Paula Prentiss is an actress that is best for such classic films as 1965’s What’s New Pussycat? and 1975’s The Stepford Wives, as well as her on and off-screen partnership with husband Richard Benjamin. During the early days of Paula’s career, her younger sister Ann made a semi-successful bid to follow in her footsteps. Ann never becomes quite the star that Paula’s during her success, leading to a good deal of jealousy. This professional jealousy may have played some part in the crime that put Ann in jail until her death. Join Facts Verse as we explore how Paul Prentiss is an icon, and her sister couldn’t stand it.
Paula Prentiss was born on March 4, 1938, in San Antonio, Texas. During college, Paula was studying to get into the medical field. However, taking a summer course studying theater arts changed her mind about what she wanted to do with her future. She changed her major to drama and graduated in 1959 with dreams of Hollywood stardom.
Paula earns a degree at Northwestern University, and at that time the actress met the man that become her husband. That man, of course, is Richard Benjamin. Paula met Richard when he was directing a play that she was starring in at the college. The two fell quickly in love, and Paula moved in with him after the two graduated. Before graduating, MGM offers a seven-year contract. Paula and Richard marry because the studio didn’t want the stars living with a man that’s not her husband. Paula debuted on the screen in 1960 with a role in Where the Boys Are.
Paula’s younger sister is Ann, and it isn’t long in Paula’s career that she’s trying to follow in her footsteps. Because of her sister’s name, Ann manages to secure some work on television, though they’re not on the same level. Ann’s career becomes non-existent by the 1990s, and an infamous incident will put Ann back for all the wrong reasons.
In 1997, Ann takes prison for assaulting their father during a domestic incident in the apartment in Beverly Hills. The incident leads to physical, Ann hits her father in the head with a flashlight before shooting a gun. Thankfully, the shot didn’t hit her father. Ann is put in jail and charged with battery and assault with a firearm.
No one knows the reason for the incident that results in Ann’s arrest, things got stranger when in jail. Apparently, Ann attempts to arrange to have her father killed behind bars. Not only try to arrange to kill her father, but also attempts to set the murders of two male relatives. The two other relatives that Ann wants to killed, are Richard Benjamin and his son.
It seems that the universe isn’t on Ann’s side in her quest to kill her father. The failing star ends up being in jail for attempting to arrange the murders. These charges are added to her initial ones when she eventually saw her day in court. Ann punishes with 19 years in prison, though she serves only 12 years before passing away while still inside.
Ann Prentiss sentenced on July 23, 1997, and died on January 12, 2010. She held at the Central California Women’s Facility located in Chowchilla, California. Her death was the result of heart disease and emphysema, and the wannabe star was 70 years old.
It remains a mystery why Ann assaults her father and later attempts to have him. Richard and his son are murder, many conclude that Ann’s targets are only the male members of the family. Ann didn’t have any interest in targeting her sister, though it’s undeniable that she harbors jealousy against her successful sibling.
Ann’s assault on her father and other members of her family becomes major news. It isn’t the first time that one of the Prentiss sisters do something crazy. Later than three decades, Paula make headlines when she attempts suicide in 1965 during the film What’s New Pussycat?. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! Also, subscribe to the channel if you like to be the first to know when Facts Verse uploads videos!
Paula Prentiss is still alive today, and still married to Richard Benjamin! Though the two married since 1961 and remain alive and well. they have had their fair share of bumps in the road. One such bump includes the time in 1965 when Paula attempted suicide after having a mental breakdown on the set of What’s New Pussycat? and had to put in the psychiatric hospital for nine months.
As Paula was appearing on the big screen in the 1960s alongside such major names as Rock Hudson and Steve McQueen, her husband Richard Benjamin had to occupy himself with guest-starring roles on various television series. Richard wouldn’t catch his own big break until later in the decade, after Paula’s suicide attempt and psychiatric stay. The two also began performing together later in the 1960s.
Paula’s mental breakdown and subsequent suicide attempt occurred while she was filming the 1965 film What’s New Pussycat?. According to Paula, she just snapped one day and climbed to a high place on the set and screamed at her coworkers that she was going to jump. By the time they got to her she was allegedly hanging by one arm about to fall.
During Paula’s nine-month psychiatric stay, husband Richard Benjamin allowed visitation. However, he has recalled how Paula was nothing like her true self during this era because of all the medication that she was on. After Paula’s release from the psychiatric hospital, she didn’t return to acting for a little while because she was still undergoing therapy. In 1967, Paula and Richard got a job together starring in a sitcom by the name of He & She.
Before He & She, Paula and Richard were having a hard time with their marriage. The couple rushed into their marriage at the behest of MGM. And there were numerous things that had strained the marriage throughout the 1960s. In addition to Paula having found more success than Richard in her career up until that point, there was also the matter of Paula’s mental breakdown. Though Richard certainly felt for his wife and had done his best to be there for her during the period, it had been difficult for him.
According to Paula, performing alongside her husband on the series He & She proved therapeutic. And is arguably part of what helped their marriage make it through the 1960s. The two continued acting together, making an even more memorable appearance together in the 1970 feature Catch-22. Besides Catch-22, the pair also went on to star together in a 1975 Broadway play named The Normal Conquests, and the 1981 parody film Saturday the 14th. In 1980, Paula Prentiss and Richard Benjamin hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live together, marking one of the very rare occasions that she show hosted by two people. Though things have certainly cooled down in the celebrity couple’s careers, they remain working.
Some recent work that Paula Prentiss can be seen in includes the film I Am the Pretty Things That Lives in the House, which premiered on the Netflix streaming platform in 2016. Paula apparently took on the role due to the director being a friend of the family. Meanwhile, Benjamin has been seen more on television recently, appearing in episodes of the cable series Children’s Hospital and Ray Donovan.
Though Paula and Richard aren’t getting the roles that they used to, they still persevere. This same perseverance is arguably what has allowed the couple to stay married for so long, with the two having recently celebrated their 60th marriage anniversary. Over the course of their six-decade marriage, the couple has had two children. The two waited until 1974 to have their first child, who is a son named Ross. Later, the couple had a daughter, and her name is Prentiss. Both of these children have followed in their parents’ footsteps by making bids to become famous celebrities.
It’s been over two decades since Paula and Richard had to suffer through the incident involving Paula’s younger sister, and it remains uncertain why Ann Prentiss wanted to have Richard and Ross Benjamin murdered, in addition to her father. If Ann had gotten her way, she would’ve put an early end to what has proved to be one of the longest and most successful marriages in Hollywood history. Similarly, if Paula and Richard had given up on their marriage when things were at their toughest during the late 1960s, then they wouldn’t still have each other today. Both of the stars are currently 83 years old. Perhaps, before they pass away, they can shed some light on what Ann’s motivations were!
Although Ann Prentiss never became quite as big of a star as her sister, she ended up becoming a much more notable figure later on in life for the unusual crimes that she committed against her family. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Paula Prentiss was still around today, and that her sister was arrested in the late 1990s and died in prison for assaulting their father? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!