Friday, June 13, 2014


Alex Benedict was the conductor for the Southern Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of Los Angeles until 1972.  That's when he was arrested for the murder of Jenifer Welles, the orchestra's concert pianist.

Unbeknownst to Benedict and his wife, Janice Fielding Benedict, Janice was pregnant at the time of the murder.  (Had she known, I'm sure she would never have played tennis and risked harm to the fetus.)

And in real life, Blythe Danner, who played Janice, was pregnant - with Gwyneth Paltrow.  I think we might as well keep that in mind with regards to the baby that would be born after her father was already in jail for Ms. Welles' murder.

There was nothing he could give his daughter now that he was in prison and with his career in ruins.  But he didn't want her to be disillusioned with her family name of "Benedict" just because he blemished it.  Especially if Janice decided to drop the name after she divorced him.

And so while he was in prison, Alex Benedict began a project to chronicle the Benedict family tree.  But he was only able to sketch out the life of the founder of the Benedict lineage and a few scribbled notes about some of the current members of the family.  

That's because Alex Benedict died in prison, victim of a stabbing by a crazed inmate.  Benedict's murderer was found standing over the former conductor's body holding the bloody shank and shouting "Who's the Maestro now?"


Among those names were his uncles Sam and Jules, who was the oldest of the siblings.  The youngest brother was Sam Benedict, a high-powered defense attorney in San Francisco.  As for the intensely irascible Jules, he ran the Benedict Workshop of the Dramatic Arts in New York City.  


Another mentioned in the list was Sean Benedict, Sam's son by Margaret Marshall of the family who controlled the Kellico conglomerate.  Jules never married and had no children - in the parlance of the times, he was a "confirmed bachelor".  (Not that there was anything wrong with that......)

And of course there was his own father, James Benedict, who served as an Army Captain during the Italian campaign of WWII.  The missions of Captain Benedict's infantry company were chronicled by journalist Conley Wright, which gave the men some notoriety back home.  

But the main focus of Alex Benedict's research took him back to France of the 1760s, and the founder of the family.  It would be at most two generations more before the family gained the surname of Benedict, but there was no denying that Alex Benedict shared the genetic pattern of his forebear, Nicolas Le Floch.

Le Floch was born in Guérande, Brittany, around 1738*.  He was the illegitimate son of the Marquis de Ranreull and was raised by the Canon Le Floch, from whom he aquired his name.

By 1761, Nicolas Le Floch was the Commissaire of le Châtelet, in association with Antoine de Sartine, the Lieutenant General of the Paris Police.  

And basically, that's all Alex Benedict was able to complete before he was murdered in prison.  His daughter, named Abigail by her mother (but who goes by the nickname of Abby) may have kept the family name.  Or she may have changed it to the more French rendition of Benoit.  Then again, she may even have tossed it aside as her mother had done and gone with her mother's maiden name of Fielding.

In 2012, Abby "auditioned" for the chance to be the egg donor for a gay couple, Dr. David Sawyer and Bryan Collins.  It is assumed her eggs were chosen because of her resemblance to an actress named Gwyneth Paltrow.  (Bryan wanted to have a skinny blonde daughter.)

So the family tree, begun in the mid-1700's, continues into the 21st Century....

  • 'Nicolas Le Floch'
  • 'Columbo' - "Etude In Black"
  • 'Sam Benedict'
  • 'The Gallant Men'
  • 'That Girl'
  • 'Bare Essence'
  • 'The New Normal'
  • 'Columbo' - "An Exercise in Fatality"
  • 'F Troop'

* Usually TV characters are the same age as the actors who portray them, unless otherwise stated - as was the case with Milo Janus the fitness expert, or Hekawi medicine man Roaring Chicken.  If Nicolas Le Floch had been the same age as Jerome Robart, then he would have been born around 1723.......

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