Most articles about William Witney state that he was married twice and that is also the widely held belief among many of the folks I talk to today. I’m now setting the record straight – my father was actually married three times. I have only found one published reference to his lesser-known second marriage. The book “Close up: The Contract Director” contains a chapter about William Witney. Written by Frances M Nevins, this was one of the first publications to highlight Dad’s career. A paragraph from the essay reads: “In May of 1973, while Bill was in Mexico directing I ESCAPED FROM DEVIL’S ISLAND, Maxine Doyle Witney died of throat cancer. But he bounded back from the loss of his wife as he has from everything else life has thrown at him. He remarried later that year, and he and his Mexican bride have spent much of their subsequent time south of border, where he helmed several episodes of the short-lived TV series, THE COWBOYS.”
As Paul Harvey would have said - “And now, the rest of the story….” Shortly after my mother (Maxine) passed away, my father remarried. Wow - what a surprise that was for me coming home to visit in August of 1973 and being introduced to Consuelo Mujica from Mexico City and her two white poodles! What really bothered me was that those poodles were given the run of the house while our two dogs were always kept outside in the kennel. ‘Chelo’ as she was nicknamed, seemed nice enough though. Dad had met her in Mexico while shooting ‘I Escaped From Devil’s Island’ and I was pleased that he had found a companion, who might now be of comfort to him in his grief. But then he dropped the bomb when he took me aside and told me he was actually thinking about marrying her! So soon, I asked, after Mom’s passing?
And so it was that on September 6, 1973 William N Witney married Consuelo M Mujica in Yuma, Arizona shortly before purchasing a home in Cuernavaca, Mexico. It was a short-lived marriage however and divorce proceedings and a law suit were filed against Chelo in May, 1976. You can read into it what you will but I can tell you that the word ‘fraud’ came up many times in the proceedings. The divorce was made final on June 7, 1977 and left my father broke with only six thousand dollars in the bank and a double wide mobile home in Newbury Park, California, which he had purchased in 1975, after selling the Tarzana house (the one I grew up in).
Late in 1977 William Witney married Beverly J Trouba. As far as I can remember, they met in Newbury Park, where he had purchased that mobile home and where Beverly, who had recently been widowed, was living with and caring for her mother. Beverly and my father had a relationship that any man would envy. They traveled the film festival and lecture circuit together all over the United States in their fifth wheel trailer. Beverly was at my father’s side every step of the way from the making of his last picture and the publishing of his books to caring for him at home after his stroke until the day he passed away. Beverly is currently living with advanced dementia in a care home.