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JonathanVonErich

The Mysterious Death of Thelma Todd

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Posted (edited)

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?

thelma_todd_16d1frr-16d1fsh.jpg

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

Thelma_Todd_in_Corsair_5.jpg

Edited by JonathanVonErich

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Huh, well that's an interesting case :)

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

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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?

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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...

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Posted (edited)

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.

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

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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.

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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. :(

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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/libraries/archives/la/scandals/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.

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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. :)

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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.

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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. ^_^

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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. :)

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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.mcdonoughvoice.com/news/state_news/x379982100/In-a-hail-of-gunfire-Shelton-Gang-is-driven-out-of-Illinois

Edited by iamdee1

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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.

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From what I am reading on this case, her car was found in a garage that belonged to Carmen Jewels parents and was attached to their house. Also, it appears that West and Jewels marriage was over at the time and that West had moved in with Thelma Todd.

Todd spent the night of her death at a Hollywood party thrown by Ida Lapido where Todd and her ex husband were involved in a heated confrontation. The ex was also suspect in a beating death of an actor by the name of Ted Healy in a parking garage a few years later.

When Thelmas body was found, it was discovered she had a broken nose, her tooth was knocked out, had several broken ribs, and enough bruises to determine that she had been beat up. There was also more than enough blood on her clothes to render suspicioun.

The night of the murder she was so drunk that she received a ride home from Sid Graumann, because, as Sid called West and informed him, she was too drunk to drive there herself. Witnesses from the neighborhood stated that she had been seen at the door of her apartment screaming obseniites and kicking at the door but West refused to let her in, instead he locked the door and admitted they had gotten into a terrible fight because of her level of intoxication. He also admitted to being the last one to see her alive.

Suspiciion focused on West and it was rumored that he had hired an actress to play Todd and to beat on the door while Todd was inside being beat to death.

An added twist to the story. On Sunday morning, Jewel Carmen claimed to have seen Thelma Todd driving past her house with a handsome stranger. At this time, police believed that Todd had already been dead and it was thought the story was to distract the questioning away from her husband West.

Thelma Todds attorney claimed that he would be able to prove the murder was committed by Lucky Luciano and a second inquest was requested and accepted, however, Hal Roach begged them not to bring the mobster into the investigation and it was dropped.

My favorite part of the story is that a ghostly image of an "ice cream blonde" woman is seen haunting the Roadside Rest Cafe and carbon monixide fumes can be smelled even when there is no car in the garage.

Here is a link to Thelma Todd:

http://www.prairieghosts.com/hollywood8.html

Here is a link to the Three Stooges -- Ted Healy murder

http://shatterhand007.com/Section26/TedHealy.html

Edited by iamdee1

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Suspiciion focused on West and it was rumored that he had hired an actress to play Todd and to beat on the door while Todd was inside being beat to death.

An added twist to the story. On Sunday morning, Jewel Carmen claimed to have seen Thelma Todd driving past her house with a handsome stranger. At this time, police believed that Todd had already been dead and it was thought the story was to distract the questioning away from her husband West.

Exactly.

What West and Carmen did before/after the death of Thelma is strange and suspicious.

West was sick of Thelma's drug addiction, and he bitterly resented Thelma`s numerous affairs. He felt that Thelma didn't took care of the Restaurant ( West and Thelma were the owners of the restaurant ). This is true, shortly before she died Thelma didn't seemed to care one bit about the restaurant, didn't seemed to care that they were losing money. Killing Thelma was for West the opportunity of becoming the majority owner of the Restaurant. West is the last person who saw Thelma alive.

Carmen was unstable, violent ( some may say crazy ) and she hated Thelma, reason number one because her husband was attracted to Thelma and cared more about her. When the restaurant started to lose money, she threatened to kill Todd for squandering her investment.

I have many books about the mob, and one thing is sure: Lansky and Luciano wanted nothing to do with Hollywood, their biggest fear was to be associated one way or another to Hollywood or the movie industry. I believe it's one of the reasons why they decided to kill their friend Bugsy, because Bugsy was way too much "out there" with famous people ( singers, actors etc ) and it was bad for business, suddenly he was in the newspapers, and Lansky and Luciano were not happy about it. My point is: It would have been too risky for them to kill a star like Thelma, after all people knew that she was having an affair with Lucky, it would have been bad for business if Luciano was suddenly a suspect in Thelma's death.

I might be wrong, but I really believe West and/or Carmen had more "logical reasons" to kill Thelma, that's how I feel. But the possibility that the mob was involved is still possible.

I believe there is more evidences linking West and/or Carmen to the murder, than evidences linking the mob.

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How do you feel about the ex husband? They were involved in a heated discussion the night of the murder. Do you think he sent one of his goons to take care of her?

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How do you feel about the ex husband? They were involved in a heated discussion the night of the murder. Do you think he sent one of his goons to take care of her?

Thelma's first husband, Pat DiCicco ??

Another interesting theory and another possibility, but the problem is the motive. I don't see why he would have asked somebody to kill Thelma. Yes, she divorced him and he was humiliated because of this, but I don't think he had any reasons to kill her.

He was involved with the mob, but he wasn't an important member of the organization, therefore I doubt he would have had the power to ask somebody from the mob to kill Thelma. From what I have read he had only ties to the mob and was not an important member of any organization.

Like I said in my previous posts I believe West and his wife Jewel Carmen are the best suspects.

Edited by JonathanVonErich

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Exactly.

What West and Carmen did before/after the death of Thelma is strange and suspicious.

West was sick of Thelma's drug addiction, and he bitterly resented Thelma`s numerous affairs. He felt that Thelma didn't took care of the Restaurant ( West and Thelma were the owners of the restaurant ). This is true, shortly before she died Thelma didn't seemed to care one bit about the restaurant, didn't seemed to care that they were losing money. Killing Thelma was for West the opportunity of becoming the majority owner of the Restaurant. West is the last person who saw Thelma alive.

Carmen was unstable, violent ( some may say crazy ) and she hated Thelma, reason number one because her husband was attracted to Thelma and cared more about her. When the restaurant started to lose money, she threatened to kill Todd for squandering her investment.

I have many books about the mob, and one thing is sure: Lansky and Luciano wanted nothing to do with Hollywood, their biggest fear was to be associated one way or another to Hollywood or the movie industry. I believe it's one of the reasons why they decided to kill their friend Bugsy, because Bugsy was way too much "out there" with famous people ( singers, actors etc ) and it was bad for business, suddenly he was in the newspapers, and Lansky and Luciano were not happy about it. My point is: It would have been too risky for them to kill a star like Thelma, after all people knew that she was having an affair with Lucky, it would have been bad for business if Luciano was suddenly a suspect in Thelma's death.

I might be wrong, but I really believe West and/or Carmen had more "logical reasons" to kill Thelma, that's how I feel. But the possibility that the mob was involved is still possible.

I believe there is more evidences linking West and/or Carmen to the murder, than evidences linking the mob.

There's a few things wrong with the West and/or Carmen theory. First, depending on how the title to the restaurant was taken, there is no guarantee that Todd's death would result in West getting the business. Although it may seem to make sense that a partner would get the remainder of the business, that is not always the case - especially if Todd bought the place and West simply helped her out while they considered themselves partners to make the weak cover for a flagrant affair that was necessary for 30's Hollywood. Second, the Sidewalk Cafe needed Todd. She was the reason for the high-class clientele and since the place closed shortly after her death, it seems clear that without her presence, they simply would not go to the cafe for whatever the reason. This makes killing Todd very illogical.

A few things on Todd's ex-husband, DiCicco. First, Some sources report that they were divorced because he beat her. Second, It's already been admitted that he was involved in the mafia. No matter how small his role, that is not typically the life of a pacifist. Furthermore, Todd's murder was done with the subtlety of a mob hit. Even if the killing wasn't mob-sanctioned, he would still have the knowledge to pull off a murder if he wanted to. Third, he was actually a suspect in another murder about two years after Todd's murder, the beating of an actor outside a nightclub that was then covered up by the studio. Fourth, he married Gloria Vanderbilt, later beat her and she was granted a divorce from him citing "extreme cruelty." He really does have quite a history of violence and even if there's no reason for this violence or for the murder, that doesn't mean that it should be ignored. Sometimes people are just cruelly and stupidly violent and they kill people and a lot of times, they kill people they know. (Info on Pat DiCicco)

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There's a few things wrong with the West and/or Carmen theory. First, depending on how the title to the restaurant was taken, there is no guarantee that Todd's death would result in West getting the business. Although it may seem to make sense that a partner would get the remainder of the business, that is not always the case - especially if Todd bought the place and West simply helped her out while they considered themselves partners to make the weak cover for a flagrant affair that was necessary for 30's Hollywood. Second, the Sidewalk Cafe needed Todd. She was the reason for the high-class clientele and since the place closed shortly after her death, it seems clear that without her presence, they simply would not go to the cafe for whatever the reason. This makes killing Todd very illogical.

Nothing wrong with this theory.

From what I have read West was more involved in the Sidewalk Café than a lot of people seems to believe. Thelma and West were business partners, and West gave a lot of his own money in this project. I doubt that he would have been the sole owner of the place after Todd's death, but it could be the case, sadly we don't have much informations about this possibility.

Before Thelma's death the Sidewalk Café was losing money, and Thelma didn't seemed to care one bit about it. When the café was losing money West and Carmen were losing money too. Carmen even threatened to kill Todd for squandering her investment ( by that she probably meant West's investment ). It's possible that the café was losing so much money that they had very serious financial problems. Maybe, just maybe, West thought that Thelma's death would bring more money in, it's possible.

But we have to remember that the West/Carmen theory goes beyond the Sidewalk Café.

West was sick of Thelma's drug addiction, and he bitterly resented Thelma`s numerous affairs. He is the last one who saw her alive, and according to the Internet Movie Database, in 1952 West gave a deathbed confession to actor Chester Morris implicating himself in Todd's death. Todd died in a garage attached to the home where Carmen's parents lived, again interesting link.

I still believe that West and/or Carmen had the most reasons to get Thelma out of the way.

A few things on Todd's ex-husband, DiCicco. First, Some sources report that they were divorced because he beat her. Second, It's already been admitted that he was involved in the mafia. No matter how small his role, that is not typically the life of a pacifist. Furthermore, Todd's murder was done with the subtlety of a mob hit. Even if the killing wasn't mob-sanctioned, he would still have the knowledge to pull off a murder if he wanted to. Third, he was actually a suspect in another murder about two years after Todd's murder, the beating of an actor outside a nightclub that was then covered up by the studio. Fourth, he married Gloria Vanderbilt, later beat her and she was granted a divorce from him citing "extreme cruelty." He really does have quite a history of violence and even if there's no reason for this violence or for the murder, that doesn't mean that it should be ignored. Sometimes people are just cruelly and stupidly violent and they kill people and a lot of times, they kill people they know. (Info on Pat DiCicco)

Thanks for the link. :)

I agree, it's possible that DiCicco was involved. Quite Frankly I don't think he did it, but anything is possible.

Again: What would be his motive to kill Thelma ??

I have read in one of my Encyclopedia of crimes that nothing solid connects him to Luciano, and that the claims he introduced Todd to Lucky is just gossip and is based on nothing solid. I am aware that he was suspect in another murder, but it doesn't mean he was involved in Todd's murder, it's just another proof that he was a very violent guy, doesn't mean that he ever killed anybody. Sadly a lot of men beats their wives, but it doesn't mean they have the mean to kill them, that's a whole different level. But I get your point, he could have done it. I agree, I listed him as "first suspect" in my opening post, I just don't think he was involved, and believe that both West and Carmen had more reasons to kill her. But like I always say: I can be wrong. ;)

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Nothing wrong with this theory.

From what I have read West was more involved in the Sidewalk Café than a lot of people seems to believe. Thelma and West were business partners, and West gave a lot of his own money in this project. I doubt that he would have been the sole owner of the place after Todd's death, but it could be the case, sadly we don't have much informations about this possibility.

Before Thelma's death the Sidewalk Café was losing money, and Thelma didn't seemed to care one bit about it. When the café was losing money West and Carmen were losing money too. Carmen even threatened to kill Todd for squandering her investment ( by that she probably meant West's investment ). It's possible that the café was losing so much money that they had very serious financial problems. Maybe, just maybe, West thought that Thelma's death would bring more money in, it's possible.

But we have to remember that the West/Carmen theory goes beyond the Sidewalk Café.

West was sick of Thelma's drug addiction, and he bitterly resented Thelma`s numerous affairs. He is the last one who saw her alive, and according to the Internet Movie Database, in 1952 West gave a deathbed confession to actor Chester Morris implicating himself in Todd's death. Todd died in a garage attached to the home where Carmen's parents lived, again interesting link.

I still believe that West and/or Carmen had the most reasons to get Thelma out of the way.

Thanks for the link. :)

I agree, it's possible that DiCicco was involved. Quite Frankly I don't think he did it, but anything is possible.

Again: What would be his motive to kill Thelma ??

I have read in one of my Encyclopedia of crimes that nothing solid connects him to Luciano, and that the claims he introduced Todd to Lucky is just gossip and is based on nothing solid. I am aware that he was suspect in another murder, but it doesn't mean he was involved in Todd's murder, it's just another proof that he was a very violent guy, doesn't mean that he ever killed anybody. Sadly a lot of men beats their wives, but it doesn't mean they have the mean to kill them, that's a whole different level. But I get your point, he could have done it. I agree, I listed him as "first suspect" in my opening post, I just don't think he was involved, and believe that both West and Carmen had more reasons to kill her. But like I always say: I can be wrong. ;)

Whether or not he introduced Todd to Lucky is irrelevant. I never claimed that the killing was ordered by the mob. I actually find that pretty unlikely for a few reasons. As for a motive, as sad as it is, there isn't always a motive that has to do with money or anything like that. Sometimes it's just, "The *$#@ p***ed me off, so I'm gonna show her." They had an argument earlier that night, which is almost the only thing that is certain about the apparent night of Todd's murder.

So, motive: Violent men who beat their wives don't like to be "talked back to" or whatever by women. There are thousands of those cases on the books; they just might not be high profile cases that you're used to looking to. The celebrity of the victims doesn't change the human nature, good or bad.

Also, just as a little "fun" thing - I'm not sure if you have this or not, but here's a page that has some links to photos from the crime scene. They include pictures of Ms. Todd but they are not very gory. :)Findadeath - Thelma Todd

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Also, just as a little "fun" thing - I'm not sure if you have this or not, but here's a page that has some links to photos from the crime scene. They include pictures of Ms. Todd but they are not very gory. :)Findadeath - Thelma Todd

Thanks for sharing. :)

Thelma's crime scene pictures can be easily found on the internet, you just need to google her name to find them. Sadly a lot of people only know her because of her mysterious death.

the crime scene pictures can also be seen in the documentary I was talking about a few posts earlier, "America's 60 greatest unsolved mysteries and crimes". :yes:

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I was reading about this last week, in an old out of print book about Hollywood mysteries, so thanks more info here! :tu:

Edited by sarah snow

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I was reading about this last week, in an old out of print book about Hollywood mysteries, so thanks more info here! :tu:

You're welcome. I agree, fascinating case. :)

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