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How Did Patty Hearst’s Husband Die?

December 22, 2020
3 min read
Image Credit: CNN

Investigation Discovery’s ‘The Crimes That Changed Us: Patty Hearst’ examines the 1974 kidnapping of heiress Patty Hearst by left-wing organization Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) and its brutal aftermath, including her Stockholm Syndrome, her crimes as a member of SLA, and her subsequent stint in prison. The most significant aspect in the episode, though, is, of course, how Patty managed to turn her life around after all that transpired. Guiding her through it, apart from her wealthy family, was the man who turned out to be the love of Patty’s life, her bodyguard turned husband, Bernard Shaw.

Who Was Bernard Shaw?

Image Credit: CNN

Bernard Lee Shaw, born September 3, 1945, graduated from the University of San Francisco before enrolling himself in the United States Army. After that, he joined the San Francisco Police Department, where he served for a total of 15 years, gaining massive amounts of respect from his colleagues for his discipline, his way of work, and his aim of always seeking justice before anything else.

In 1976, as a divorced father of two, Bernard met Patty Hearst at San Francisco’s Top of the Mark restaurant the day after she was released on a $1.5 million bail. He was a member of her 20-person security detail, but their relationship went much further. After Patty Hearst was convicted of the robbery charges against her later that year, Bernard drove 60 miles each way from his home near San Francisco four times a week to visit her in confinement in Pleasanton, California.

The couple got engaged on Valentine’s Day in 1978, and a year later, two months after Patty’s release from her 22-month stint in prison, they tied the knot in a chapel in the middle of San Francisco Bay. They then went ahead to sire two daughters together. “I remember I thought she was awfully small,” Bernard once said, recalling his first meeting with Patty. “And I thought she was cute. She had a real nice smile.”

How Did Bernard Shaw Die?

Bernard Shaw passed away at the age of 68, on December 17, 2013, in Garrison, New York. The cause of his death has been reported as him succumbing to his long and brutal battle with cancer. A representative for Bernard’s family confirmed this news the day after, revealing, “He went peacefully at home with his wife of 34 years, sister Joan, and daughters Lydia Hearst and Gillian Hearst-Simonds, along with [her] husband Christian Simonds by his side.”

The statement further read, “He was loved deeply by his family and adored by everyone who had the pleasure of meeting and knowing him. We kindly ask that you respect the privacy of the family during this time.” At the time of his passing, Bernard was the Vice President of corporate security for Hearst Corporation, an organization that he joined in 1983, after his marriage to Patty.

“For three decades, Bernie served Hearst Corporation with loyalty and distinction,” said Steven R. Swartz, President and CEO. “All of us are grateful for his long tenure and friendship. He will be greatly missed.” Frank A. Bennack Jr., the Executive Vice-Chairman, also added, “Bernie was a dedicated employee — much beloved by his fellow workers — as well as a loving father and husband. Our condolences go out to his immediate family and the entire Hearst family as well.”

Read More: Where Are Patty Hearst and Bernard Shaw’s Daughters Now?

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