She Really Is a He: The Bizarre Liz Carmichael Auto Caper
When dream-car hypester Liz Carmichael went on the lam charged with defrauding her investors, police were puzzled to discover wigs, hair remover and well-padded bras in the abandoned $100,000 home the self-styled “widow” had shared with five children in Dallas (PEOPLE, March 10).
Now the mystery has been dramatically cleared up. Liz was nabbed by the FBI climbing through the window of a rented Miami house clad in a pink checked pants suit. The fingerprints clinched it: she was a he. Liz was disclosed to be one Jerry Dean Michael, 47, a fugitive from justice since 1961.
Many of the details of the masquerade remain murky, but apparently the 6′, 175-pound Michael passed himself off as Liz Carmichael for 13 years. He evidently derived as much pleasure from his tightrope walk between sexual identities as from his numerous scams to relieve the public of loose cash—most recently as head of the Twentieth Century Motor Corp.
As Liz Carmichael, Michael often boasted that he would “rule the auto industry like a queen” with a cheap, gas-economizing car called the Dale. Now he is wanted for questioning in connection with phony real estate sales, counterfeiting and gun running—not to mention the dream car.
What about the five kids? Jerry Michael owns up to fathering them all. Vivian Barrett Michael—the woman Jerry married in 1959 and whom “Liz” was in the habit of introducing as her secretary—is the mother of the brood. “We love her just as much as we loved him. The children call her Mother Liz and me just plain Mother,” attests Vivian of her husband, who last week said he is a transsexual who has had a sex change operation. Upon capture Jerry Michael insisted that for all the misadventures he is accused of, the dream car can live up to its 70 mpg claim. “I believe 100 percent in this car,” claims the 50 percent man.