On May 23, 1934, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow took their last ride in a stolen car and died in a hail of bullets. To mark the anniversary of the death of the notorious lovers-turned-robbers, here are five surprising things you didn't know about Bonnie and Clyde...
Being Bank Robbers Didn’t Make Them Wealthy Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were famous Depression-era criminals in an era that included John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, Ma Barker and Pretty Boy Floyd. They and their gang mostly targeted gas stations, grocery stores and shops, and were known to break open gumball machines for the change. Although they had a reputation as major criminals, oftentimes their take only amounted to $5 or $10.
"Souvenir" Hunters Flocked to The Scene of Their Death
On May 23, 1934, a six-man posse led by former Texas Ranger captain Frank Hamer ambushed Bonnie and Clyde and pumped more than 130 rounds of bullets into their stolen Ford V-8 outside Sailes, Louisiana. After dozens of robberies and 13 murders in their name, Bonnie and Clyde's crime spree had finally come to an end. News spread like wildfire when Bonnie and Clyde died in a hail of bullets, and locals arrived at the scene to scavenge souvenirs. According to Jeff Guinn’s book Go Down Together, one man tried to cut off Clyde’s ear with a pocket knife and another attempted to sever his trigger finger before the lawmen intervened.
Bonnie Died Wearing a Wedding Ring—But it Wasn’t Clyde’s Six days before turning 16, Bonnie married high school classmate Roy Thornton. The couple separated because of his infidelity, and Thornton went to prison for armed robbery in 1929. Soon after, Bonnie met Clyde, and although the pair fell in love, she never divorced Thornton. On the day Bonnie and Clyde were killed in 1934, she was still wearing Thornton’s wedding ring and had a tattoo on the inside of her right thigh with two interconnected hearts labeled “Bonnie” and “Roy.”
The Car They Died in Is Displayed at a Casino
Following the shootout that took the lives of Bonnie and Clyde, the bullet riddled Ford V-8 they had been driving was returned to its former owner before it was stolen, a woman named Ruth Warren of Topeka, Kansas. Eventually, Warren sold the car to to Charles Stanley, an anti-crime lecturer who used it as a sideshow attraction. It ended up in Primm, Nevada, about 40 miles from Las Vegas, where it is now an attraction in the lobby of Whiskey Pete’s Casino, along with other Bonnie and Clyde memorabilia.
Bonnie and Clyde Were Buried Separately Although linked in life, Bonnie and Clyde were split in death. While the pair wished to be buried side-by-side, Bonnie’s mother, who had disapproved of her relationship with Clyde, had her daughter buried in a separate Dallas cemetery. Clyde was buried next to his brother Marvin underneath a gravestone with his hand-picked epitaph: “Gone but not forgotten.”