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Happy Birthday, Miss Lovely: A tribute to the dauntless and unbreakable Paulette Cooper


On July 26, 1942, Ruchla Minkowski Bucholc gave birth to her second daughter, a girl she named Paula.

Today, the world knows little Paula Bucholc by another name and for her inspiring life story. We wish you a happy birthday, Paulette Cooper.

Paulette is on an annual vacation to celebrate her birthday, traveling in the Caribbean with her husband, Paul Noble. We’re sure they’d love to hear your thoughts and wishes for them in our comments section.

While working with Paulette for two years on our biography of her, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, we had to ask her not to do any interviews or otherwise publicize her own story. So when the book came out in May and we got on the road to California to start our book tour, she was champing at the bit to finally talk publicly about her views on Scientology then and now, her survival of the Holocaust as a young child, and what she’s doing these days — including getting her 22nd book published, “Was Elvis Jewish?”


It’s been gratifying to see Paulette in front of audiences, who have responded so positively to our book. For Paulette, it’s recognition that she’s clearly happy to receive and heartily deserves.

If you haven’t read Miss Lovely, Paulette had long been known for being framed for a felony by Scientology’s spy wing, the Guardian’s Office, after she published in 1971 one of the first books exposing L. Ron Hubbard and his organization, The Scandal of Scientology. Hubbard then put her through the most legendary retaliation carried out by an organization known for bullying its perceived enemies. Besides framing her by mailing itself bomb threats it said had come from Paulette, the church also engaged in years of smearing her reputation with vile anonymous letters, spied on her constantly — even placing an operative in her apartment as a roommate — and sued her 19 times.

Working closely with Paulette as well as some of the people who actually carried out those schemes, we strove to bring a new clarity and level of detail to Paulette’s story, as well as explaining how she and her sister survived the Holocaust as children. We persuaded many people who had never told their stories to reporters previously to tell us what they knew, including old boyfriends, her former lawyers, a cousin, an ex-FBI agent, a former St. Louis journalist, and many more.

We hope you enjoy the tale we managed to weave together, which spans Paulette’s entire life. And now, today, she reaches another milestone. So let her hear how you feel about the book or her personal appearances which we’ve posted here, or give Paul a wave. We’re sure they’d enjoy it.

We asked Paulette for her thoughts on this occasion, and she sent us this: “It’s been a great year, especially going around this summer on the ‘Tony and Paulette’ show talking to such warm and accepting audiences (except Freedom magazine’s John Sugg), meeting great Bunkerites (or is it Bunkaroos?), making new friends, seeing old ones, having people remember (and appreciate) what I did years ago, and seeing some of that come to fruition with the steady decline of my favorite cult.”


Janis_Grady_Pat_GualtieriJanis Grady on Pat Gualtieri

On Tuesday, Mike Rinder posted a really remarkable item at his blog. It was a tribute to former Scientologist Pat Gualtieri, who was known in New York for putting on a massive Veterans Day parade to honor the men and women who had served in uniform. Pat passed away on July 21 at the age of 70.

But what made the tribute even more interesting was who had written it — Janis Gillham-Grady, one of the more interesting figures in Scientology history, who has otherwise not talked about her experiences in the organization. She was one of three children to Yvonne Gillham, a towering figure in Scientology who had come up with the idea of opening a “Celebrity Centre” in Los Angeles, but whose life was cut short by brain cancer. Janis and her sister, Terri Gamboa, and brother, Peter Gillham Jr., spent part of their childhoods on the ships L. Ron Hubbard used to run Scientology in the late 1960s and 1970s. We’d love for them to tell their stories some day. But for now, Janis has come forward to pay her respects to her old friend, Pat. Give it a look.



We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, so we’ve posted them at a dedicated page. Reader Sookie put together a complete index and we’re hosting it here on the website. Copies of the paperback version of ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ are on sale at Amazon. The Kindle edition is also available, and shipping instantly.

Our upcoming appearances (and check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour)…

July 29: Paris, Le Bistrot Landais, 19:00 (with Jonny Jacobsen)

August 4: London, Conway Hall, 19:30, (with John Sweeney)

August 24: Boston, Boston Skeptics in the Pub, 7 pm (with Gregg Housh)

Sept 15: Arizona State University

Sept 23: Cleveland, Parma Heights Library, 7pm sponsored by Center for Inquiry – Northeast Ohio

Sept 24: Minneapolis

Sept 27: Portland

Sept 28: Seattle

Sept 29: Vancouver, BC, Seven Dining Lounge, 7 pm


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 26, 2015 at 07:00

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Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward

UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield



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