The Mysterious Death Of Thelma Todd

Thelma Todd

Thelma Todd was one of Hollywood's most popular blondes until she died under mysterious circumstances at the young age of twenty-nine

She was born Thelma Alice Todd on July 29, 1906 in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Her father, John Shaw Todd, was an upholsterer from Ireland. Sadly in 1910 her older brother William died. Thelma was a good student who dreamed of becoming a school teacher. When she was a teenager she began entering local beauty pageants. After winning the title of Miss Massachusetts in 1925 a Hollywood talent scout offered her a contract at Paramount. She made her film debut in the 1926 silent Fascinating Youth. Then she given small parts in the films Vamping Venus, The Haunted House, and Naughty Baby. Her big break came in 1929 when she was signed by producer Hal Roach. Thelma costarred with Laurel and Hardy in Another Fine Mess and with the Marx Brothers in Horse Feathers. She was teamed up with Zasu Pitts to star in the 1931 comedy short Let's Do Things. The duo would make sixteen more shorts together. Audiences loved their films and Thelma became one of Tinseltown's most popular comedic actresses. She was nicknamed "The Ice-Cream Blonde" and "Hot Toddy".

Thelma ToddThelma Todd

Thelma Todd

Her personal motto was "While we're here we should laugh, be gay, and have fun." There was a clause in her contract that she would be fired if she gained more than five pounds. Thelma took diet pills to stay thin and quickly became addicted. She started dating director Roland West who directed her in the 1931 drama Corsair. In 1932 she married Pat DiCicco, an agent and producer. Unfortunately Pat was an alcoholic who often became violent. There were also rumors that he was involved with the mob. They divorced after two years of marriage. Thelma also had romances with Ronald Coleman and bandleader Abe Lyman. When Zasu left Hal Roach's studio Patsy Kelly became her new costar. She and Patsy made twenty-one films together including Beauty And The Bus, Maid In Hollywood, and Air Fright. Thelma and her ex-boyfriend Roland West opened a restaurant called Thelma's Sidewalk Cafe in 1934. It was located in the Pacific Palisades and quickly became a popular Hollywood hangout.

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Thelma Todd Patsy Kelly
With Patsy Kelly

On December 14, 1935 Thelma went to a party at the Trocadero nightclub. During the evening she got into a fight with her ex-husband Pat DiCicco. At 4:00 AM she was driven back to her apartment which was located next to her cafe. Tragically on the morning of December 16, 1935 she was found dead in her car. Thelma was still wearing the clothes she had on when she left the Trocadero. The twenty-nine year old had died from carbon monoxide poisoning. A coroner's inquest determined that her death was accidental but many people believe she was murdered. There are rumors that her ex-husband Pat DiCicco killed her or that mobsters did it because they wanted to buy her restaurant. One of the most popular theories is that she had a argument with her ex-lover Roland West who locked her in the garage with the car running. When Roland was on his death bed in 1951 he allegedly confessed what he did to actor Chester Morris. Thelma was cremated and her ashes were buried with her mother at Bellevue Cemetery in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Her final film, The Bohemian Girl, was released in 1936.

Thelma ToddThelma Todd Dead

Thelma Hill Dead
A photo of Thelma dead in her car

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