T. Hugh Plunkett

T. Hugh Plunkett

Roodhouse, Greene County, Illinois, USA
Death 16 Feb 1929 (aged 32)
Beverly Hills, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Sunrise Slope
Memorial ID 4045 · View Source
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Alleged Murderer. Born Theodore Hugh Plunkett in Illinois, he came to Los Angeles with his family in 1912 and worked as a mechanic at a service station owned by W.P. Smith, Vice President of the Santa Fe Railroad. When Smith's daughter Lucy married Edward L. "Ned" Doheny in 1913, he was hired as the couple's chauffeur. After serving in the US Navy during World War I, Plunkett became the close friend and personal secretary of Ned Doheny, and a trusted family aide. In December 1921 he accompanied Doheny in the delivery of $100,000 to US Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall, which a 1924 US Senate investigation exposed as an assumed bribe by Doheny's father, oil magnate Edward L. Doheny, in a bid for leases of government-owned oil reserves. The Teapot Dome scandal, as it came to be known, hounded Plunkett for the rest of his life. He reportedly began to suffer bouts of mental instability and he divorced his wife in 1928. On the night of February 16, 1929, Plunkett and Ned Doheny were found shot to death in a guest bedroom at Greystone, the latter's Beverly Hills mansion. The following day Los Angeles District Attorney Buron Fitts announced that Plunkett murdered Doheny after being refused a raise and then committed suicide. There was no inquest and the crime was all but covered up in the press. The quick dispatch of this high-profile case has caused ongoing speculation over who really killed who and why. The motive Fitts attributed to Plunkett is unconvincing, given his longtime status as a Doheny family insider, and in a 1936 book one of the investigating detectives claimed the bodies had been moved and the murder weapon had no fingerprints. At the time Plunkett and Doheny were still under criminal investigation for Teapot Dome and this may have played a role. Different theories assert that Plunkett killed Doheny for "suggesting" he enter a sanitarium, or that Doheny silenced his friend and, realizing what he had done, turned the gun on himself. Then there's the "crime of passion" scenario, which alleges that Doheny and Plunkett were lovers and were both shot in a jealous rage by Lucy Doheny. At this point the full facts will probably never be known. The truth is buried on a high hill at Forest Lawn in Glendale. Plunkett's simple grave lies just down the slope from Doheny's opulent memorial.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 21 Nov 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 4045
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for T. Hugh Plunkett (28 Mar 1896–16 Feb 1929), Find A Grave Memorial no. 4045, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale), Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .