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Longet 'Accidentally' Shoots Spider

By Patrick Mondout

In the summer of 1977 Claudine Longet was seen riding her bicycle through the streets of Aspen. She was wearing a T-shirt that had a "No Sweat" logo on the front. Claudine, ex-wife of singer Andy Williams and a singer and actress herself, was on trial for the shooting death of her former lover Spider Sabich, the Olympic skier. She had been living with him in his home in the famous ski resort town of Aspen, Colorado. Spider had asked Claudine and her three children (from the marriage to Andy Williams) to move out. The then 34 year old had told friends that she was afraid that he thought she was getting too old.

On March 21, 1976, Spider returned home from skiing and took a shower. Claudine, who had been drinking white wine at a local bar, approached him in the bathroom with a .22 caliber pistol and asked him how to use it - presumably to protect herself and her kids after he left them. It is unlikely that what happened next will ever been known for sure. Her story was that it accidentally fired into him. Statistically, guns are far more likely to be used to kill those who reside in the same house as the gun than intruders, and accidents do happen.

Jealous Gal

Despite terrible weather, Andy Williams flew into the small Aspen airport to be at her side and she stayed at John and Annie Denver's house the night after. A bizarre twist to this story is Claudine's prophetic (and pathetic) 1972 cover of John Lennon's Jealous Guy. Here are some of the lyrics she sang from that song (which was not played to the jury):

I was dreaming of the past
And my heart was beating fast
I began to lose control
I began to lose control

I didn't mean to hurt you
I'm sorry that I made you cry
I didn't want to hurt you
I'm just the jealous kind

I was feeling insecure
You might not love me anymore
I was shivering inside
I was shivering inside

"Guilty! Oh, and Have a Nice Vacation!"

She was convicted of criminally negligent homicide, a misdemeanor, and spent 30 days in an Aspen court house room which was redecorated for her (apparently the jail was not thought to be good enough for her). She was allowed to go a month-long vacation in Mexico with her already married defense attorney before serving her hard time. After they got back, he left his wife and kids and they were married. (Aspen, by the way, is great place to be if you're a killer. Serial-murderer Ted Bundy escaped from the Aspen jail before going on another killing spree.)

Saturday Night Live played it up with a segment entitled the 'Claudine Longet Invitational Ski Shoot.' It showed a skier crashing down a mountain to the dual overdubbed sounds of gunfire and an announcer saying "Oh! He has been accidentally shot by Claudine Longet."

As Spider's brother Steve Sabich puts it, "It's a shame, because Spider accomplished so much in his life. Claudine accomplished only two things -- marrying Andy Williams and getting away with murder."

Where are they Now?

Longet has been keeping a low-pro for years. It was thought she might show up in Las Vegas in December 1999 for the 40th anniversary of Tropicana's Folies Bergere, the show which introduced her to the world (or at least to Andy Williams), but she was a no show. Unconfirmed reports have her still residing in Aspen with her former defense attorney.



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Claudine sporting a hairstyle which, sadly, never quite caught on.

Poly Records

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