Jump to content




Welcome to Unexplained Mysteries! Please sign in or create an account to start posting and to access a host of extra features.


* * * * * 1 votes

The Mysterious Death of Thelma Todd


  • Please log in to reply
98 replies to this topic

#1    JonathanVonErich

JonathanVonErich

    Telekinetic

  • Banned
  • 7,519 posts
  • Joined:19 Jul 2009
  • Gender:Not Selected

Posted 14 July 2011 - 02:25 AM

Thelma Todd was one of the biggest Hollywood star of the late 20's and early 30's. She was not only really beautiful, she was also a very talented actress. Appearing in over 40 movies between 1926 and 1935, she is best remembered for her comedic roles in films like Marx Brothers movies, Monkey Business and Horse Feathers. In the 1930s, she opened a restaurant, Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Cafe, and took up residence in a luxurious apartment above the cafe. Located near the ocean on the Roosevelt Highway at Catellammare, it became a popular meeting and eating place. It was in the garage of the Sidewalk Cafe on December 15, 1935, that she was found in her parked car, dead of carbon monoxide poisoning. Was it suicide or murder?

Posted Image

The death of Thelma is still a mystery. Some people think that she felt asleep in her car and died by accident because of carbon monoxide poisoning. The theory is that Thelma, cold and unable to get into her apartment at the locked Cafe, trudged up to her car in the garage, started it up and turned on the heater. In time, she was overcome by odorless carbon monoxide fumes in the closed garage. Others think that she committed suicide. She had trouble with the IRS, was often very depressed and was addicted to pills. However most people, including myself, think that she was murdered. But by who ?? and why ??

The Grand Jury investigation into her death yielded conflicting results. Spots of blood were found both on and in the car, and on Todd's mouth. This led to the theory that she might have been knocked out, then placed in the car by persons unknown.

The first suspect is Thelma's ex-husband, Pat DiCicco, a self-described agent with underworld connections. After one too many beatings, Todd divorced him. He felt humiliated and may have sought revenge.

Another suspect is Lucky Luciano. Rumors abounded that mob boss Lucky Luciano wanted to use Todd’s establishment as a front for a gambling den. Allegedly, just days before she was discovered dead, Todd and Luciano met for lunch at the infamous Brown Derby. Luciano supposedly informed Todd of his interests in her restaurant. She told him to kiss off and that he could have her locale over her dead body. Some people think that Luciano asked his best friend Bugsy Siegel to kill Thelma. The problem with this theory is that we have no evidences that indeed Luciano was interested in Thelma's restaurant. We know that the two of them met several times but we have no proof that he was planning to set up an illegal gambling operation on the unused third floor of the restaurant.

Also Thelma might have been murdered by the wife of her business partner ( and lover ) Roland West, Jewel Carmen. Todd and West, a film director, partnered to open Thelma Todd’s Sidewalk Café. Carmen didn`t object to her husband`s liaison with Todd, but when the restaurant started to lose money, she threatened to kill Todd for squandering her investment. Carmen was mentally unstable and violent. Others think that West killed Thelma. He bitterly resented Thelma`s numerous affairs.

The death of Thelma Todd remains a mystery. Was it Murder ?? Suicide ?? An Accident ?? We'll probably never know. For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Thelma Todd has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6262 Hollywood Blvd.

Article: Investigation Discovery
Wikipedia: Thelma Todd

Posted Image

Edited by JonathanVonErich, 14 July 2011 - 02:28 AM.


#2    rashore

rashore

    Majestic 12 Operative

  • Member
  • 6,500 posts
  • Joined:26 Feb 2010
  • Gender:Female

Posted 15 July 2011 - 03:53 PM

Huh, well that's an interesting case :)


#3    Blues Girl

Blues Girl

    Psychic Spy

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,218 posts
  • Joined:16 Jun 2011
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Under your bed

  • Ribbons is a stupid name for a horse

Posted 16 July 2011 - 01:36 AM

Wow. She was so pretty! I thought I recognized her from the Marx Brothers movies. Those guys were great!

I shall one day rule this world using only my wits, charm, and a bent paperclip!
A balanced life is a rat on each shoulder >'.'<

#4    ~TheBigK~

~TheBigK~

    Government Agent

  • Member
  • 3,925 posts
  • Joined:13 Dec 2004
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Wisconsin

Posted 16 July 2011 - 04:15 PM

Never heard of this one, interesting. It does sound like murder was a good probability though, any opinions on who you think did it Jon?

Posted Image

#5    slowfade

slowfade

    Ectoplasmic Residue

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 210 posts
  • Joined:17 Sep 2010
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Somewhere in London

  • "It's just a ride" - Bill Hicks

Posted 16 July 2011 - 06:12 PM

Very interesting, I'd not read anything about this case before. It does sound highly suspicious, especially with those Mob connections. Let us know if you uncover anything else...

"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference
And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference"
- Eli Wiesel

#6    JonathanVonErich

JonathanVonErich

    Telekinetic

  • Banned
  • 7,519 posts
  • Joined:19 Jul 2009
  • Gender:Not Selected

Posted 16 July 2011 - 07:53 PM

View Post~TheBigK~, on 16 July 2011 - 04:15 PM, said:

Never heard of this one, interesting. It does sound like murder was a good probability though, any opinions on who you think did it Jon?
If Thelma was murdered then I think it was either Roland West or his wife Jewel Carmen. West bitterly resented Thelma`s numerous affairs and felt that Thelma didn't took care of the Restaurant ( West and Thelma were the owners of the restaurant ). Killing Thelma was for West the opportunity of becoming the majority owner of the Restaurant. But in my opinion his wife, Jewel Carmen, is a better suspect. She said many time that she wanted Thelma dead, she was mentally unstable, unpredictable and violent. Also she was jealous; she knew her husband was having an affair with Thelma and she was probably really sick of it. The small bruises and small amount of blood on Thelma's face is, to me, the kind of wounds inflicted by a woman, not by a man. I could be wrong but I am sure that a man would have done a lot more damage to Thelma's pretty face. Other believes that the bruises/blood was caused when Thelma died, that she probably hit her face on the steering wheel, we can't be positive that her bruises were indeed made by somebody else.

So my guess is either West or Carmen, perhaps the two of them together.


View Postslowfade, on 16 July 2011 - 06:12 PM, said:

Very interesting, I'd not read anything about this case before. It does sound highly suspicious, especially with those Mob connections. Let us know if you uncover anything else...
Perhaps the Mob was involved in Thelma's murder, however I am skeptical about this theory. Back then the Mob was very low-key, wanted to stay in the shadow. Luciano was already upset that some people knew that he was seeing Thelma on a regular basis, I don't think he would have taken the risk to kill a huge star like Thelma knowing that a lot of people would automatically assume that he could have been involved in the murder. I think it would have been too risky for Luciano, Bugsy or Mickey Cohen to kill a huge superstar like Thelma. Suspicions would have went automatically on the Mob and that would have been really bad for business. Anything is possible, but in my opinion the Mob wasn't involved in the death of Thelma.

Edited by JonathanVonErich, 16 July 2011 - 08:12 PM.


#7    Antilles

Antilles

    NCC-1701

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,178 posts
  • Joined:23 Jul 2011
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:2nd star from the left

Posted 23 July 2011 - 11:41 AM

View PostJonathanVonErich, on 16 July 2011 - 07:53 PM, said:

If Thelma was murdered then I think it was either Roland West or his wife Jewel Carmen. West bitterly resented Thelma`s numerous affairs and felt that Thelma didn't took care of the Restaurant ( West and Thelma were the owners of the restaurant ). Killing Thelma was for West the opportunity of becoming the majority owner of the Restaurant. But in my opinion his wife, Jewel Carmen, is a better suspect. She said many time that she wanted Thelma dead, she was mentally unstable, unpredictable and violent. Also she was jealous; she knew her husband was having an affair with Thelma and she was probably really sick of it. The small bruises and small amount of blood on Thelma's face is, to me, the kind of wounds inflicted by a woman, not by a man. I could be wrong but I am sure that a man would have done a lot more damage to Thelma's pretty face. Other believes that the bruises/blood was caused when Thelma died, that she probably hit her face on the steering wheel, we can't be positive that her bruises were indeed made by somebody else.

So my guess is either West or Carmen, perhaps the two of them together.



Perhaps the Mob was involved in Thelma's murder, however I am skeptical about this theory. Back then the Mob was very low-key, wanted to stay in the shadow. Luciano was already upset that some people knew that he was seeing Thelma on a regular basis, I don't think he would have taken the risk to kill a huge star like Thelma knowing that a lot of people would automatically assume that he could have been involved in the murder. I think it would have been too risky for Luciano, Bugsy or Mickey Cohen to kill a huge superstar like Thelma. Suspicions would have went automatically on the Mob and that would have been really bad for business. Anything is possible, but in my opinion the Mob wasn't involved in the death of Thelma.

Hi. I think the Mob was responsible for Thelma Todd's death. She wasn't a big star as you said. She was a B movie actress, well known in Hollywood but not a big star. Jean Harlow was a big star, not Thelma Todd. But she did well enough to get along and start her roadside cafe and get the Mob interested in a place for illegal gambling.

Her ex-husband Pat Di Cicco, one time wannabe agent, was involved with the mob and he brought them into Thelma's life and business.

Todd didn't commit suicide. She was knocked out,or drugged and carried up the stairs and placed in her car. The car was started, the garage door closed, she slumped against the steering wheel and died from CO2 poisoning.

She was whacked but it was subtle. Very subtle for the mob but then Luciano was a very shrewd operator. He wanted to send a message and he did.

Anyway, that's what I think.


#8    JonathanVonErich

JonathanVonErich

    Telekinetic

  • Banned
  • 7,519 posts
  • Joined:19 Jul 2009
  • Gender:Not Selected

Posted 28 July 2011 - 01:42 AM

View PostAntilles, on 23 July 2011 - 11:41 AM, said:

Hi. I think the Mob was responsible for Thelma Todd's death. She wasn't a big star as you said. She was a B movie actress, well known in Hollywood but not a big star. Jean Harlow was a big star, not Thelma Todd. But she did well enough to get along and start her roadside cafe and get the Mob interested in a place for illegal gambling.

Her ex-husband Pat Di Cicco, one time wannabe agent, was involved with the mob and he brought them into Thelma's life and business.

Todd didn't commit suicide. She was knocked out,or drugged and carried up the stairs and placed in her car. The car was started, the garage door closed, she slumped against the steering wheel and died from CO2 poisoning.
I respectfully disagree with you sir. I have read all I could find about Thelma and she was a very big star back in the early 30's. She didn't played in the biggest movies, I agree, but she was one of the most popular actress in Hollywood.

The mob theory is very interesting, I agree. I still believe that either West or Carmen is the killer ( maybe the two of them together ), but with the little evidence we have right now I guess every theory might be true. I doubt we'll ever know what really happened to Thelma. :(


#9    Antilles

Antilles

    NCC-1701

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,178 posts
  • Joined:23 Jul 2011
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:2nd star from the left

Posted 03 August 2011 - 10:57 AM

View PostJonathanVonErich, on 28 July 2011 - 01:42 AM, said:

I respectfully disagree with you sir. I have read all I could find about Thelma and she was a very big star back in the early 30's. She didn't played in the biggest movies, I agree, but she was one of the most popular actress in Hollywood.

The mob theory is very interesting, I agree. I still believe that either West or Carmen is the killer ( maybe the two of them together ), but with the little evidence we have right now I guess every theory might be true. I doubt we'll ever know what really happened to Thelma. :(

http://www.usc.edu/l...ndals/todd.html

No she wasn't a big star jon. She was popular among her peers to be sure but she was not an A lister. Anyway, that's not important. We both agree that she was murdered. The case never went any further than the Grand jury.

From the USC site.

she is best remembered for her comedic roles in films like Marx Brothers movies, Monkey Business and Horse Feathers.

The Grand Jury investigation into her death yielded conflicting results. Spots of blood were found both on and in the car, and on Todd's mouth. This led to the theory that she might have been knocked out, then placed in the car by persons unknown. In support of this theory was the additional fact that her blood alcohol level was .13; enough, it was stated, to "stupefy" her. To further this theory, Todd would have had to ascend a steep flight of outdoor stairs after leaving the cafe to reach the garage, and the shoes she was wearing when her body was discovered were high-heeled sandals and were free of any dirt. Additionally, an unidentified, smudged handprint was found on the door of her car.


She either took off her shoes to walk that very steep climb or she was carried there. And if she was carried there I really doubt a woman would have done that.


#10    JonathanVonErich

JonathanVonErich

    Telekinetic

  • Banned
  • 7,519 posts
  • Joined:19 Jul 2009
  • Gender:Not Selected

Posted 03 August 2011 - 05:22 PM

View PostAntilles, on 03 August 2011 - 10:57 AM, said:

The Grand Jury investigation into her death yielded conflicting results. Spots of blood were found both on and in the car, and on Todd's mouth. This led to the theory that she might have been knocked out, then placed in the car by persons unknown. In support of this theory was the additional fact that her blood alcohol level was .13; enough, it was stated, to "stupefy" her. To further this theory, Todd would have had to ascend a steep flight of outdoor stairs after leaving the cafe to reach the garage, and the shoes she was wearing when her body was discovered were high-heeled sandals and were free of any dirt. Additionally, an unidentified, smudged handprint was found on the door of her car.


She either took off her shoes to walk that very steep climb or she was carried there. And if she was carried there I really doubt a woman would have done that.
Thank you for the link Antilles. :)

Good point about the shoes, probably a good sign that she was carried, and if indeed she was carried then I agree that Carmen could have not done it by herself. Maybe she had help; from West ? Or maybe West did this by himself. I still believe West and/or Carmen are the most probable suspects. Maybe I am wrong but I feel that they were the ones who had the more "logical reasons" to kill Thelma.

However I agree with you that the way Thelma's body was found may suggest she was killed by the Mob, her death looks like a "typical" Mob Assassination. My problem with this theory, as I said in a previous post, is that back then Lansky and Luciano were really low-key and didn't wanted any attention brought on themselves. Some people in LA were aware that Thelma and Luciano were seeing each other from time to time and I'm sure that the death of Thelma convinced a lot of people that Luciano might have been the one responsible of the crime. I think it would have been too risky for Luciano and Lansky to kill Thelma. Even if they would have ordered Bugsy or Cohen to commit the murder I am sure that it would have been bad for business. Now I know that a lot of people were afraid of the Mob and I'm sure that these people who might have had doubts about Luciano would have never talked about it, but I really doubt that Luciano would have taken the risk to kill a very popular person like Thelma, I really think that it would have been really bad for business and too risky to do. But hey, it's only my opinion and I agree that everything about the Crime scene shows that the Mob might have been involved, I'm just skeptical about it. :)


#11    Antilles

Antilles

    NCC-1701

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,178 posts
  • Joined:23 Jul 2011
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:2nd star from the left

Posted 04 August 2011 - 07:32 AM

Hi Jon. But why would West kill Todd? She was a cash cow.It would be like biting the hand that feeds you. I understand where you're coming from but I just find the motive iffy.

It was common knowledge (apparently) that Luciano or whoever his local lackeys were (and I'm guessing Bugsy would have been around by this time) were putting the screws on Todd to allow a gambling joint/casino to operate in her roadside Inn.

See, that's much more of an obvious motive to me. She won't co-operate, she dies. Yes, it was subtle but then the Mob aren't going to want to scare the people who will ante up the big money. When Bugsy was taken out it was at home and no civilians were injured.

Anyway, it's just a thought. It's an interesting topic and good to find someone who enjoys debating about such things.


#12    JonathanVonErich

JonathanVonErich

    Telekinetic

  • Banned
  • 7,519 posts
  • Joined:19 Jul 2009
  • Gender:Not Selected

Posted 04 August 2011 - 05:30 PM

View PostAntilles, on 04 August 2011 - 07:32 AM, said:

Hi Jon. But why would West kill Todd? She was a cash cow.It would be like biting the hand that feeds you. I understand where you're coming from but I just find the motive iffy.
I think West had two reasons to kill Thelma:

- Thelma and West both owned the restaurant. By killing Thelma West had the chance to become the majority owner of the restaurant. West felt that Thelma didn't took care of the restaurant and maybe he decided that it would be better to take Thelma out of the way.

- West bitterly resented Thelma`s numerous affairs, so jealousy might have been a motive.

I just don't think the Mob had better motives to kill Thelma. But I agree, it's fun to talk and debate about it.  ^_^


#13    JonathanVonErich

JonathanVonErich

    Telekinetic

  • Banned
  • 7,519 posts
  • Joined:19 Jul 2009
  • Gender:Not Selected

Posted 01 November 2011 - 05:42 PM

Months ago I bought a great documentary, in fact my favorite documentary: America's 60 Greatest Unsolved Mysteries and Crimes ( available on Amazon ).

The murder of Thelma is number 39 of that countdown. The segment about the case is 10 minutes long, and since nobody had the thought of uploading on Youtube I'll do it before the end of the week. :)

The segment is really interesting, and a lot of theories are discussed, it's worth the watch. :)


#14    iamdee1

iamdee1

    Conspiracy Theorist

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 917 posts
  • Joined:30 Jun 2011
  • Gender:Female

Posted 02 November 2011 - 05:12 PM

Hey guys,
  

I'm not overly familiar with this case.  I agree that it could have been West or his wife, however, I don't believe that Luciano should be ruled out as a suspect simply because the evidence would point to him.

My grandfather was born in 1919 and his mother, my great grandmother Ivy ran moonshine for a gangster by the name of Bernie Shelton.  Great grandma had 11 children and when my grandfather was small, his father got mauled by a rabid dog.  Great Grandpa died from his injuries and my grandfather and his siblings were forced to work at an early age.

Great Grandma owned a laundry service and the seats were taken out of the delivery van so my 8 year old grandfather could drive it and make deliveries.  Piled among the laundry was moonshine that Great Grandma and the kids were making in the house and pouring into the bathtub to be bottled up.  When the Revenuers came to town, the mayor would contact Great Grandma and tell her the revenuers were going to be raiding the house looking for the Hooch.  So the kids would bottle up what they could and run into the woods to hide until they left town.

The Sheltons had an illegal gambling parlor called the Paradice where they would run women, moonshine, and gambing and my grandfather started working the different bars for the Shelton gang.  When he was 12, Shelton and greatgrandma had some business to take care of and left one of the bars in charge of my grandfather and a man came in and robbed it.  

Grandpa knew who it was, as it was someone that frequented the clubs,  and he told Shelton and his gang the name of the person that robbed him.  Within a week, the man was found shot in the head and stinking, in the trunk of his car.   Everyone knew who did it, there was no question about it, but the law enforcement and even the mayor of the town worked for Bernie and he never did any time for the crime or was even questioned about the murder.

The Shelton Gang was discribed by the Saturday Evening Post as America's Bloodiest Gang.

I don't think Luciano would be too worried about the trail leading back to him if he did it and if he had law enforcement in his pocket.


Here is an article about Bernies gang.
http://www.mcdonough...out-of-Illinois

Edited by iamdee1, 02 November 2011 - 05:40 PM.


#15    JonathanVonErich

JonathanVonErich

    Telekinetic

  • Banned
  • 7,519 posts
  • Joined:19 Jul 2009
  • Gender:Not Selected

Posted 02 November 2011 - 05:58 PM

Thanks for sharing De, interesting story. :)

I agree that the way Thelma's body was found may suggest she was killed by the Mob, but I still believe both West and his wife had more reasons to kill Thelma. I can be wrong, of course, but that's how I feel. It's too easy to blame the mob. In fact it seems that some people are blaming the mob for every famous murders of the 30's, 40's and 50's, maybe because some people can't accept the fact that "normal" citizen can do very bad things.

Like I said earlier I really believe that it was risky for Luciano to kill Thelma. In LA it was not secret that he was seeing her, and I believe guys like Lansky would have been totally against murdering Thelma, knowing that it could bring suspicions on them and their organization.

The story that Luciano was planning to set up an illegal gambling operation in Thelma's restaurant is only a rumor, therefore I don't see why Luciano would have taken the risk to kill a famous personality like Thelma.

It's possible that she was killed by the mob, but without evidences I can't believe it.





1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users