Massachusetts native Gaspar Griswold Bacon, Jr., born in 1914, was the scion of a politically powerful family. His father served on the board of Harvard University before his election as president of the state senate (1929-32) and lieutenant governor (1933-35). Gaspar Jr. summered with his friends on Cape Cod, where he joined a theatre troupe called the ‘University Players,’ including then unknown actors Henry Fonda and James Stewart. While they advanced to Hollywood stardom, success eluded Bacon, reducing him to the role of a gigolo in New York City. Later, as ‘David’ Bacon, he moved to Los Angeles and married Austrian singer Greta Keller. Years later, Keller revealed that Bacon was gay and she was a lesbian, their masquerade marriage contrived to advance careers in Hollywood.
Bacon met billionaire Howard Hughes in 1942 and signed a contract to portray Billy the kid in a forthcoming Western, The Outlaw, which Hughes was producing. Before filming began, Hughes replaced Bacon with actor Jack Buetel, but Hughes still held Bacon to his exclusive contract, casting him in smaller roles for six films during 1942-43. Greta Keller subsequently claimed Bacon engaged in a homosexual affair with Hughes, which led to his replacement in The Outlaw, but no Hughes biographer to date has found any evidence supporting that allegation.
On September 13, 1943, Bacon crashed his car against a curb in Santa Monica, California, hen staggered from the vehicle and collapsed. Bystanders found him wearing only a swimsuit, with a knife protruding from his back. Its blade had pierced a lung, delivering a fatal wound. Greta Keller who was eight months pregnant when the murder occurred delivered a stillborn child and soon returned to Europe, where she pursued an active singing career until her death in November 1977, at age 74.
Police found a wallet and a camera in Bacon’s car after the crash. The wallet’s owner remains unidentified, and the camera’s film contained only one image of Bacon nude and smiling, but despite persistent rumours of gay affairs with Howard Hughes and various actors, no suspect was ever named/ Bacon’s best known Hollywood production, the Masked Marvel serial, premiered two months after his death, on November 6, 1943.