Environmental activist Erin Brockovich, who is also a media personality, became famous after working as a paralegal at the law firm Masry & Vititoe. She successfully built the case against Pacific Gas and Electric, which led to the largest settlement ever paid in a lawsuit in the United States.
Erin Brockovich: Biography
Erin Brockovich was born as one of four children of Betty Jo (née O’Neal) and Frank Pattee on 22 June 1960 in Lawrence, Kansas. Her father was a former American football player who became an industrial engineer, while her mother was a journalist. Her siblings are Frank Jr., Thomas, and Jodie Pattee.
Brockovich attended Lawrence High School before enrolling at Kansas State University. She later moved to Wade College in Dallas, Texas, where she graduated with an associate degree in applied arts in 1980. After graduating, she took a management trainee position at Kmart in Newport Beach, California, before later deciding to quit to become a model. In 1981, she first entered a local beauty contest, Miss Pacific Coast, which she won.
However, she gave up the crown after she found love and moved across the country with her family until the marriage broke up. After that, she sought work as an assistant in a brokerage firm in Reno, Nevada. A few years later, Brokovich was involved in a near-fatal car accident that required a neck surgery. She then sued the other party involved through the law firm Masry&Vititoe, based in San Fernando, California, and eventually obtained a settlement. However, the money was very small and could not support her and her family, which led her to look for a job to make ends meet.
One of her lawyers, Ed Masry, is said to have taken pity on her and offered her an office job in his firm, which she accepted wholeheartedly. One day, while carrying out her usual day-to-day activities, Brokovich stumbled across documents from the utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) that contained blood samples in his files. Their curiosity was aroused and Brokovich asked their bosses for permission to investigate the case further. She then rummaged through tons of paperwork, which led her to visit the town of Hinkley in the California desert, where a number of people had fallen ill. After further investigation, Erin Brockovich discovered that the diseases were due to high levels of hexavalent chromium in the city’s drinking water.
The substance was traced back to PG&E’s Hinkley station and subsequently led to a class-action lawsuit by more than 600 Hinkley residents. After three years, the case was settled in 1996 for a record $333 million settlement fee. For her relentless pursuit of the case, Erin Brockovich received a $2.5 million fee. The case attracted national attention and attracted the attention of Hollywood producers who turned the story into the movie Erin Brockovich (2000), whose main character was played by Julia Roberts.
The film was a critical and commercial success, generating more than 250 million dollars and winning several awards. It also brought great fame to the real Erin Brockovich as she embarked on a career as an environmental activist and advocate while publishing a number of books and becoming a public speaker. Since then, she has been involved in dozens of cases against giants in the automotive, pharmaceutical, and manufacturing industries, while building a consulting firm that tracks environmental threats around the world.
Who is Erin Brockovich’s Husband? Her Children
Erin Brockovich was married three times. Her first marriage was to the restaurant manager and actor Shawn Brown, who is best known for his work in the movies R.O.T.O.R. (1987) and Spunky Airlines (2010). The couple married in 1982 and had two children; Matthew Brown, born in 1983, and Katie Brown, born in 1985. In December 1987, the two took time out of their marriage and decided to go their separate ways.
In her second marriage, she married the stockbroker Steven Brockovich, whom she met while working as a secretary in a brokerage firm in Reno, California. The two married in 1989 and had one child, their third and last child was named Elisabeth, born in 1991. The following year Erin and Steven divorced. Between that time and 1999, when she met actor Eric L. Ellis, best known for his work on Coming to America (1988), Major Payne (1995) and Showgirls (1995), she met a number of people. The couple married in March 1999 and have remained a couple ever since.