Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times
Erle Stanley Gardner's name may not turn up in the annals of literature alongside William Shakespeare's or F. Scott Fitzgerald's or even Charles Bukowski's, but he's the attorney-turned-author who gave us Perry Mason, hero of more than 80 mysteries. Gardner's law office for his early writing years in the 1920s and '30s was on California Street in downtown Ventura. Later he moved to Temecula. And in 1968, as he neared the age of 80, he finally married Della Street -- his longtime secretary, that is, whose real name was Agnes "Jean" Bethel). He died in 1970.
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