Was Mary Miles Minter A Murderer

Mary Miles Minter

Mary Miles Minter was popular silent star whose career was destroyed when her lover William Desmond Taylor was murdered

She was born Juliette Reilly on April 25, 1902 in Shreveport, Louisiana. Her parents divorced when she was a child. Mary and her older sister Margaret were both pushed into show business by their domineering mother Charlotte Shelby. When she was just five years old she got her first role in the play. She would appear on Broadway in The Littlest Rebel and What It Means To Be A Woman. In 1912 she made her film debut in the silent short The Nurse. Mary starred in a series of successful film including Dimples, Peggy Leads The Way, and The Gentle Intruder. The petite blonde became known for playing innocent girls and was often compared to superstar Mary Pickford. By 1915 she was one of Hollywood's most popular child stars and was earning $22,500 a week. At the age of fifteen she began a sexual relationship with thirty-one year old director James Kirkwood Sr. When she became pregnant her mother insisted she have an abortion. Director William Desmond Taylor cast her in his 1919 film Anne Of Green Gables. They would work together again in Nurse Marjorie and Jenny Be Good. She fell madly in love with forty-seven year old William and wrote him countless love letters. He ended their romance over concerns about their thirty year age difference.

Mary Miles MinterMary Miles Minter

Mary Miles Minter William Desmond Taylor
Mary and William Desmond Taylor

On February 1, 1922 William Desmond Taylor was murdered in his home. When newspapers published the love letters she had written she became a prime suspect in his death. Her mother, who had been opposed to her romance with William, also became a suspect. Charlotte Selby owned a gun and had allegedly threatened to kill him several times. William's friends would later claim that his relationship with Mary was strictly platonic. Although she was never charged with a crime the scandal destroyed her career. Her final film was the 1923 western The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine. Mary said “Shadows have been cast upon my reputation ... my career was blasted and my private life ruined.” In 1925 she sued her mother claiming she had stolen money from her. She dated movie critic Louis Sherwin for several years. Tragically her sister, Margaret Shelby, died in 1939 due to alcoholism. As she grew older she gained weight and began to suffer from diabetes. Mary married Brandon O. Hildebrandt, a Santa Monica businessman, in 1957. They lived a comfortable life thanks to her real estate investments. Sadly Brandon passed away on 1965. Then in 1981 the seventy-nine year old was beaten and robbed by her former assistant. On August 4, 1984 she died from a stroke at the age of eight-two. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered at sea.

Mary Miles Minter MagazineMary Miles Minter

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