In August of 1948, Lila moved to a modest house in the Hollywood Hills. She quickly acquired a roomate, Vicki Evans, a dancer newly arrived from Pittsburg. On the night of August 31, actor Robert Mitchum and real estate agent Robin Ford came to the house. Mitchum had brought a cigarette pack full of reefers. Lila also had a few “sticks” and very quickly the smoking began. Mitchum, Ford and Lila had all sparked up but Vicki Evans demurred. This was quite out of character for her. Five minutes later, two narcotics officers burst into the house and arrested all four occupants. They were taken to jail where they were met by a gaggle of reporters. The ensuing headlines caused a shockwave to the Hollywood movie community. This was the first time a major movie star had been arrested for marijuana. There were cries of outrage from the editorials in the newspapers. Mitchum, under contract to two studios, had $5,000,000 in three unreleased pictures. Lila, a starlet, didn’t even have a contract with a studio at the time. Howard Hughes and the studios quickly issued spin doctor tales in Mitchum’s defense. He was assigned the top Hollywood lawyer Jerry Giesler, who had successfully represented by Charlie Chaplin and Errol Flynn. Lila and Dixie Evans were represented by Grant Cooper, who was well known and competent. After some delay, the trial was set for January of 1949. Lila was devastated by the arrest and the subsequent bad publicity. She continued to associate with undesirable “friends” and in December of the year attended an Opium party. She got quite high, went to sleep and was covered with a thick blanket. The party was raided and all were arrested except for Lila, who slept through the whole thing. Upon awakening, she wandered in a daze down Wilshire Boulevard and was arrested for jay walking. She paid a fine and was let go but the incident added to her negative publicity. The trial was held on January 10, 1949 and Mitchum, Lila and Robin Ford were all found guilty of conspiracy to possess marijuana. The penalty for such possession in 1949 was 90 days to ten years’ imprisonment.
2. Editorial on Hollywood’s use of marijuana