It was like the plot of a film noir: a young movie star at the peak of her fame found dead in the car of her sometime-lover’s garage. The coroner ruled that there was nothing to see here. The death, he said, was an accident or suicide. But questions lingered.
First, there was no indication that Thelma Todd, one of the most popular comedy movie stars of the early 1930s, was distressed that evening. There was also that pesky problem of her two cracked ribs and broken nose, which the coroner wrote off as somehow caused in the course of her carbon monoxide poisoning. And then there was the line-up of shady characters who had motive: her ex-husband, her lover-cum-business partner, his wife, the West Coast mafia—even her own mother.
It’s been 85 years since the Monday morning in December of 1935 when Todd’s maid discovered her body, but many still wonder: what actually happened to the “Ice Cream Blonde?”