Posts Tagged ‘Marilu Norden’

Marilu Norden in the 1950s (Photo courtesy Norden family)

Marilu Norden in the 1950s (Photo courtesy Norden family)

In May 2013, Bill McGee and I were interviewed by Theresa Iker for her Scripps College thesis about the Nevada divorce ranch era. (See my June 2013 post: “Fascination with the Reno divorce era continues”)

For her blog debut on Huffington Post, Ms. Iker writes about her interview with another Nevada divorce ranch era survivor, Marilu Norden…   Click the link to read the Huffington Post story… “Divorcing at Dude Ranches”

Reno divorce era “survivor” and author Marilu Norden with former 1940s Nevada divorce ranch wrangler, Bill McGee.  Scottsdale, Arizona, November 2012. (Photo: Chris Norden)


Marilu Norden is on a short list of Reno divorce era “survivors” — people who went to Reno in the 1940s and ‘50s to get a six-week divorce.

In 1951, Ms. Norden resided for six weeks at Pyramid Lake Guest Ranch, one of a handful of divorce ranches (as they were called) scattered around Reno. Pyramid Lake was remote then — and still is today. However, its remoteness is exactly what attracted many high-profile types who wanted to spend their six weeks in privacy and avoid the prying eyes of the press.

In 1949, noted writer and journalist A. J. Liebling stayed at Pyramid Lake and later wrote “The Mustang Buzzers” for The New Yorker.  In 1956, Arthur Miller stayed at Pyramid Lake to free himself up so he could marry Marilyn Monroe, and penned the short story for Esquire that would later become the basis for the movie, “The Misfits”. In 2008, Marilu Norden wrote a fictionalized account of her six weeks at Pyramid Lake in Unbridled: Tale of a Divorce Ranch.

Bill McGee is a former 1940s Nevada divorce ranch wrangler and the co-author of  The Divorce Seekers: A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler.

Take a listen to Tales from Reno’s Divorce Ranches...  This informative interview on March 1, 2011 was aired on Nevada Public Radio’s KNPR in Las Vegas and features the following on-air guests:

  • Author Bill McGee – former 1940s dude wrangler on Nevada’s Flying M E divorce ranch
  • Author Marilu Norden -divorce ranch guest at Pyramid Lake Guest Ranch in the 1950s
  • Beth Ward – former owner of the Whitney Guest Ranch in Reno
  • Mella Harmon – Reno divorce historian     Click Here To Take a Listen
BUST Magazine Dec/Jan 2010

“The Six-Week Cure – Remembering the era when Reno ‘divorce ranches’ helped unhappily married women start new lives” by Priya Jain 

Kudos to Bust Magazine  (Dec/Jan 2010) and Priya Jain for this compelling, six-page feature story written from the woman’s point of view and capturing  what it was like to get a Reno divorce. Especially compelling is author Marilu Norden’s own recollection of staying at Pyramid Lake Ranch in the 1950s (later thinly-veiled in her novel Unbridled: A Tale of a Divorce Ranch).