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Evelyn Dawn Knight (born November 5, 1942)[1] is an English woman known for her involvement in the Abscam sting operation of the 1970s, with her ex-husband Mel Weinberg. A character inspired by her was portrayed on film by Amy Adams in American Hustle (2013) for which Adams was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. The story of Abscam was depicted as well in the 1981 book The Sting Man by Robert Greene.[2]

Evelyn Knight
Born
Evelyn Dawn Knight

(1942-11-05) 5 November 1942 (age 76)
ResidenceFlorida, United States
OccupationCon artist, socialite
Spouse(s)Mel Weinberg
(1982–1998; divorced)

Contents

Personal lifeEdit

Knight was born in Watford, the daughter of Ethel (née Wilson) and Sidney Knight. Her father was the manager of a crumpet factory.[3]

Knight migrated to the United States in 1967 when she was in her late 20s. At a party on Long Island that was sponsored by the British government, she met Mel Weinberg, a Jewish businessman who is 17 years her senior, and the two began a long love affair. Weinberg was married to his second wife, Marie at the time. Marie committed suicide in 1982, at age 58. She had confronted Knight about the affair, after she learned that Knight was living nearby in a house being paid for by her husband. Soon after Marie's death, Knight and Weinberg married.[4][5]

AbscamEdit

Weinberg began involving Evelyn in his cons, using her as a ploy to conduct business. He would introduce her as Lady Evelyn Knight, one of the world's richest women. The two were arrested in 1977 on charges of fraud and conspiracy. They made a plea-deal with the FBI to help them in the investigation of Abscam, and in return their charges would be dropped for probation.[6]

Later lifeEdit

Knight kept out of the spotlight once the Abscam era ended, and moved to Florida with her husband Mel. They divorced in 1998, but still lived near each other until his death in 2018. Knight found work at NASA, where she took care of animals used in space experiments.[7]

Portrayals in the mediaEdit

 
Amy Adams portrays a fictionalized version of Knight, known as Sydney Prosser and Edith Greensly, in American Hustle.

Amy Adams was cast as Knight for the 2013 American black comedy-crime film American Hustle, written and directed by David O. Russell. The film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Adams was nominated for Best Actress for her performance as Knight. The script for the film made changes to Knight’s story, including portraying Knight as an American named Sydney Prosser who pretended to be British as a way to conduct scams. In the film, the character Prosser gave her British alter-ego the name of Edith Greensly.[8][9]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Evelyn Knight public record accessed March 21, 2015
  2. ^ Con Man in White Hat accessed March 21, 2015
  3. ^ Evelyn Knight birth record accessed March 21, 2015
  4. ^ Marie Weinberg dies accessed March 21, 2015
  5. ^ American Hustle- the true story accessed March 21, 2015
  6. ^ Mel Weinberg tells his story accessed March 21, 2015
  7. ^ [1] The real American Hustle
  8. ^ [2] The real American Hustle] accessed March 21, 2015
  9. ^ Oscars 2014: American Hustle accessed March 21, 2015