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On April 27, HBO Max is set to release “Love & Death,” the second television adaptation of the Candy Montgomery story in less than a year.
The first adaptation, Hulu’s “Candy,” starred Jessica Biel as Candy and Melanie Lynskey as her neighbor, Betty Gore, whom she eventually murdered. This series was streamed in May 2022, almost a year ago.
In “Love & Death,” Elizabeth Olsen takes on the role of Montgomery, a housewife from Fairview, Texas, while Lily Rabe plays Betty, a second-grade teacher. Both shows are based on a true story, as detailed below. The latest adaptation, penned by David E. Kelley, draws inspiration in part from a two-part account of the crime published in Texas Monthly.
In 1978, Montgomery, a 29-year-old mother of two, engaged in an affair with Allan Gore, portrayed in the latest limited series by Jesse Plemons. Allan was married to Betty, one of Candy’s friends, and all four attended the same church. During her husband’s year-long affair, Betty was pregnant with their second child, and after the baby’s birth, Allan ended the affair. While Montgomery was initially upset, there was no immediate confrontation.
On June 13, 1980, while Allan Gore was away from town and unable to reach his wife, a grim discovery was made. Concerned neighbors, after trying to contact her, found Betty Gore’s lifeless body in her home, alongside her newborn baby, awake and crying in her crib. Betty had suffered a brutal attack, with 41 blows from an ax leading to her tragic demise.
As reported by the Dallas Morning News, Candy Montgomery had visited Betty’s residence that day to collect a bathing suit for her daughter. During this visit, Betty confronted her friend about the affair she had been having with her husband. In a fateful turn of events, Montgomery took Betty’s life with an ax. Later, Montgomery admitted in court that she had even taken a shower in Betty’s bathroom before continuing with her day.
Montgomery initially confessed to the affair and emerged as a prime suspect during the investigation. Eventually, she also admitted to the murder, asserting that it had been an act of self-defense. She claimed that after Betty confronted her about the affair, she attacked her, and Montgomery wrested the ax from her grasp, ultimately defending herself. Before the trial, which lasted a mere eight days, she underwent a polygraph test, which indicated that she was telling the truth.
On October 30, 1980, Montgomery was acquitted by a jury consisting of nine women and three men. Four years later, journalists John Bloom and Jim Atkinson, who authored the Texas Monthly articles, released “Evidence of Love: A True Story of Passion and Death in the Suburbs,” a book that delved into the case and trial. “Evidence of Love” also serves as source material for “Love & Death.”
Subsequent to the trial, reports indicate that Montgomery, her husband, and their children relocated to Georgia but eventually divorced four years later. Montgomery, who now goes by her maiden name, Wheeler, pursued certification in family counseling.