which she and Rosie were sharing and found that it had been ransacked. She immediately called the police.

Rosie later listed a fur coat valued at $3500 [$30,780] and her little old last year's diamond ring, worth $350 [$3078] , as missing. Left behind by the cat burglars were numerous other luxurious adornments.


When Rosemary placed a claim with the Northwestern Marine Insurance Co., officials of the company refused payment on the grounds that the items had been ill-begotten.

At the end of the trial, Justice James B. McNally awarded Rosie $3500  [$30,780] for the coat and ring on the grounds that the showgirl had a "valid contract" with the insurance company.

But after recording the verdict, the Judge had a bucketful of carefully chosen words of denunciation to address to ravishing Rosie.

He denounced her as a "Winter Garden Cleopatra" who had "bewitched and enslaved" the man she later labeled a "creep." He thundered:

"There is no doubt that you knew the funds were not honestly come by. Nevertheless, you took them and used them for your own aggrandizement. It puts you in the same boat with Levy and makes you as morally guilty of larceny as if you had taken the money yourself."

Then the Judge inflicted, what Mickey later told The Herald, was the "unkindest cut of all." He said:

"You have a boy of your own and you would feel badly if he stole something for some girl." He was referring to her seven-year-old son, the issue of a liquidated teen-age marriage in Ohio.

The Judge had further advice. He implored Rosie to "give those things back and you'll be doing what is morally right."

The two dentists indicated they would attach the judgment. They have already filed joint action against Rosie and Sid to recover the money they lost.

Mickey, in her statement to The Herald, said the Judge "was extremely harsh on Rosemary. He shouldn't have brought her kid into this. She loves that baby more than anything else in the world and often goes to Texas where he's staying with her parents, to see him."

Before departing for Cleveland, Ohio, to "visit relatives and get away from it all," Mickey, who is currently employed as a much-sought-after model and TV bit-player, told The Herald::

"If Rosemary is sued by the people Sid robbed, I'll certainly testify in her behalf. What's a friend for, anyway?"

March 2106 transferred to html from an earlier post on Tumblr. Approx 2401 words or about 5 single-spaced pages. An 18 minute read at 130 wpm.

Return to top of page

Go to Table of Contents of the Killer's Kiss analysis

Go to Day of the Fight analysis

The Showgirl as Walter Cartier's Counterpart and Her Relationship to Killer's Kiss. Before the Black Swan and The Fight Kubrick had the boxer Walter Cartier and the showgirl Rosemary Williams.

"The Creep" And The Doll - - 1951 Life Article on Showgirl, Rosemary Williams, Who Had Been Photographed by Kubrick for an Unpublished Look Story in 1949. Wherein Rosemary Williams becomes involved in a scandal.

Rosemary Williams, who Kubrick photographed for a prospective LOOK piece, on What's My Line in 1966, her name then being Maria Kastner

Link to the film TOC page for all the analyses