- 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.