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The Mysterious Death of Thelma Todd


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#46    Antilles

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 11:29 AM

View PostJonathanVonErich, on 17 May 2012 - 09:32 PM, said:

Gorgeous and very talented. :yes:



She sure was a looker. Great find jon. Thanks for posting.


#47    JonathanVonErich

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 03:28 PM

Short film featuring Thelma:






#48    JonathanVonErich

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 03:30 PM




#49    Antilles

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 12:34 PM

Where do you find this stuff?

Great to see her although she wasn't much of an actress. She was a schoolteacher originally. Bet she wished she'd stuck with that!


#50    JonathanVonErich

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 01:17 PM

lol on Youtube ! Sadly there isn't much videos about her career, I've shared what I could find.

Well I think she was a talented actress, but it's obvious that she was popular because of her curves rather than for her acting abilities.


#51    Antilles

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 12:29 PM

View PostJonathanVonErich, on 25 May 2012 - 01:17 PM, said:

lol on Youtube ! Sadly there isn't much videos about her career, I've shared what I could find.

Well I think she was a talented actress, but it's obvious that she was popular because of her curves rather than for her acting abilities.

Well jon, we can disagree about her acting abilities but she's not here because of them. Or lack thereof.

The night she died TT went to a party given by Ida Lupino for her father Stanley. Ida said that she thought TT seemed preoccupied.
TT must have been receiving threats about not allowing Luciano and the Mob to use the upstairs of her Roadside Cafe as a gambling casino.


#52    JonathanVonErich

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 12:56 AM

View PostAntilles, on 26 May 2012 - 12:29 PM, said:

Well jon, we can disagree about her acting abilities but she's not here because of them. Or lack thereof.

The night she died TT went to a party given by Ida Lupino for her father Stanley. Ida said that she thought TT seemed preoccupied.
TT must have been receiving threats about not allowing Luciano and the Mob to use the upstairs of her Roadside Cafe as a gambling casino.

Some people said she was a terrible actress; I think she was talented and very charismatic. I mean when you look at actresses back in the late 20's-early 30's almost all of them played "too big", so I don't think she was less talented than other women back then, I think she was damn fine. Must have been difficult to accept for Thelma, she was no dummy, I'm sure she knew that most producers wanted her to play in their movies just because she was gorgeous, I'm sure part of her wanted to prove to everybody that yes, she was a very talented actress.

A few days before she was found dead, Thelma received the visit of a mysterious man who, based on a witness' testimony, wanted to see Thelma in private to talk. Thelma was afraid of this man and left, asking her chauffeur to drive "faster, faster, faster". Donald Wolfe offered evidences in his book "Black Dahlia Files" that the mysterious man was Bugsy Siegel, and that he was probably sent by Luciano.

Thelma and Buster Keaton !



Thelma in one of her last movie, in 1934



Edited by JonathanVonErich, 27 May 2012 - 12:57 AM.


#53    Antilles

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 12:56 PM

This December 16th, it will have been seventy-three years since Thelma Todd was found dead at 29, in the garage of her home. The car she was sitting in was still on. The exact circumstances of her death remain a mystery.
Thelma Alice Todd was born on July 29th 1905 in Lawrence, MA. She was a lively child, always good at academics, and she wanted to be a schoolteacher. In college, her mother (who wanted her to be more than a "schoolmarm") encouraged her to participate in beauty pageants. In 1925, she won the Miss Massachusetts title, and was subsequently offered movie roles. She had a gift for comedy (though she also did drama and horror roles) and starred in over 130 movies. Transitioning easily from silent to talkie films, she worked with such venerated actors as Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, Zasu Pitts and the Marx Brothers. Her bombshell look earned her the moniker, "The Ice Cream Blonde."

Posted ImageLike many in the industry, Thelma lived fast. She had so many car crashes, the studio eventually insisted that she have a driver. She was married briefly in 1932 to 1934 -- a party guy, Pat DiCicco. Their chief entertainment appeared to be drunken brawls, one of which landed Thelma in the hospital for an emergency appendectomy.
In the early thirties, Todd bought a piece of property on what is now called the Pacific Coast Highway, facing the ocean and built a structure that would double as her home (in the upstairs apartments) and Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Cafe, which was downstairs. The Cafe was a great success, catering to the entertainment and underworld crowds.
There are few facts about the death of Thelma Todd that anyone can agree on. She had purchased and was running the cafe with her boyfriend, director, Roland West. They lived above the cafe in adjoining bedrooms.
Posted Image
evening before her death, he admitted that they had been fighting. It was a Saturday, and that night, Thelma was driven to a party being held for her in Hollywood at Cafe Trocadero. It was hosted by Stanley Lupino and his daughter Ida. Her ex, Pat DiCicco had requested to be seated next to her, but he arrived with a date and immediately attached himself to another group. Thelma was humiliated and fought with him. She proceeded to get quite drunk and confided to Ida she was seeing a rich businessman.
Posted ImageMeanwhile, back at the Cafe, West locked up. as was his habit, at two am. Todd left the Trocadero sometime before three. Though people claim to have seen or heard from her early the next day -- a pharmacist at 9:30 am, and a close friend claimed to have received a phone call, where she identified herself as "Hot Toddy, " (a well-known nickname) to talk about a party -- none of these instances can be verified.
It wasn't until Monday morning around ten-thirty am, that the maid found Thelma, slumped over at the wheel of her 1932 Lincoln Phaeton. Eventually, her death was ruled a suicide, though everyone said that 29 year old Todd was in good spirits.
Posted Image
Inconsistent facts quickly came to life. The coroner determined she died between five and eight am on Sunday. She was still wearing her party clothes from Saturday night, though she had peas and carrots in her stomach -- which weren't served at Trocadero. There were no signs of struggle -- he fingernails were undamaged -- but her nose was broken. Her sandals were clean, but the police determined that anyone climbing the outside staircase would have had dirty shoes.
Posted ImageA number of theories arose. The most sensational was that Lucky Luciano had been pressing Thelma to turn her club into a gambling joint. When she refused, he had her offed. It could have been an accident. Thelma, having been locked out of the house, went up to the garage and turned on the car to keep warm (or to go someplace) and fell asleep. But West said that she wasn't shy about waking him up when she got home and a key to the house was found on her person. There was a rumor that West confessed on his deathbed claimed that he had unknowingly locked Todd in the garage. After her funeral, Todd was cremated, leading people to wonder if there had been a cover-up by the notoriously corrupt District Attorney's office.
Whatever happened, Hollywood lost a star and gained a mystery.
Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Cafe (now the home of Paulist Productions -- CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC) 17575 Pacific Coast Highway
Present day photos by Jacy Young for LAist
Contact the author of this article or email tips@laist.com with further questions, comments or tips


#54    JonathanVonErich

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 01:32 AM

View PostAntilles, on 29 May 2012 - 12:56 PM, said:

There was a rumor that West confessed on his deathbed claimed that he had unknowingly locked Todd in the garage. After her funeral, Todd was cremated, leading people to wonder if there had been a cover-up by the notoriously corrupt District Attorney's office.

I still have my suspicions about West and his wife. I think both of them are still very good suspects. :yes:


#55    Antilles

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 12:25 PM

View PostJonathanVonErich, on 30 May 2012 - 01:32 AM, said:

I still have my suspicions about West and his wife. I think both of them are still very good suspects. :yes:

So what do you think happened?

She didn't climb all those stairs in those shoes and she wore those shoes that night,

West carried her up the stairs? He drove her up to the garage but I'm not sure how he could have?

Interested to hear your thoughts.


#56    regi

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 01:30 PM

Forgive me if I've missed it, but was there an autopsy?


#57    Antilles

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 11:23 AM

View Postregi, on 02 June 2012 - 01:30 PM, said:

Forgive me if I've missed it, but was there an autopsy?

There was plus some particularly gruesome autopsy photos.

Dr. A.F. Wagner, county autopsy surgeon, testifies that in his opinion, Todd died sometime early Sunday.

"He added that his opinion was based on medical examinations, facts and the material circumstances surrounding the case.

"Miss Todd's death, Dr. Wagner testified, in his opinion was due to carbon monoxide poisoning. An analysis of her bloodstream, he said, indicated between 75% and 80% carbon monoxide saturation.
"There also were traces of alcohol in the brain of the actress, he testified, but only about 0.13% by saturation, which would not be sufficient to cause death."

By today’s standards, with a 0.13% blood-alcohol level, she would be considered drunk.

http://latimesblogs..../thelma-todd-1/


#58    regi

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 03:01 PM

Thanks for that info., Antilles. I've since learned that I did 'miss it', and I appreciate your patience and response.

I've read a little about this case, and it seems to me that it most likely was an accidental death because (despite reports of blood found here and there) the coroner stated there were no injuries on the body.

Edited by regi, 04 June 2012 - 03:02 PM.


#59    Antilles

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 12:03 PM

View Postregi, on 04 June 2012 - 03:01 PM, said:

Thanks for that info., Antilles. I've since learned that I did 'miss it', and I appreciate your patience and response.

I've read a little about this case, and it seems to me that it most likely was an accidental death because (despite reports of blood found here and there) the coroner stated there were no injuries on the body.

That's OK. The only way you really learn about a case is reading. :yes:

I think she was murdered. It wasn't an accident and it wasn't suicide. She didn't walk up to her garage.
And that's the sticking point. How did she get there? Someone put her in her car. It was a 12 cylinder gas guzzler and it would have taken a few minutes for her to die from monoxide poisoning.

The only question is, who killed her?

IMO the Mob. They wanted her night club for illegal gambling and she wouldn't play ball.


#60    regi

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 02:29 PM

Well, I recognize that it was somewhat of a physical feat to walk up to the garage, but I certainly wouldn't put it past a determined individual.
I just don't think it's an impossibility.

The driver said he'd left her alone, and that no one else was around, so I think that if this was a homicide, the best suspect is West because otherwise, it would have been a very opportunistic crime, and I think the circumstances lessens the probability that it was.

The sticking point for me, though, is that there would have been injuries to the body if this was a homicide... some sort of evidence of an assault, and according to the coroner, there wasn't any.





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