Ernest Aron Became Elizabeth Eden : AIDS Kills Woman Behind ‘Dog Day’

Associated Press

The person whose desire for a sex-change operation prompted a homosexual lover to attempt a bank robbery--the basis for the movie “Dog Day Afternoon”--died Tuesday in Rochester, a hospital official said today.

Her former lover, John Wojtowicz, 42, of Brooklyn, said Elizabeth Debbie Eden, 41, formerly Ernest Aron, died of pneumonia resulting from AIDS.

A spokeswoman for Genesee Hospital in Rochester, Jean Dalmath, confirmed the death but said Eden “requested that we release no information about her illness.”


Wojtowicz and Aron, dressed in women’s clothing, were “married” in a public ceremony in 1971. In August, 1972, Aron, despondent over his financial inability to get a sex-change operation, tried to kill himself with a drug overdose, Wojtowicz said.

Wojtowicz and a partner then tried to rob a bank to get the money for the operation. They took hostages, the partner was killed and Wojtowicz was arrested. The story was turned into the 1975 film “Dog Day Afternoon,” starring Al Pacino.

Wojtowicz served seven years in prison; Aron got the sex-change operation and legally married someone else, then divorced.

Wojtowicz did two more stretches in prison for parole violations in 1984 and 1986-87. He was released in April, he said, and Eden visited him in New York about once a month.