From the 20s to the 30s, the movie industry underwent a massive, explosive start.
Transitioning from the silent serials and short clips of old to new features and films with depth, character, and spoken lines, Hollywood was a place of incredible untapped power and potential.
Everyone wanted a piece of the screen, and stars and starlets moved from all over America, and the world, to get there.
But it wasn’t all glitz and glamor. Just as it was a place of incredible ups, there were only as many dangerous downs, and not everyone survived them.
Thelma Todd, once a promising young actress who brought joy through her comedic roles and great attention to her good looks, was found dead under mysterious circumstances on December 16th of 1935.
Her death at the peak of Hollywood’s Golden Age also brought attention to the shadow under its limelight: a shadow hiding corruption, criminal enterprise, and domestic dangers that the rest of the world could only see in films.
10 A Silent Star
Thelma Todd’s body was found in the garage of the home of the former wife of a man she was involved with. The garage was locked up, and the car had run itself out of gas.
She was discovered by the maid who came in during the morning and was pronounced dead by coroners, who later reported she would have been dead for hours at the point of her discovery.
She was dressed in the same clothes, and with the same hairstyle, as when she left the party she had attended the previous day.
9 Rising Fame
Thelma Todd was known as a prolific and beloved actress before her death. She was featured in over 100 films and played opposite some great comedic actors like Buster Keaton and the Max Brothers.
At the height of her career, she married and divorced film producer Pat DiCicco and opened up her restaurant, Thelma Todd’s Sidewalk Cafe, along the beachfront.
It became a hit with celebrities and tourists alike and was the site of many parties between entertainment and the criminal underworld.