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Writer’s Ex Out To Take Him To the Cleaners, Her Hubby Says

July 12, 1986

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) _ The man who married the ex-wife of detective writer Mickey Spillane testified Friday that he warned Spillane she was out to take him ″to the cleaners.″

Michael Standing, whose marriage to Sherri Spillane is being annulled, testified as the civil suit brought by Mrs. Spillane ended in state District Court.

Judge Myron Leavitt said he would issue a written ruling later.

Mrs. Spillane claimed information that her husband’s Mike Hammer books were being made into a television series was withheld from her in 1983 so she would consent to a smaller divorce settlement.

She obtained $18,000 plus insurance money in the settlement.

Standing, who described himself as a ″writer and part-time actor,″ sent Spillane a letter promising his support in any court battle launched by Spillane’s ex-wife.

The letter, sent after Standing broke up with Mrs. Spillane, said, ″Sherri and her family are trying to take you to the cleaners.″

″I wanted to see justice done,″ Standing said when asked Friday why he wrote the letter.

Standing, who married Mrs. Spillane minutes after her divorce, testified that she often sought to get Spillane to buy her a house in California but the writer kept refusing.

Mrs. Spillane claimed in her suit that the house was promised prior to the divorce action.

Standing also denied that he married Mrs. Spillane because he was in trouble with immigration authorities and was going to be sent back to his native England.

In testimony Thursday, producer Jay Bernstein denied that information about the series was withheld from Mrs. Spillane until after she divorced the noted writer.

The TV movie ″Murder Me, Murder You″ aired April 9, 1983, two days after Mrs. Spillane married Standing in a Las Vegas wedding chapel.

Bernstein testified he did not expect the TV movie to evolve into a series. He said that out of about 600 such movies in the last 10 years, CBS only allowed ″Cagney and Lacey″ and ″Mike Hammer″ to evolve into series.

Spillane was told of the project when CBS accepted the ″Mike Hammer″ series in May of 1983, two months after the divorce, Bernstein said.

Bernstein said Spillane wanted little contact with the movie industry and listed only a few conditions for his TV character. Among them were that Mike Hammer would have short hair, the story would take place in New York City, Hammer would carry a .45-caliber handgun, ″not a sissy .38,″ and the detective’s secretary, Velda, would be a busty brunette.

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