Friday, July 19, 2013

More Pictures From The Investigation

More pictures from the investigation of the death of Thelma Todd.

Reblogged from

Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Café.


 Pacific Coast Highway.
 Mudslide in the area, Feb. 1941.
"Chez Roland", as it was later renamed, in 1949.
Cocktail room.
 Labels have been added to this picture of the area where Thelma Todd lived and died. The 270 steps are the ones she supposedly walked up to get to the garage where she died.                 
 It was surmised that Thelma Todd may have walked up these steps which lead from her seaside cafe to the road on which the garage where she was found dead was located. Here a man stands part of the way up the steps.                 

View of Roland West's house. The garage where the body of Thelma Todd was found was in the building in the foreground.
Captain Bert Wallis of the police homicide squad makes a check of the position of Thelma Todd's body where it was found in her car.               
The coroner's report said her death was caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, but doubt remained whether it was suicide, foul play or an accident. Date of death was December 16, 1935.                 
A portrait of film actress Thelma Todd in one of her movie roles. She was found dead in her car in a garage near her seaside restaurant in the Palisades.
Police at first tried to claim suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning but, because of too many discrepancies, subsequently investigated it as a murder. Date of death: December 16, 1935
Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly in ALL-AMERICAN TOOTHACE, the last two-reel comedy they made together.
Patsy Kelly was able to continue the series for a time without her.
An earlier portrait of Mrs. Alice Todd, mother of Thelma Todd.                

When the police tried to call her daughter's death suicide, she yelled murder.                 
Harvey Priester, alleged to be Thelma Todd' fiancee.

Thelma Todd's former dressmaker, Helen Ainsworth, and Robert Galer wait to testify about Thelma Todd's remarks about 'going broke'. Here they are waiting to be called into the grand jury room on January 3, 1936.

Large crowds from all walks of life came to the inquest into Thelma Todd's death, including film people and ordinary people from all occupations.                 

Large crowds from all walks of life came to the inquest into Thelma Todd's death. This scene shows Roland West (arrow) as he testifies on the stand as one of the key witnesses. West was the owner of the garage in which Thelma died, and was her business partner and a producer and director of films.                 
Mrs. Alice Todd, mother of Thelma, is escorted by Harvey Priester, an insurance councelor for movie stars who was reportedly the last fiance of Thelma. They were called to the grand jury for questioning.                 

Mrs. Alice Todd, mother of Thelma, is escorted by Henry Holzman, an employee in her daughter's cafe. This was taken during the grand jury investigation into her daughter's death.                 

ZaSu Pitts, film star and comedienne, walks with her husband (former tennis champion Edward Woodall) as they attend the funeral of Thelma Todd.                 

Patsy Kelly ( right ) arrives with a friend to attend Thelma Todd's funeral.

Two of the people attending Thelma Todd's funeral: Mrs. Wallace Ford (on the left) and Josie Sedgewicke. Mrs. Ford reported she received a telephone call from Miss Todd Sunday afternoon. Officers had believed she died early Sunday morning.    
Funeral for Thelma Todd.

                                             Thelma Todd's body was viewed by thousands.


 Roland West, "best friend" and business partner of Thelma Todd, and ZaSu Pitts, film star and comedienne, talk in the corridor at the grand jury probe into Thelma's mysterious death. Both had been called to testify.                 


ZaSu Pitts, film star and comedienne, sits with her husband (J.E. Woodall) outside the Grand jury room where she has been called to testify. She reported that she and her husband had lunch with Miss Todd the Wednesday before her death, but Miss Todd's "latest love" was not present.                 

Rudy Schafer, manager of the Sidewalk Café, waits to testify.
Ray Hayes, who had been her business manager, waits to testify before the Grand Jury




Picture taken of Thelma Todd at the time of her divorce from Pat De Cicco in 1934.


Thelma wearing a black wig and dressed for her role in the movie HER MAN.

CORSAIR, 1931.

Note the stage name "Alison Loyd".
Thelma Todd with hat and fur piece over her shoulders. She was a guest of honor at an unnamed event.

This photo was used to advertise the movie LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE. It was also used when newspapers reported that a burglar had broken into her home and stolen $2,000.00 in perfume.

TWO FOR TONIGHT, with Lynne Overman

Same movie, same guy.

This picture was used to advertise several of her movies, including HORSE FEATHERS, THE DEVIL'S BROTHER, and THE BIG TIMER. Photo was by Richee.

Thelma Todd and Patsy Kelly in the first film they made together, BEAUTY AND THE BUS, 1933.

This picture of Thelma Todd is said to have been one of the last studio portraits taken of her.



  1. Love the pictures! I'm curious though, if anyone actually has copies of the original police report, inquest and autopsy report. Everything I see makes claims on those reports, but there appear to be no documents to support them. Do you know about this?

    I find this all very interesting. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Donati's book THE LIFE AND DEATH OF THELMA TODD has a copy of the inquest proceedings in it. I think I have a copy of the autopsy report, I'll have to check.

  2. yeah id like to know if there is a toxicity report for Thelma todd .

  3. I wonder why no detectives pickup these old cases and truly hunt for the truth .. may even be participants or witnesses alive today

  4. I doubt it Christopher, unless they were children.

  5. My mother was 6 years old when her father drove her in his car to see for himself...drove right up to the driveway, saw all the police.My mom thought this was very strange of her father to take her and do this.