The date November 22, 1963 is remembered by many as a somber day, since it was when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. But, as we shall see, for Julie Mannix von Zerneck, the memory of that particular Friday was inextricably linked to her own personal tragedy at the age of just 19.
Julie Mannix – the addition of von Zerneck was to come later in her life – was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, to Daniel P. Mannix and his wife Jule. Her father was a man of many talents including stage magic, animal training, sword swallowing and fire eating. But it was as an author that he became well known.
Daniel wrote many books, some co-authored by his wife. His work about the Roman circus and gladiators, Those About to Die, was his most successful. Indeed, it remained in print for some 30 years and is said to have inspired the 2000 movie Gladiator. Success had also come in 1981 when Disney adapted his The Fox and the Hound for the big screen.