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Ann Crowell's Geni Profile

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Angeline Lucille Woodward (Crowell)

Also Known As: "Angeline Lucille Crowell"
Death: 1975 (consumed a cyanide pill)
Immediate Family:

Wife of William "Billy" Woodward, Jr.
Mother of William Woodward, III and James Woodward

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Ann Crowell

Ann Eden Crowell was an actress who also danced as a showgirl in upscale New York nightclubs.

She married William "Billy" Woodward, Jr. (June 12, 1920–October 31, 1955) who was the heir to the Hanover National Bank fortune (later Manufacturer's Hanover), the Belair Estate and stud farm and legacy, and a leading figure in racing circles.,_Jr.

Ann Crowell shot her husband to death believing him to be a prowler. Life magazine called it the "Shooting of the Century".

The Shooting of the Century

After attending a dinner party for the Duchess of Windsor on October 30, 1955, the couple returned home, nervous about reports of a prowler roaming nearby estates, including their own. The Woodwards were both avid hunters, although Ann was considered a terrible shot, and each went to their separate bedrooms that evening with loaded shotguns. A few hours later Ann heard a noise, went into a darkened hallway with her gun and shot and killed her husband, believing him to be a prowler. Subsequent investigations determined that there had indeed been a prowler in the house that evening. Woodward's mother, however, believed that the shooting had been deliberate, yet stepped in to prevent further scandal. Ann was never charged in the matter. Life Magazine called the episode "The Shooting of the Century".

The story became a cause célèbre. Ann was banished from high society and her sons were sent to boarding school in Europe. The tale, which followed Ann everywhere, was thinly disguised and retold in Truman Capote's novel, Answered Prayers, and Dominick Dunne's novel The Two Mrs. Grenvilles, and in the non-fiction book This Crazy Thing Called Love by Susan Braudy.

Ann learned of the impending publication, in Esquire magazine, of Capote's initial version of the story and killed herself with an overdose of sleeping pills in 1975. "Well, that's that", said her mother-in-law, "she shot my son, and Truman just murdered her, and so now I suppose we don't have to worry about that anymore."


Besides Ann, the two children of the marriage, William "Woody" Woodward III and James Woodward, also committed suicide. James and Woody died by jumping from windows: James in 1976, after volunteering to fight in the Vietnam War, then returning home to become a heroin addict with a huge trust fund. Woody died in 1999, overwhemingly upset over his recent divorce.

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Ann Crowell's Timeline