January 1

This Day in History

Crime

Jan 1, 1973:

The real-life murder behind Looking For Mr. Goodbar

Roseann Quinn, a 27-year-old New Yorker, visits Tweed's Bar on the Upper West Side and is picked up by her soon-to-be killer. The incident inspires the cautionary novel and subsequent movie Looking For Mr. Goodbar. For many, Quinn's murder represented the dark side of the sexual revolution.

At Tweed's on New Year's night, Quinn had met John Wayne Wilson, an outwardly charming, but seriously disturbed man who was dealing with problems of sexual identity and orientation. He was homosexual but refused to admit it to himself, leading to violent feelings toward women.

At his home later that night, Wilson beat Quinn, stabbed her numerous times, and sexually assaulted her before finally killing her. Before he could stand trial for his brutal crime, Wilson hanged himself in jail in May 1973.

In 1975, Judith Rossner wrote the best-selling novel Looking For Mr. Goodbar, which described a similar incident and served as a warning to women about the dangers of anonymous one-night stands. Diane Keaton starred in a popular movie version of the book in 1977.

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