|Birth: ||Apr. 27, 1923|
|Death: ||Dec. 23, 2012|
New Haven County
Crime Figure. Harris was a former private-school headmistress whose 1981 trial for the murder of a prominent physician galvanized the nation with its story of vengeance by an aging woman scorned. For more than a year — from her arrest on March 10, 1980, to her sentencing for second-degree murder on March 20, 1981 — her case was front-page news. Wealthy cardiologist, Dr. Herman Tarnower, the 69-year-old founder of the Scarsdale Medical Group whose best-selling book 'The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet' had been a best seller which sold three million copies, was found lying in an upstairs bedroom dying of four bullet wounds in his secluded estate in Purchase, New York. When police arrived, they came across Harris driving away. She told them she was going to look for a phone booth to call for help, but officers found a .32-caliber gun in the glove compartment of her car. The doctor and Harris, the divorced mother of two grown sons and 13 years his junior at the time, had been companions for 14 years and had refused to marry her despite promises he would. In the years before the shooting, she testified on her eight days on the stand, he had begun appearing at dinner parties and taking vacations with his office assistant. Harris had decided to commit suicide and bought the revolver and drove to his home so she could have a few quiet moments with him before she shot herself. Finding him in an upstairs bedroom, she drew the revolver out of her pocketbook, she testified, as he tried to stop her by pushing her hand down, the gun fired. They struggled again, and the gun went off a second time, but she could not account for two of the bullets. On Feb. 24, 1981, after eight days of deliberation, the jury of four men and eight women decided that she had murdered the doctor. She was sentenced to 15 years to life, and spent 12 of those years at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County, N.Y. where she counseled fellow female prisoners on how to take care of their children, and she set up a center where infants born to inmates could spend a year near their mothers. After her release in 1993 following a grant of clemency by Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, she set up a foundation that raised millions of dollars for scholarships for children of women in prison in New York State. In 1986, she wrote 'Stranger in Two Worlds', offering her account of the Tarnower relationship as well as a chronicle of prison life. Despite the occasional made-for-TV movie or book about the case (Ellen Burstyn played her in a 1981 movie, and Annette Bening played her in 2005), she devoted herself to writing and running the foundation. Harris died of natural causes at an assisted-living center.
Created by: Louis Mata
Record added: Dec 28, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 102749303
Added: Dec. 20, 2014
Added: Sep. 1, 2014
I think for the most part you are remembered for all the good you did while you were here on earth … rest in Heavenly peace, God knows you were a wonderful woman and that's what matters most of all ...|
Added: Aug. 27, 2014
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