William Desmond Taylor, A True Hollywood Murder Mystery

William Desmond Taylor

William Dean-Tanner was born in Carlow, Ireland, in 1872 to a wealthy family. The theater bug bit him as a young man, but his father was unable and sent him to Marlborough College in England, where he secretly took small parts in local productions. , He eventually moved to the States and worked as a farmer and miner in New York City before falling in love with another actor named Ethel May Harrison, the daughter of a well-to-do stockbroker. It seemed that Dean-Tanner's future was settled in gold, but the limelight was his true calling, and after a massive depression, the man left everything, including his wife and child, to find his way to Hollywood fame. Gave.

In 1912, he got his first role, and his career steadily built up over the years. However, it was not until 1918 that his ex-wife, who had been divorced due to his disappearance, saw a man onscreen who was as shocking as her ex-husband, but credited as William Desmond Taylor. was given. They eventually came to terms with each other, and though they never rekindled their flame, Taylor took responsibility for their daughter. By the late 1910s, Taylor decided he preferred the director's chair and began working behind the scenes full time. He directed more than 40 films, but in 1922, at the peak of his career, Taylor's personal servant shot him in his home.

Initial Suspect

The first suspect was Mabel Normand, a comedian who was at home at the time of her possible murder but, according to her driver, had left half an hour before neighbors claimed what they thought was a car backfiring. , but was later determined that was the shot that killed Taylor. An eyewitness said that she saw a man leaving her house after some time, although she admitted that she did not see the figure well and it could have been a tall woman. However, Taylor was such a good friend of Normand that he reported his drug dealers to the police in an attempt to break his addiction. It is possible that if Normand himself had not committed the crime, these drug dealers would pursue him and demand retribution against the director for taking him out.

But there was more. Taylor had been receiving strange phone calls and mysterious packages for months, and her home had already been ransacked, resulting in the theft of many valuables. Suspicions turned to his former valet, Edward Sands, who may have expressed displeasure over being fired for forging checks worth thousands of dollars in Taylor's name. He has also been court-martialed in the past on charges of embezzlement of money. The crime, it seemed, was his bread and butter, and he disappeared without a trace after the murder.

Charlotte Shelby

Finally, there was a young actress, Mary Minter, who was fixated on an older man. Love letters, some encoded, were found in her apartment, along with a handkerchief with her initials. Some even believe that the nightgown found in her bedroom was hers, but she denied any real intimacy between them. In fact, things seemed one-sided, which angered Minter's overbearing mother, Charlotte Shelby, who was rumored to be raising her daughter to the successful director with the hope that it would make her a star. . On the other hand, other rumors suggest that Shelby was upset about her 19-year-old daughter's relationship with a man 30 years older.

Shelby officially had an alibi, but it turns out that she had paid a hefty sum to the alleged witness who kept her away from the crime scene. The family actually had the same gun to kill Taylor, and Shelby has been known to threaten another director to play tricks on her daughter. Minter wrote in his autobiography that both he and his mother were at his home on the day he died and he believed that his mother had committed the murder. Shelby's other daughter also said she knew it was her mother who murdered the beloved director, but the police could never prove it. Even today the issue of cold remains unresolved.

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