Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are two of the most notorious criminals in US history. During the early 1930s, the duo - alongside other members of the Barrow Gang - went on a crime spree that extended through the Midwest and American South. Their gruesome deaths are just as famous as the activities and lore surrounding the fated duo, if not more so, but there's much about their lives that most people don't know.
Facts about Bonnie and Clyde provide insight into their actions and behaviors, but also make them seem more human and accessible. There's a lot to know about them - individually and as a couple. Take a look at the facts and vote up the ones that are new to you and make you say "hold up!"
- 12,203 VOTES
They Once Kidnapped The Man Who Later Embalmed Them
In April 1933, Bonnie, Clyde, and their associates stole a car in Ruston, LA, that belonged to H. Dillard Darby, an undertaker in town. Darby chased after the gang in another vehicle owned by Sophia Stone.
Darby and Stone ultimately came face-to-face with Clyde, and when they did, he abducted them and forced them into the car that had once been Darby's. Bonnie reportedly enjoyed talking to Darby and Stone. She even asked Darby if he would embalm her and Clyde when they passed:
I know you would enjoy embalming us.... Promise us you will.
After driving into Arkansas, Bonnie and Clyde released Darby and Stone, gave them $5 to get home, and, according to Darby, "neither of us is much worse for the experience." In a twist of fate or irony, Darby did end up embalming the couple after they were killed the following year.
- 21,326 VOTES
Bonnie Died With Half Of A Sandwich In Her Hand
When Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed by law enforcement officers on May 23, 1934, they were driving in a Ford sedan near the Texas and Louisiana state line. Authorities from both states set up a roadblock, and when the couple slowed down, the authorities opened fire.
Officers like Frank Hamer had hoped to capture the outlaws alive, but confusion took over and they opened fire. More than 160 bullets flew toward Bonnie and Clyde from six angles, and when the car finally stopped, the group gathered around it.
There was concern one or both of them might still be alive, but when officers arrived they found both partners deceased. Bonnie had a half-eaten sandwich in her hand (or nearby), purportedly one she and Clyde had gotten from a cafe in nearby Gibsland, LA:
They got a fried baloney sandwich and BLT to go, went down the road eight miles, and got killed.
In the aftermath of the shooting, numerous articles featured interviews with the officers involved. In one of his statements, Hamer said he hated "to bust a cap on a woman... however, if it hadn't been her, it would have been us."
- 31,436 VOTES
They Preferred Not To Rob Banks
In the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde, Warren Beatty plays Clyde Barrow and famously says, "We rob banks." While this was true, the outlaw duo - and the members of their gang who came and went - secured funds from other sources as well.
The Barrow Gang stole from grocery stores, gas stations, and paid for many of their daily activities with coins they took from gumball machines. Stealing from smaller establishments was easier and less dangerous, even though it wasn't always worth the effort in terms of payoff. All told, Bonnie, Clyde, and members of the Barrow Gang robbed fewer than 15 banks.
Additional targets for Bonnie, Clyde, and their associates, were armories like the one at Phillips University in Enid, OK. Clyde reportedly saw "so many guns" there that he "didn't know what to do with them."
- 41,787 VOTES
Bonnie Died Married To Another Man
When Bonnie and Clyde were shot to death in Louisiana on May 23, 1934, Bonnie was wearing a wedding ring, but it wasn't from her partner in crime. When Bonnie was just 15 years old (some accounts say 16), she married Roy Thornton.
She was enamored with Thornton and had their names tattooed on her thigh. They married in September 1926, but their nuptials were fraught with violence and upheaval. According to Bonnie's mother Emma, Thornton would "just walk off and leave her for a month or so, and then come strolling back some afternoon, expecting a big welcome, which he invariably got."
In 1929, Thornton was imprisoned for robbery. At that point, Bonnie moved in with family members and never saw him again. She met Clyde in 1930, but she and Thornton never divorced.
At the time of his wife's passing, Thornton was in prison for murder. When he heard about the demise of Bonnie and Clyde, Thornton allegedly said he was glad they died together. He was killed in a prison escape attempt in 1937.
- 51,467 VOTES
Bonnie Was In A Car Accident That Severely Injured Her Leg
Clyde limped as a result of losing two toes, but Bonnie's ability to walk was also impaired. In 1933, as Clyde drove near Wellington, TX, he missed the signs for a detour. When he crashed the car, Bonnie was injured by acid from the car battery.
The burns on Bonnie's right leg were described by their associate W.D. Jones:
The hide on her right leg was gone, from her hip down to her ankle. I could see the bone at places.
After the accident, they made their way to the nearby Pritchard farm, where baking soda and other homemade remedies were applied to mitigate the spread of the acid. Residents of the Pritchard household urged the group to seek out a doctor, but they refused.
When Clyde began making preparations to leave, Alonzo Cartwright, a visitor to the Pritchards, snuck off to alert the police and get help. When Sheriff George Corry and City Marshall Paul Hardy arrived, Clyde and Jones were ready, with the latter telling them, "You boys are just in time. We want to borrow your car."
- 61,784 VOTES
Preparing Their Bodies For Burial Was Tricky Because They Were So Full Of Holes
It's not entirely clear how many bullets authorities fired at Bonnie and Clyde's car on May 23, 1934. According to sheriff's deputy Ted Hinton, he and other officers collectively fired around 150 shots, and "when all was said and done, they weren't nothing but a bunch of wet rags."
Some reports indicate Bonnie had 26 entrance wounds, while Clyde had 17; others have numbers as high as 25 and 23, respectively. The sheer number of bullet holes made it difficult to keep embalming fluid in their bodies. As a result, when H. Dillard Darby arrived to identify the bodies - having been one of their hostages - he was enlisted to assist undertaker C. F. "Boots" Bailey with the task.
Another use for embalming fluid, however, was in keeping enthusiastic fans at bay. Thousands of people had gathered around Conger's Furniture Store and Funeral Parlor in Arcadia, LA; and to keep them at a distance, Bailey squirted embalming fluid at them.