The ultimate jilted lover, Jean Harris was born Jean Struven in 1923 to a wealthy Cleveland suburban family.
Raised in a strict Christian Scientist household, Jean was a high-achiever in school, and attended the prestigious Smith College.
Soon after graduation, she married Jim Harris, a handsome Navy veteran who worked as a sales engineer, an outdoor man.
Working as a schoolteacher for the first few years of their marriage and then decided to quit and devote herself to fulltime homemaking. The marriage, whilst never unhappy, simply ran its course, and the couple were divorced in 1965.
She began dating a Dr. Herman Tarnower, a high-society cardiologist, later author of the Scarsdale Diet, and serial charmer. In 1967, Tarnower surprised many by proposing to Jean, but, fearing her son's schooling, delayed him. However, Tarnower developed cold feet, and resumed his promiscuous lifestyle.
Jean moved to a post as Director of the Middle School at Springside, a female academy in a hoity-toity Philadelphia suburb. In 1977, she became head of ultra-exclusive Madeira school in Washington D.C.
Suffering from depression, and alarmed at an incident involving the drug taking of several of her pupils in March 1980, Jean decided on suicide. Before doing so, she wanted to say goodbye to Dr. Tarnower, and so entered his property, with her gun ready to take her own life.
In the resulting scuffle as she tried to talk to the doctor, she shot him four times in the body and hand.
She pleaded temporary insanity and accidental death in a very high-profile trial, which raised interesting legal questions, and, moreover, divided the sexes. She was found guilty of second-degree murder.
In 1992, NY Governor Mario Cuomo granted her clemency on grounds of ill health.