Thelma Todd

Thelma Todd

Lawrence, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 16 Dec 1935 (aged 29)
Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Lawrence, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA
Plot Section 19, L-5548
Memorial ID 3074 · View Source
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Actress. Born to John and Alice Edwards Todd in in Lawrence, Massachusetts, she was known as a good student and apparently intended to become a school teacher. Upon graduation from high school, she attended college, while at the same time, entered several beauty contests, winning the title of Miss Massachusetts in 1925. Her win qualified her for the Miss America pageant, where she lost the title to Miss California. A Paramount Studios talent scout, however, spotted her, and she was signed to appear in Paramount's 1926 romantic comedy, ‘Fascinating Youth.' Before the end of the silent era, she appeared in a score of films running the gamut from comedy to horror. Unlike many of her contemporaries, she easily made the transition to sound films, and in 1930 appeared in another fourteen pictures including ‘Dollar Dizzy' and ‘Another Fine Mess.' During the following five years her appeal and comedic presence served her well, and she appeared in seventy-seven films including the Marx Brothers classics ‘Monkey Business' in 1931 and ‘Horse Feathers' in 1932; ‘This is the Night' opposite a young Cary Grant that same year, ‘The Devils Brothers' opposite Laurel and Hardy in 1933; 1934's ‘Palooka,' opposite Jimmy Durante; and headlined in ‘Twin Triplets' and ‘The Misses Stooge' in 1935. In 1933, in partnership with film director Roland West, she opened Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Café on Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades, California, coupled with an upstairs nightclub called Joya's. The success of the business led to allegations that organized crime figures made offers for the property. Todd was alleged to have rebuffed them. On the morning of December 16, 1935 witnesses reported that she left the Trocadero nightclub about 3 a.m. in a chauffeur driven car, arriving at her café about 3:45 a.m. It was the last time she was seen alive. Her body was later found by her maid, Mae Whitehead, slumped over in the passenger seat of her brown 1934 Lincoln Phaeton convertible, which was parked in a two-car garage above her café. She was dressed in a mauve and silver evening gown and mink wrap. There were apparently no overt signs of violence. Theories about her fate are rife. Most popular is the theory that she was murdered; the suspect list has included her ex-husband, a Mafia boss, and her business partner. At the time, her death was given a relatively cursory investigation by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and the case was quickly closed with a verdict of suicide. The verdict was then rapidly overturned in favor of a finding for accidental death, and on December 21 investigation was closed. Her body was cremated, and upon her mother's death, the ashes were placed in her casket. Todd's last three films were released posthumously. Author Andy Edmonds published a study of her death in: ‘Hot Toddy: The True Story of Hollywood's Most Shocking Crime' in 1989. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6262 Hollywood Blvd.

Bio by: Iola

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 12 Jun 1998
  • Find a Grave Memorial 3074
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Thelma Todd (29 Jul 1906–16 Dec 1935), Find a Grave Memorial no. 3074, citing Bellevue Cemetery, Lawrence, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .