Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Candy Barr: America's First Porn Princess

Front Page Sensation

Candy Barr tried marriage again in 1953 when she hooked up with Troy Phillips, a nightclub denizen who became her husband and manager.

Candy Barr
Candy Barr

They managed to have a daughter in early 1955, in between fights.

The Colony Club missed Candy desperately while she was gone on pregnancy leave. Abe Weinstein lured her back with a three-year contract at a stunning $2,000 a week. The baby was shipped home to Edna, Texas, where she was raised by relatives, and Candy enjoyed a profitable stretch as a $100,000-a-year stripper.

But her bump-and-grind career hit a chuckhole.

Her marriage to Phillips had fallen apart by the holiday season in 1955. Candy filed for divorce and moved into her own apartment in the Oak Cliff neighborhood, but Phillips was not the sort to walk away without one last dustup.

On Jan. 28, 1956, Candy had finished her shift at the Colony and was tucked in bed when the phone rang at 3 a.m. The caller hung up when she answered.

Candy Barr dressed for her signature striptease
Candy Barr dressed for her signature striptease

A couple of hours later, Phillips showed up at her door. When Candy refused to let him, he kicked in the door and stumbled drunkenly around her apartment.

Candy said she warned Phillips that she had a gun and would use it. She grabbed a .22 rifle from a closet and fled the apartment.

Phillips stalked after her, making the bizarre demand that she kowtow to him by lighting his cigarette.

"I'm going to make you light my cigarette," she quoted him as saying, "and then I'm going to beat you."

When he got six feet away, she leveled the rifle barrel on her husband and pulled the trigger. She hit in the lower belly, near the groin. She said her aim was off. She missed high.

The story was a front-page sensation in Dallas, where the papers frothed about the "shapely blond nightclub entertainer."

Colony Club owner Weinstein showed up at the police station to throw her $10,000 bail. The publicity bonanza was not lost on him.

"We're already having standing-room crowds," he told news scribes. "This'll mean we'll have to turn more customers away."

The charges were dropped two weeks after the shooting, when Phillips acknowledged that he'd been drunk and ornery.

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