Any murderer who killed own parent became famous later on for a valued skill? Is Mary Lamb the only person you know of? Who else?
May 10, 2006 5:48 AM   Subscribe

Any murderer who killed own parent became famous later on for a valued skill? Is Mary Lamb the only person you know of? Who else?

Mary Lamb killed her mother and then became famous for her writing skill , about 200 years ago.

I am looking for similar inspiring figures in history who killed own parent and then overcame the odds later like she did.

Thank you very much.
posted by studentguru to Education (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well, there's Pauline Rieper who went on to write as Anne Perry. Killed her mom she did.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 5:59 AM on May 10, 2006

Oops - Juliet Hulme rather writes as Anne Perry. Same story, wrong person.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 6:02 AM on May 10, 2006

Actually, it was Juliet Hulme who became the successful mystery writer Anne Perry after getting out of prison; she and Pauline Parker murdered *Parker's* mother in 1954, when both girls were in their teens.
posted by mediareport at 6:04 AM on May 10, 2006

posted by DieHipsterDie at 6:07 AM on May 10, 2006

I hope studentguru isn't just trying to reassure himself that he can beat the odds...
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:31 AM on May 10, 2006

Yeah, I was wondering about the word "inspiring." I mean, what kind of inspiration are we talking about here?
posted by cerebus19 at 6:38 AM on May 10, 2006

This is admittedly not an answer to the question that was asked, but I found a list of famous people who accidentally killed someone.
posted by cerebus19 at 6:43 AM on May 10, 2006

Thank you very much for your great answers so far.

I am trying to help a sad and very confused teenager who had just been convicted of killing her own mother.

May be she can draw some inspirations from Mary Lamb and Juliet Hulme.
posted by studentguru at 6:50 AM on May 10, 2006

There's a movie about Hulme called Heavenly Creatures.

Both of the two girls went on to have lives, however both did it by abandoning their previous identities entirely, moving away, and starting a new life.
posted by jellicle at 7:17 AM on May 10, 2006

lizzie borden

creepily enough, she's become a kind of children's nursery rhyme for new england children (at least, that i know of). i remember my father singing it to me:

lizzie borden took an axe
gave her father forty wacks
when she saw what she had done
gave her mother forty-one.

brrr! never sort of made the bizarre connection. but maybe it goes hand in hand with 'ring around the rosie."
posted by eatdonuts at 8:20 AM on May 10, 2006

Gina Grant.

She killed her mother, got accepted to Harvard a few years later, then had the acceptance offer rescinded after they found out she'd lied about killing her mother. I don't know if she's "valued" for having any great skill, but some would argue getting into Harvard is itself a great skill.
posted by mattbucher at 8:26 AM on May 10, 2006

There's a riveting HBO "America Undercover" documentary called Teen Killers: A Second Chance? that focuses on three teenagers who committed murder, one of whom killed his mother, in a therapy program that tries to get them to come to terms with their actions.
posted by staggernation at 8:28 AM on May 10, 2006

(Does it strike anyone else as a bit inappropriate to have links to Blair Hornstine and Kaavya Viswanathan in that Gina Grant Wikipedia entry? I mean, I'm no fan of plagiarism, but...)
posted by staggernation at 8:33 AM on May 10, 2006

Richard Dadd's most interesting paintings were done after he killed his father in a manic paranoid episode, but they were certainly the work of a deeply disturbed person. He was institutionalized for the rest of his life.
posted by Scram at 10:09 AM on May 10, 2006

Not sure if this pertains, but Jim Gordon was already famous as one of the top drummers of his day when he was sentenced to life in prison for killing his mother with a hammer in 1983. He played with many legendary acts like The Beach Boys, Jackson Browne, The Byrds, The Carpenters, Alice Cooper, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and John Lennon, to name a few. He also co-wrote and played the piano intro on Layla with Derek and the Dominoes.
posted by wsg at 10:22 AM on May 10, 2006

Famous literary patricides/matricides:

The historian Richard Cobb wrote an extraordinary book called A Classical Education about a schoolfriend of his who murdered his mother, stuffed her body in the trunk of his car and threw it over a cliff. I call it 'extraordinary' because it manages to be an extremely funny book. I doubt whether it will help your troubled teenager, but it's certainly a literary tour de force.

The writer Beverley Nichols wrote an autobiography called Father Figure in which he claimed that he'd attempted to murder his father. However, some readers have questioned the truth of his account.

Then of course there's Pierre Rivière, subject of a book by Michel Foucault (Moi, Pierre Rivière, Ayant Egorgé Ma Mère, Ma Soeur et Mon Frère) and more recently a film by René Allio. ('The film is overall a winning affair .. The cinematography is exemplary' according to IMDB.)
posted by verstegan at 10:36 AM on May 10, 2006

My wife is related to Lizzie.
posted by Mick at 2:46 PM on May 10, 2006

Wow, these don't seem like very inspiring examples. Maybe what you really want to hunt down are stories of how ordinary people--not "prodigies who still managed to be famous for being talented after serving time for killing a parent"--have wrestled with the very humbling and serious issues involved in sucessful rehabilitation. Resources on restorative justice might be helpful in thinking about issues of forgiveness and responsibility (it sounds like her father is very loving and supportive of her and could be helpful during this process); perhaps you could also contact a local social service organization, a librarian, the social work program at a local university, etc. and see what kind of literature is out there for young offenders in terms of sucess stories/advice/autobiographies on how life can still go on. (If she serves her full sentence, she'll be out by 25, no?)

Especially given that she allegedly cracked under the pressure to be a super-achiever, I'd much rather hand her the autobiography of an "Average Joe" young offender who went on to make peace with himself and find community acceptance and honest work than have her worried about whether or not she'll still achieve external validation on the level of getting into Harvard, write a best-selling novel, etc.

Best of luck to you with this!
posted by availablelight at 9:37 PM on May 10, 2006

On preview: the documentary linked by staggernation looks like a good starting point.
posted by availablelight at 9:45 PM on May 10, 2006

Oedipus Rex? No, seriously.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:53 AM on May 11, 2006

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