Was Mary Jayne Gold from Transatlantic a real person?

By Louie Fecou
Published: April 10, 2023
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Was Mary Jayne Gold from Transatlantic a real person? We discuss the popular Netflix series and one of the main protagonists. 

Transatlantic is a thrilling period drama that relates the story of American journalist Varian Fry to aid and rescue refugees from Marseille, France, during the Nazi occupation of Europe during World War 2.

Fry launches a massive effort to save thousands of Jews and refugees from deportation to Nazi Germany through false documentation, money, and safe passage to America.

Fry is aided by Mary Jayne Gold, the daughter of a wealthy American businessman. Mary risks her life on the front line of this particular battle, suffering severe hardships as she attempts to save the lives of others from concentration camps.

Mary Jayne Gold is an integral part of Fry’s campaign against the Nazis, and viewers have been wondering whether she was written for the show or is historically accurate. This well-written and professionally documented article will answer whether Mary Jayne Gold from Transatlantic is based on a real person.

Was Mary Jayne Gold from Netflix’s Transatlantic a real person?

Yes. Mary Jayne Gold was a real person. She was born in 1909 in the suburb of Evanston, located in Chicago, Illinois.

Her father was Egbert H. Gold, an engineer who manufactured radiators and heating systems.

What did Mary Jayne Gold do?

When her father died in 1928, her mother Margaret sent Mary Jayne to Italy for schooling. When she completed her final year of education, she became a part of the Paris cultural scene of the 1930s.

Ambitious and driven, Mary would strive to become a pilot, and after achieving this would come to own her plane.

When the German forces invaded France in 1940, she would go to unoccupied Marseille and meet Varian Fry. According to International Rescue Committee, the contemporary version of the ERC, Mary Jayne, would transfer data across the French and Spanish borders to British intelligence agents in Lisbon, Portugal.

In the show, Mary becomes part of a mission to break prisoners out of jail, but this may be fictionalized as no reports suggest she was a part of prison breaks.

In a narrative device for the show, her father would cut her off financially, forcing her to work as a spy for British Intelligence, but the reality of the situation is different, with Mary Jayne donating her wealth towards saving the refugees and renting the Villa Air-Bel as a safe house for the ERC.

Did Mary Jayne Gold have a husband? Did she marry?

Mary Jayne Gold never married.

How did Mary Jayne Gold die?

Sadly, the brave Mary died of pancreatic cancer on October 5, 1997, at the age of 88.

She lived in Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera, and in an interview with her friend and filmmaker Pierre Sauvage, he stated that Mary Jayne “felt that only one year in her life really mattered, and it was the year she spent in Marseilles.”

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