Cover of Beautiful Bad Girl: the Vicki Morgan Story, by Gordon Basichis
Victoria Lynn Morgan
August 9, 1952
|Died||July 7, 1983 (aged 30)|
|Cause of death||Homicide|
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills|
Victoria Lynn "Vicki" Morgan (August 9, 1952 – July 7, 1983) was an American model who was the mistress of Alfred S. Bloomingdale. The details of their tumultuous relationship became publicly known after Morgan sued Bloomingdale’s estate for palimony in 1982.
Morgan was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Her mother, Constance Laney, was divorced by her father, an Air Force veteran, soon after Vicki was born. Her mother remarried but her new husband died when Vicki was about 9 years old. Vicki and her mother relocated to Montclair, California. At sixteen Morgan was pregnant and dropped out of Chaffey High School to give birth to a son, Todd. Leaving her son with her mother, the 16-year-old Morgan ran away from home in 1968. She found work as an usher at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. She soon married 47-year-old Earl Lamb.
In August 1969, whilst still 17, Morgan met 54-year-old financier Alfred S. Bloomingdale, a married multi-millionaire from the famous department store family in a restaurant in Sunset Strip. Morgan soon became Bloomingdale's mistress, and he would have her watch as he performed BDSM on multiple sex workers. When Morgan was 18, Bloomingdale offered Lamb a large cash payment to end his marriage with Morgan. Morgan now entered a full relationship with Bloomingdale, who set her up in an apartment.
As Bloomingdale's mistress, her social circle would include politicians, businessmen, and the wealthy playboy Bernie Cornfeld. With Bloomingdale's financial support, Morgan lived a lavish lifestyle. In 1973 Bloomingdale's wife, Betsy, learned of Bloomingdale’s affair and told him to break off his relationship with Morgan. He did and Morgan spiraled into depression and poverty.
By 1979, Morgan had been through two more marriages, long periods of sex work, and was a drug addict. That year she entered rehab, where she met Marvin Pancoast, a gay man who was infatuated with Morgan and her stories of the high life she led with Bloomingdale. They vowed to live together once released from rehab.
In 1982, Bloomingdale was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He purportedly told Morgan that he had only two months to live and assured her she would be well cared for and never have to worry about money again.
Palimony and murder
The financial situation for the 30-year-old Morgan quickly turned desperate. To protect herself, she hired the famous Hollywood palimony attorney Marvin Mitchelson to file an $11 million lawsuit ($28.6 million today) for financial compensation as Bloomingdale's mistress. The pre-trial media coverage of the initial complaint revealed details of the couple's sexual relationship that grabbed headlines nationwide, causing particular embarrassment amongst Bloomingdale's friends in Washington D.C. However, when Morgan learned that Mitchelson had dinner and a meeting at the White House with Nancy and Ronald Reagan, Morgan lost trust in Mitchelson, firing him and hiring attorney Robert Steinberg in his place. (Betsy Bloomingdale and Nancy Reagan were known to be best friends.) Later court documents and news stories revealed that she supported herself by selling off the jewelry and the expensive car purchased for her by Bloomingdale. It was later reported that she was preparing to write a tell-all book which was going to name wealthy and powerful politicians and businessmen who had been clients of hers. Bloomingdale died of cancer less than two months after the lawsuit was filed.
In desperate finances, she got in contact with her friend from rehab, Marvin Pancoast. They moved into an apartment together, and she returned to working as a sex worker while he worked odd jobs. Although Pancoast was a homosexual, their relationship was occasionally sexual. Pancoast thought he had contracted HIV and was terminally ill. He was distraught and unstable after his daily counseling sessions were terminated by psychiatrist Dr. Paul Cantalupo.
On the evening of July 7, 1983, less than eleven months after Bloomingdale's death, Pancoast walked into a police station and confessed to murdering Morgan in their apartment. Police found Morgan's body, apparently beaten to death with a baseball bat. Pancoast was sentenced to 26 years-to-life and died in 1991 in Chino, California, while undergoing treatment for AIDS-related illnesses.
Morgan's 1982 palimony lawsuit against Bloomingdale's estate continued on behalf of her son Todd (born c. 1969). Morgan had referred to a contract in which Bloomingdale would have given her $240,000, but instead she was given $40,000. During the trial, the judge ruled the agreement unenforceable as it was for the illegal act of "sex for hire." In December 1984, the jury awarded her estate the remaining $200,000 ($482,000 today).
In popular media
Vicki Morgan's story received considerable print coverage and in 1985 author Gordon Basichis wrote the book Beautiful Bad Girl: The Vicki Morgan Story. In 1990, Dominick Dunne wrote a fictional portrayal of Morgan in his book, An Inconvenient Woman. The story of her life and death was the topic of Vanity Fair Confidential (Season 4, Episode 7: Murder Most Obsessive) which first aired on March 19, 2018.
Her story is mentioned in the 1996 film "The People vs Larry Flynt" in a courtroom scene where Larry is asked about his source of the John Delorean video.
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- "Marvin Pancoast - Orlando Sentinel". articles.orlandosentinel.com. Retrieved 2014-10-18.
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- People vs Larry Flynt, 1996, film
- Beautiful Bad Girl: The Vicki Morgan Story by Gordon Basichis, uPublish.com (2000) ISBN 0-595-12822-X
- An Inconvenient Woman by Dominick Dunne, Ballantine (1991) ISBN 0-345-43053-0
- Vicki by Joyce Milton and Ann Louise Bardach, ISBN 978-0312904463