Sophia Farrar, the woman who held Kitty Genovese in her arms as the latter died in an infamous 1964 Kew Gardens slaying, passed away Aug. 28 at the age of 92.
Genovese’s murder became infamous when The New York Times reported that nearly 40 witnesses failed to stop the attack, not wanting to get involved.
“I only hope that she knew it was me, that she wasn’t alone,” Farrar said in “The Witness,” a 2015 documentary about the killing.
One of Genovese’s brothers, Bill, was an executive producer on the film, which shows his preoccupation with learning more about the tragedy.
In the late 1960s, not wanting to be an “apathetic bystander” like the people who didn’t help his sister, he volunteered for the Marines. He lost his legs in Vietnam.
“It would have made such a difference to my family knowing that Kitty died in the arms of a friend,” he said in the movie.
The documentary showed that other reporters had questions about the story of 38 witnesses, and it was later learned that the story had been exaggerated. But the idea had already become ingrained in the public consciousness, with episodes of “Perry Mason” and “Law & Order” loosely based on the events and a 1975 TV movie, “Death Scream,” with Ed Asner and Cloris Leachman as the parents of the murder victim.
Then-president Bill Clinton even referenced Genovese in a speech on public safety at Brooklyn College in 1994.
Farrar’s daughter, Deborah Farrar Starker, told the Chronicle that her mother would speak of Genovese over the years.
“But the false narrative that was created because of the lies printed in the media became hard to deal with and so my mom, and the rest of the family, only spoke about it if it was mentioned to us and we tried to do what we could to set the record straight,” she said in an email.
Farrar held various secretarial and communications positions at the American Cancer Society. She worked for the United States Army Signal Corps and Western Union during World War II.
The Farrar family lived in Kew Gardens from 1956 through 1971 before moving to Richmond Hill.
Farrar Starker added that the family stayed in touch with Bill Genovese and Kitty’s partner, Mary Ann Zielonko, for years.
Farrar is survived by her husband of 71 years, Joseph; her son, Michael, and his wife, Diana; her daughter, Deborah, and her husband, Isaac; three granddaughters and one great-grandson. Her body was cremated.