this day in crime history: july 22, 1934

On this day in 1934, John Dillinger was shot and killed by lawmen as he left the Biograph Theater in Chicago, IL. FBI agents under Special Agent in Charge Melvin Purvis, along with officers from the East Chicago, IN Police Department set up a stakeout outside the theater, which was showing the film Manhattan Melodrama.

After the movie, Dillinger walked out with his girlfriend Polly Hamilton and Anna Sage, the infamous “Woman in Red” (she was really wearing orange, but “The Woman in Orange” doesn’t have quite the ring to it). Agent Purvis ID’d Dillinger, and the agents closed in. The outlaw ran toward an alley and tried to draw a pistol from his pocket. The agents opened fire, and Dillinger was hit four times. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“It’s like the coroner said, ‘Crime don’t pay!’ does it?”

Further reading:

Crime Museum – John Dillinger

FBI Famous Cases – John Dillinger 

Biograph Theater


9 thoughts on “this day in crime history: july 22, 1934

  1. During the movie, I assume that Dillinger was cheering for gangster Clark Gable, as opposed to straight arrow good guy Wiiliam Powell.


  2. John D.:
    Wifey told me about this earlier, so I just KNEW you would feature this event today.
    And didn’t one of those women there go on some sort of “tour” across the country?
    (remember reading something about that somewhere)

    Heh, crime MIGHT pay…at the start…with the right resources…but NEVER for long enough.

    Great call.

    Stay safe out here.


    • Anna Sage got a tour of her home country of Romania, as she was deported for her efforts. Polly Hamilton, the other woman with Dillinger that night, settled down, got married and lived a quiet life in Chicago. The woman who went of the “Crime Doesn’t Pay” tour was Dillinger’s girlfriend Billie Frechette. She was in prison the night Dillinger was shot.


  3. My mother, who is 87, was visiting the Century of Progress (Chicago World’s Fair) when they announced this on the PA system. She remembers it to this day.


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