Thelma Todd

Thelma Todd (July 29, 1905 - December 16, 1935) was a American film actress.

Thelma Todd

Todd was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts and as a child was a bright student who achieved good academic results. She intended to become a school teacher but in her late teens began entering beauty pageants winning the title of "Miss Massachusetts" in 1925. While representing her home state in the "Miss America" pageant later that year she was spotted by a Hollywood talent scout and began her career in film.

During the silent era, she appeared in numerous supporting roles that made full use of her beauty but gave her little chance to act. With the advent of the talkies, Todd was given opportunity to expand her roles by the producer Hal Roach who contracted her to appear with such comedic stars of the day as Harry Langdon, Laurel & Hardy and The Marx Brothers and she appeared as the lead actress in a series of comedy films with actresses Zasu Pitts and Patsy Kelly. She became highly regarded as a capable film comedienne and also appeared successfully in such dramas as the original 1931 film version of The Maltese Falcon. During her career she appeared in more than 130 films and was publicised as "The Ice Cream Blonde" and "Hot Toddy".

In the early 30's she commenced a successful commercial venture when she opened a cafe at Pacific Palisades called "Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Cafe" which attracted a diverse clientele of Hollywood celebrities as well as gangsters and criminals.

On the morning of December 16, 1935, she was found dead in her car inside her garage and her death was determined to have been caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. Police investigating her death determined that Todd had a wide circle of friends and associates and a busy social life. She had spent the last night of her life at a party hosted by entertainer Stanley Lupino and his daughter, the actress Ida Lupino. She had been involved in an argument with her then boyfriend Roland West, but her friends stated that she was in good spirits and were aware of nothing unusual in her life that could suggest a reason for committing suicide.

Police were offered other alternatives throughout their investigations. One theory suggested that the gangster Lucky Luciano had tried unsuccessfully to coerce Todd into allowing gambling on her premises, and when she declared that would happen "over my dead body" had replied that he could arrange that. When Todd's body was found she had blood on her face and her nose was broken. This was the only sign of violence and there was no evidence of any struggle taking place. The investigation was unable to establish any evidence to support this theory.

A second theory widely supported by Todd's friends was that Roland West had grown frustrated by Todd's flightiness and to keep her from leaving her premises to attend another party had locked her in the garage. Her resulting death according to this theory was accidental, however a key, which would have allowed her to escape was found in Todd's handbag.

A third theory was that Todd had turned on the motor of the car in order to keep warm, and had fallen asleep. Roland West had closed the door to the garage without realising Todd was inside and she had died as a result.

The Los Angeles DA's department and a Grand Jury were unable to establish the true circumstances surrounding her death and the conjecture that surrounded it at the time and which has never been resolved with a definitive explanation is an early example of what would become known as a conspiracy theory with rumours and suppositions being accepted as fact, and widely divergent opinions being given credence. The fact that her body was cremated caused theorists to conjecture that this had been done to destroy evidence and to prevent a second autopsy, however by this time authorities were satisfied with her official cause of death.

Her death certificate states her cause of death as accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. Her remains were buried in "Bellevue Cemetery" in her hometown of Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Thelma Todd has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6262 Hollywood Blvd.


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Thelma Todd has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6262 Hollywood Blvd. It was laid on February 9, 1960. Her remains were buried in "Bellevue Cemetery" in her hometown of Lawrence, Massachusetts. She is the first performer to have a star on the Walk of Fame. Her death certificate states her cause of death as accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6801 Hollywood Blvd. The fact that her body was cremated caused theorists to conjecture that this had been done to destroy evidence and to prevent a second autopsy, however by this time authorities were satisfied with her official cause of death. Woodward is artistic director of the Westport Country Playhouse.

The Los Angeles DA's department and a Grand Jury were unable to establish the true circumstances surrounding her death and the conjecture that surrounded it at the time and which has never been resolved with a definitive explanation is an early example of what would become known as a conspiracy theory with rumours and suppositions being accepted as fact, and widely divergent opinions being given credence. She and Newman live in Connecticut, and are involved in liberal politics. Roland West had closed the door to the garage without realising Todd was inside and she had died as a result. In 1990, she graduated from Sarah Lawrence College alongside her daughter, Clea. A third theory was that Todd had turned on the motor of the car in order to keep warm, and had fallen asleep. Woodward has continued to act on stage, films and television. Her resulting death according to this theory was accidental, however a key, which would have allowed her to escape was found in Todd's handbag. She and Newman first starred together that year in The Long Hot Summer, one of many collaborations.

A second theory widely supported by Todd's friends was that Roland West had grown frustrated by Todd's flightiness and to keep her from leaving her premises to attend another party had locked her in the garage. By that time, Woodward had starred in The Three Faces of Eve, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. The investigation was unable to establish any evidence to support this theory. The two were married in 1958. This was the only sign of violence and there was no evidence of any struggle taking place. She continued to move between Hollywood and Broadway, eventually understudying in the New York production of Picnic with another young actor, Paul Newman. When Todd's body was found she had blood on her face and her nose was broken. Woodward's first film was Count Three and Pray, in 1955.

One theory suggested that the gangster Lucky Luciano had tried unsuccessfully to coerce Todd into allowing gambling on her premises, and when she declared that would happen "over my dead body" had replied that he could arrange that. She majored in drama at Louisiana State University, then headed to New York City to perform on the stage. Police were offered other alternatives throughout their investigations. Joanne won many beauty contests as a teenager. She had been involved in an argument with her then boyfriend Roland West, but her friends stated that she was in good spirits and were aware of nothing unusual in her life that could suggest a reason for committing suicide. She eventually worked with Olivier in 1979, in a television production of Come Back, Little Sheba. She had spent the last night of her life at a party hosted by entertainer Stanley Lupino and his daughter, the actress Ida Lupino. Attending the premiere of Gone With the Wind in Atlanta, nine-year-old Joanne rushed out into the parade of stars and sat on the lap of Laurence Olivier, star Vivien Leigh's husband.

Police investigating her death determined that Todd had a wide circle of friends and associates and a busy social life. Her mother wanted to name her after Joan Crawford, but then her parents felt that the name "Joanne" was more Southern. On the morning of December 16, 1935, she was found dead in her car inside her garage and her death was determined to have been caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. Born Joanne Gignilliat Trimmier Woodward in Thomasville, Georgia, she was influenced to become an actress by her mother's love of movies. In the early 30's she commenced a successful commercial venture when she opened a cafe at Pacific Palisades called "Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Cafe" which attracted a diverse clientele of Hollywood celebrities as well as gangsters and criminals. Joanne Woodward (born February 27, 1930) is an American actress. During her career she appeared in more than 130 films and was publicised as "The Ice Cream Blonde" and "Hot Toddy". 1958 - Won Best Actress in a Leading Role - The Three Faces of Eve.

She became highly regarded as a capable film comedienne and also appeared successfully in such dramas as the original 1931 film version of The Maltese Falcon. 1969 - Nominated Best Actress in a Leading Role - Rachel, Rachel. With the advent of the talkies, Todd was given opportunity to expand her roles by the producer Hal Roach who contracted her to appear with such comedic stars of the day as Harry Langdon, Laurel & Hardy and The Marx Brothers and she appeared as the lead actress in a series of comedy films with actresses Zasu Pitts and Patsy Kelly. 1974 - Nominated Best Actress in a Leading Role - Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams. During the silent era, she appeared in numerous supporting roles that made full use of her beauty but gave her little chance to act. & Mrs. Bridge. While representing her home state in the "Miss America" pageant later that year she was spotted by a Hollywood talent scout and began her career in film. 1991 - Nominated Best Actress in a Leading Role - Mr.

She intended to become a school teacher but in her late teens began entering beauty pageants winning the title of "Miss Massachusetts" in 1925. Todd was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts and as a child was a bright student who achieved good academic results. Thelma Todd (July 29, 1905 - December 16, 1935) was a American film actress.

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