Nicholas Francisco, a former Publicis executive, is the real life Don Draper -- the Mad Men character who abandoned one life for another using a secret identity. Francisco disappeared after leaving Publicis in Seattle in February 2008. His discarded Toyota Paseo was found outside a condominium complex. It was revealed on Monday that he is alive and well, and living out a secret double life in California.
In the show, Don Draper is a successful adman in New York, but it emerges that his real name is Richard Whitman, a soldier in the Korean War who switched identities with a dead comrade, "Don Draper," in order to get sent home.
Francisco's wife, who has three children -- just like Betty Draper from the AMC show -- began a campaign to find him. Yesterday, that campaign came to an end with a simple announcement on FindNicholasFrancisco.com:
Nicholas has been found! Updated 11/09/2009Just like Don Draper, who routinely cheats on his wife and hides money from her in Mad Men, Francisco also led a double life. During the search for Francisco, Christine Francisco found an internet trail left by her husband featuring secret bank accounts, videotapes and email addresses. He was "looking for sex partners online. ... cruising for men and women," sometimes using the screen name "Fun Times Steve," according to this KIRO 7 video:
"He had been leading a horrific double life since before we were married, and I never knew of it," she said. "In hindsight, I can see a few things, but there was never anything major that made me -- I mean, he came home every night."He will not be prosecuted, even though his disappearance was investigated by the police and his wife -- who at one time believed he was murdered -- is clearly heartbroken:
The Sheriff's Office said Monday it has learned that Francisco had legally changed his name and moved to another state, but refused to disclose which state. However, one law-enforcement source identified his new residence as California.
"I have been flabbergasted by the amount of people across the country who have taken an interest in this case. And I don't know why," [sheriff's spokesman John] Urquhart said.And finally: Don't believe everything you read on the internet. Christine was at one time regarded as a suspect by bloggers following the case.
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