In July 1963, the young German immigrant Weingand applied to change his name legally to "Peter Lorie, Jr.", claiming two reasons – (1) everyone called him "Peter Lorie" and (2) his own name was too hard to pronounce.
The real Peter Lorre objected to this attempt to trade on his name. Peter had no problem with people who wanted to imitate him. "I am without a question of a doubt the most imitated man in night clubs." But to take his name was something entirely different. "My name to me is a reward. It means to me everything that encompasses me in relationship to others."
On Oct. 3, 1963, the Superior Court of Los Angeles County considered Weingand's petition.
On Sept. 1, 2008, BBC Radio 4 dramatized the resulting trial in an original play called "Peter Lorre vs Peter Lorre", based on actual trial transcripts. On Monday, May 10, 2010, the play will be rebroadcast over BBC Radio 4, FM only, at 2:15 p.m., British Standard Time.
Lorre fans around the world may listen over the BBC Radio 4 website. And for one week following transmission, the play will be available through the BBC 4 website’s iPlayer.
In his Lorre biography The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre, Stephen D. Youngkin details what happened following the trial. Months after Peter's death on March 23, 1964, Eugene Weingand reapplied and was permitted to change his name legally to "Peter Lorre, Jr". He also pursued a career in acting, appearing in small roles in Made-for-TV movies such as The Cat Creature (1973) and an episode of Get Smart! (1965) as a suspected KAOS agent.
And he didn’t mind letting other people believe – incorrectly – that he was the son of the real Peter Lorre.
"Peter Lorre vs Peter Lorre" is now available for MP3 download through Amazon. More information, including links, can be found on the Peter Lorre on Radio page on the official website of The Lost One: A Life of Peter Lorre.