Killer Comedian – Old Hollywood
I suppose as time passes, the name of this actor becomes less known, but in the all time history of movies he is a permanent A lister.
If you are too young, you might not know his name, but if you read any history of movies book, he will be at the top for what he did film making wise. He was foreign born.
Lets call him MG.
He had his greatest success working with a co-star.
The same co-star.
Another star of many of these same films was an actress who was probably A- list.
Lets call her BG.
She was a staple of the films.
She also was having sex with our permanent A list actor.
He always made her have sex to keep the role.
Even if they were each married, he would still make her.
This is where it gets interesting.
BG was having an affair with a married man which began while she was still married.
This married man, we will call SC.
He discovered that BG was hooking up with MG and there was a big fight.
So, BG went over to the home of MG.
Apparently MG was about to get married to a woman he would end up marrying more than once.
But, as it happened, MG hadn’t told BG that he was getting married.
MG had been telling BG he wanted to marry BG.
At that point, in the middle of the night, BG said that in the morning she was going to tell everything to the soon to be wife of MG.
BG then drove off and went to the home of SC.
She tried to get in but he wouldn’t let her.
An hour or so later, MG showed up and sneaked in through a side door of the garage and strangled BG to death with a pair of tights.
He then turned on the engine of the car and walked out.
Now, what is interesting is that even though everyone suspected BG had been killed, everyone assumed it was the scorned wife of SC that did it.
Now you know who it was.
MG: Stan Laurel
Married Virginia Ruth Rogers twice
English comic actor, writer and film director, who was part of the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy.
Co-star: Oliver Hardy
BG / staple of the films: Thelma Todd
SC: Roland West
Wife: Jewel Carmen
Murder Of `30s Starlet Thelma Todd No Longer Mystery
The death of Hollywood actress Thelma Todd in 1935 hit the world with the impact of the later death of Marilyn Monroe and the murder of Sharon Tate.
During the Depression, the gorgeous blond comedian was a cross between Goldie Hawn and Farrah Fawcett, only more popular. She had starred with the Marx Brothers in “Horse Feathers“ and “Monkey Business“ and a string of other hugely successful comedies with ZaSu Pitts (including “Hot Dogs“ in the early `30s) and Patsy Kelly.
Her posh restaurant that bore her name and overlooked the Pacific Ocean in Malibu was the Morton`s/Spago of its day, a watering hole for Hollywood glitterati, politicians and gangsters.
On the morning of Dec. 16, 1935, Todd`s maid found her employer`s body in the garage, slumped over the wheel of her Lincoln convertible. The coroner ruled her death a suicide. Cause of death: carbon monoxide poisoning. To this day, that verdict is on the books as the official explanation of Todd`s death. While a grand jury ruled that Todd committed suicide, it was unable to explain her broken nose, the bruises around her throat and two cracked ribs. Apparently, the grand jury thought Todd also beat herself to death.
So who was responsible for Thelma Todd`s death?
That`s the question answered by “White Hot: The Mysterious Murder of Thelma Todd,“ airing Sunday on NBC (8 p.m., WMAQ-Ch. 5). Loni Anderson stars as the doomed blond.
The TV movie is based on the 1989 best-seller “Hot Toddy“ by Andy Edmonds. The author interviewed an unnamed source who was with Todd shortly before her death. The source, described as a retired Hollywood executive with underworld ties, provided the author with details of Todd`s last hours and the identity of her murderer.
The suspects are numerous, according to Edmonds` account.
– Todd`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.
– Roland West, a failed director and Todd`s occasional lover. They were co-owners with West`s wife in the Malibu restaurant, Thelma Todd`s Sidewalk Cafe. The three partners lived in a duplex together above the eatery. It was an uncomfortable arrangement, and West bitterly resented Todd`s numerous affairs.
– Jewel Carmen, West`s wife. She 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.
– Lucky Luciano, a psychopathic mobster, involved in prostitution, gambling and extortion in Los Angeles. Todd had a torturous relationship with the mobster, which included beatings. He also got her hooked on amphetamines. – Alice Todd, Thelma`s mother. She was her daughter`s sole heir, and shortly before Thelma`s death she announced to friends plans to build a huge mansion. Where did she plan to get the money?
Thelma Todd`s life reads like a textbook by Freud. Her father, according to the movie, was a distant, abusive, unloving man and a corrupt politician in their hometown of Lawrence, Mass.
Her manipulative mother forced her daughter, who wanted to be a schoolteacher, into a beauty contest that led to a Hollywood contract. Thelma never wanted to be an actress.
Throughout her short life, Todd sought father surrogates who would turn out to be even more abusive than her father.
“She always picked the wrong guys. She was a party girl,“ says Loni Anderson.
Adds executive producer Frank von Zerneck, “She was drawn to men who were extremly dangerous. That was her Achilles` heel. Playing with fire was a personality problem. She was abused and manhandled, and ultimately we think it cost her her life.“
Her movie studio and its chief, Hal Roach, also abused her, Anderson says. “Hal Roach invented something called the `potato clause.` Thelma had a weight problem, and it was in her contract that if she gained more than five pounds, she`d be fired. So her mother started her on diet pills, and she became addicted. She also drank a lot.“
After her divorce, according to accounts in Edmonds` book, Todd finally swore off booze. But the night she met Lucky Luciano at the Coconut Grove nightclub, he insisted she have a glass of champagne with him. Todd refused. Luciano insisted and ended up pouring a whole bottle of Dom Perignon down her throat. To maintain his control over Todd, he supplied her with more potent amphetamines than her prescription diet pills. Todd became hooked on the pills and the excitement of being a gangster`s moll.
Luciano wasn`t interested in Todd solely because she was one of the most beautiful and successful women in Hollywood, Edmonds says. He wanted control of her restaurant, where he planned to set up an illegal gambling operation on the unused third floor. Like a spider, Luciano planned to ensnare powerful studio executives in his web by having them incur huge gambling debts. Then Luciano would move in and take over the studios.
Thelma Todd was a contradictory combination of unliberated punching bag for abusive men and a strong-willed businesswoman. While tolerating Luciano`s beatings, she stood up to his demands to involve her in an illegal casino.
Paul Wendkos, who directed the film, explains Todd`s contradictory character traits.
“She was moral,“ he said. “Not in the Victorian sense of the word, but she had a strong character. Plus the Sidewalk Cafe meant a great deal to her. It was the first thing she owned by herself, the only thing that ever gave her a sense of freedom. The restaurant meant a lot to her, and she was not going to allow it to be tainted with a gambling operation.“
Wendkos feels Todd was the “Madonna of her day, a hot momma, a peroxide blond, wisecracking, very sexy with an outrageous sense of humor.“
Executive producer Von Zerneck emphasizes the other side of Todd: “There was a Marilyn Monroe feel to her, a tragic character. All she really wanted was somebody to respect her and care about her. Someone powerful. If she hadn`t died, one hopes she would have eventually found the right man, but I kind of doubt it.“
A source involved in the production, who asked not to be identified, says it was eerie how Anderson assumed Thelma Todd`s identity.
“She became Thelma Todd for me, internally and externally. She was beautiful, passionate, flamboyant and ultimately very touching. Gorgeous figure. Ice cream blond. Loni has the same kind of wisecracking personality. Fortunately, she`s in much better emotional shape than Thelma was.“
In fact, he adds, “Thelma was far worse than we were allowed to portray. She did a lot of drugs, alcohol, men. We didn`t show her as bad as she actually was because then you`d lose sympathy for her.
“Basically, she was a tramp.“ – Source