Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"Annie Hall" Actress Janet Margolin 1993 Westwood Village Cemetery

Janet Margolin (July 25, 1943 – December 17, 1993) was an American theater, television and film actress.

Early life

Margolin was born in New York City, the daughter of Benjamin Margolin, an accountant who was born in Russia and was founder and president of the Nephrosis Foundation, now the Kidney Foundation of New York. Her mother was Annette Margolin (maiden name Lief, the daughter of Abraham and Nina Lief).

She attended the School of Performing Arts. In 1961, at age 18, while a prop girl at the New York Shakespeare Festival, she won a "pivotal" Broadway stage role as Anna in Morris West's Daughters of Silence.[1]; the New York Times, reviewing the play, listed her among leaders of "a fine cast" and said that "her Anna has a fragile, haunted dewiness."[2]


In 1962, she played her first movie role as the female lead in the film David and Lisa. She played the love interest of the lead character in the movie Enter Laughing (1967).

In Take the Money and Run (1969) she played the love interest of the bumbling thief played by Woody Allen, and in Annie Hall (1977) she played the social-climbing wife of the Woody Allen character.

Her last movie role was in Ghostbusters II in 1989, and her last television roles were as a killer on an episode of Murder, She Wrote ("Deadly Misunderstanding") and as a victim in Columbo ("Murder in Malibu") in 1990.

Personal life

Margolin died of ovarian cancer at the age of 50 on December 17, 1993, in Los Angeles, California. She was cremated and her ashes were placed in an urn garden at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles. She was survived by her siblings, Emily, Barbara and Laura; her husband, actor/director Ted Wass; and their two children, Julian and Tilly.

Margolin is sometimes identified as the sister of actor Stuart Margolin and his brother, director Arnold Margolin. However, obituaries of Margolin and her father indicate that she had no brothers.[3][4]


David and Lisa (1962)
Morituri (1965)
The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
Bus Riley's Back in Town (1965)
Nevada Smith (1966)
El ojo que espĂ­a (1966)
Enter Laughing (1967)
Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1968)
Take the Money and Run (1969)
Pray for the Wildcats (1973)
Planet Earth (1974)
Annie Hall (1977)
Last Embrace (1979)
Ghostbusters II (1989)


1.^ Calta, Louis (1961), "Prop Girl, 18, Wins a Broadway Lead," The New York Times, September 6, 1961, p. 41
2.^ Taubman, Howard (1961), "The Theatre: 'Daughter of Silence,'", The New York Times, December 1, 1961, p. 28
3.^ Janet Margolin, Film And TV Actress, 50 - New York Times
4.^ BENJAMIN MARGOLIN - New York Times

Schoolchild Marion Parker STRANGLED in Echo Park 1927

Marion Parker[1] (October 11, 1915 - December 17, 1927) was the 12-year-old daughter of Perry Parker, a prominent banker in Los Angeles. She had a twin sister named Marjorie. On December 15, 1927, Marion was abducted from her school by William Edward Hickman, who called himself "The Fox." Her murder has since become the subject of folk songs.[2][3] Songs and some reports about Marion frequently misspell her name as Marian.

Abduction and murder

Hickman took Marion from her school, Mount Vernon Junior High School in the Lafayette Square section of Los Angeles, by telling the registrar, Mary Holt, that Perry Parker had been seriously injured in an accident and wished to see his daughter. Hickman was posing as an employee of the bank where Perry Parker worked. Mary Holt said during Hickman's trial that she "never would have let Marion go but for the apparent sincerity and disarming manner of the man."[4]

Hickman then sent letters demanding money for several days. All the communications were signed with names such as "Fate," "Death," and "The Fox." A first attempt to deliver the ransom was ruined when Hickman saw police in the area. Continued communications from Hickman set up a new meeting to exchange ransom at the corner of 5th Avenue and South Manhattan Street in Los Angeles. Mr. Parker arrived alone at the place with the ransom money, $1,500 in $20 gold certificates. Mr. Parker handed over the money to a young man who was waiting for him in a parked car. When he paid the ransom, he could see his daughter Marion sitting in the passenger seat next to the suspect, wrapped up to her neck and apparently unable to move. As soon as the money was exchanged, Hickman drove off, pushing Marion's body out of the car at the end of the street. The coroner later testified that she had been dead for about 12 hours. Her arms and legs had been cut off and she had been disemboweled and stuffed with rags. Her eyes were wired open so as to make her appear alive.[5] Hickman later said that he had strangled her and cut her throat first, but he believed that she was still alive when he began to dismember her. Her arms and legs were found on December 18 in Elysian Park wrapped in newspaper.[6]

Edward Hickman strangled Marion Parker in this Bellevue Avenue apartment building.

This building was recently renovated and the building is now open for occupancy.

Hickman also confessed that he originally had no intention of killing Marion but did so because she had learned his identity and because he had been previously employed by her father at the bank. He also said that he had cut up the body with the intention of disposing of it but later realized that the father would want to see his daughter before paying the ransom. He then attempted to reconstruct and disguise the body to appear alive.[7]


A massive manhunt for Marion's killer began that involved over 20,000 police officers and American Legion volunteers. A reward of $50,000 was offered for the identification and capture of the killer, dead or alive.[6] Suspicion settled upon a former employee of Mr. Parker named William Edward Hickman. Several years before the abduction, Hickman was arrested on a complaint by Mr. Parker regarding stolen and forged checks. Hickman was convicted and did prison time.[6] Police traced a laundry mark on a shirt found with Marion's body to an apartment house in Los Angeles, where they questioned a man named Donald Evans who matched Hickman's description. Evans allowed the police to search his apartment, but they found no evidence and left. Evans then disappeared but was later identified as Hickman. The getaway car used at the ransom exchange had been found by police, and it was identified as having been stolen weeks before. Investigators had Hickman's fingerprints on file owing to his previous arrest and incarceration, and they matched them to prints found on ransom notes and on the getaway car.

Capture and death of Hickman

A week after the murder, officers Tom Gurdane and Buck Lieuallen found Hickman in Echo, Oregon, and recognized him from wanted posters.[4] He was extradited back to Los Angeles, where he confessed to another murder he committed during a drug store holdup as well as to many other armed robberies.[5]

In an attempt to plead insanity, Hickman told his attorneys that he had killed Marion on the directive of a supernatural being called Providence. This was one of the first insanity pleas on behalf of an accused killer in California, but Hickman failed to convince the jury that he was insane. He was convicted of murder and later was hanged at San Quentin prison in 1928.[5]

Motives for the crime

Hickman pleaded insanity as his official motive for the crime when at trial, although he had initially told police that he needed the $1,500 to go to a Bible college.[5] Evidence against his insanity defense included prison guards from Oregon who testified that Hickman had asked "how to act crazy." Prosecutors, however, speculated that he wanted revenge against Mr. Parker for testifying against him in his earlier trial for theft and forgery.[6] There is evidence that he did it in part for the notoriety because he told a reporter he wanted as much press coverage as high-profile killers Leopold and Loeb.[6]


1.^ The spelling of Marion's name is confirmed by the urn containing her ashes.
2.^ Marion Parker ballads
3.^ Little Marian Parker as sung by Glenn Orhlin, Mountain View, Arkansas, on May 29, 1969
4.^ Marion Parker news stories archived by 1947project
5.^ "Fate, Death and the Fox" at
6.^ The murder of Marion Parker by Mark Gribben
7.^ ERBzine 1767: Hickman trial report by ERB

Stolen Away: The True Story Of Californias Most Shocking Kidnapmurder

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Actress Thelma Todd FOUND DEAD in Pacific Palisades Garage 1935

Thelma Alice Todd (July 29, 1906 – December 16, 1935) was an American actress. Appearing in about 120 pictures between 1926 and 1935, she is best remembered for her comedic roles in films like Marx Brothers' Monkey Business and Horse Feathers, a number of Charley Chase's short comedies, and co-starring with Buster Keaton and Jimmy Durante in Speak Easily. She also had roles in Wheeler and Woolsey farces, several Laurel and Hardy films, the last of which (The Bohemian Girl) featured her in a part that was truncated by her death.

Early life

Todd was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts to Jim and Bertha Todd, and was a bright student who achieved good academic results. She intended to become a school teacher. However, in her late teens, she began entering beauty pageants, winning the title of Miss Massachusetts in 1925. While representing her home state, she was spotted by a Hollywood talent scout and began her career in film.


During the silent era, Todd appeared in numerous supporting roles that made full use of her beauty but gave her little chance to act. With the advent of the talkies, Todd was given opportunity to expand her roles when producer Hal Roach signed her to appear with such comedy stars as Harry Langdon, Charley Chase, and Laurel and Hardy. In 1931 she was given her own series, teaming with ZaSu Pitts for slapstick comedies. This was Roach's attempt to create a female version of Laurel and Hardy. When Pitts left Roach in 1933, she was replaced by Patsy Kelly. The Todd shorts often cast her as a working girl having all sorts of problems, and trying her best to remain poised and charming despite the embarrassing antics of her sidekick.

In 1931, Todd became romantically involved with director Roland West, and starred in his film Corsair.

Thelma Todd became highly regarded as a capable film comedienne, and Roach loaned her out to other studios to play opposite Wheeler and Woolsey, Buster Keaton, Joe E. Brown, and the Marx Brothers. She also appeared successfully in such dramas as the original 1931 film version of The Maltese Falcon, in which she played Miles Archer's treacherous widow. During her career she appeared in 119 films although many of these were short films, and was sometimes publicized as "The Ice Cream Blonde."

In August 1934, she opened a successful cafe at Pacific Palisades, called Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Cafe (below), attracting a diverse clientele of Hollywood celebrities as well as many tourists.

Todd continued her short-subject series through 1935, and was featured in the full-length Laurel and Hardy comedy The Bohemian Girl. This was her last film; she died after completing all of her scenes, but most of them were re-shot. Producer Roach deleted all of Todd's dialogue and limited her appearance to one musical number.

Thelma Todd's Deadly Garage

On the morning of Monday, December 16, 1935, Thelma Todd was found dead in her car inside the garage (above and below) of Jewel Carmen, a former actress and former wife of Todd's lover and business partner, Roland West. Carmen's house was approximately a block from the topmost side of Todd's restaurant. Her death was determined to have been caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. Todd had a wide circle of friends and associates as well as a busy social life; police investigations revealed that she had spent the last night of her life at the Trocadero, a popular Hollywood restaurant, at a party hosted by entertainer Stanley Lupino and his actress daughter, Ida. At the restaurant, she had had a brief but unpleasant exchange with her ex-husband, Pat DeCicco. However, her friends stated that she was in good spirits, and were aware of nothing unusual in her life that could suggest a reason for committing suicide.

Thelma Todd's Deadly Garage

The detectives of the LAPD concluded at first that Todd's death was accidental, the result of her either warming up the car to drive it or using the heater to keep herself warm. Other evidence, however, pointed to foul play. The Grand Jury ruled her death as suicide. Since her body was cremated, a second, more thorough autopsy could not be carried out. It was believed that she was the target of extortion, but refused to pay. It is also possible that she was locked in the garage by her assailant after she started the car. Blood from a wound was found on her face and dress, leading some to believe that she was knocked unconscious and placed in the car so that she would succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Thelma Todd's Deadly Garage

A segment of the History Channel series History's Mysteries reported that Roland West actually confessed to the crime, in the manner stated in the first theory stated above, i.e. that he was trying to keep her from going to the next party. Although no legal action was taken against him, allegedly due to Hollywood's elite closing ranks, West supposedly never worked again in Hollywood. Actually, West had forsworn making movies after the failure of his independently-made gangster movie Corsair, which starred Todd under an assumed name. By her death in 1935, he had been out of the business for three years. It wasn't until 1951 that West made his confession (to actor Chester Morris).

Thelma Todd's Deadly Garage

Todd's death certificate states her cause of death as accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. She was cremated; after her mother's death, her remains were placed in her mother's casket and buried in Bellevue Cemetery in her home town of Lawrence, Massachusetts.

For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Thelma Todd has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6262 Hollywood Blvd.

Monday, December 15, 2014

"Henry VIII" Actor Charles Laughton 1962 Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Cemetery

Charles Laughton (July 1, 1899 – December 15, 1962) was an English-American stage and film actor, screenwriter, producer and one-time director.

Private life

Following Laughton's death in 1962, Laughton's wife Elsa Lanchester wrote a book alleging that they never had children because Laughton was actually homosexual. Actress Maureen O'Hara, a friend and co-star of Laughton, claimed that Laughton had told her that his biggest regret was never having children of his own. Laughton also told O'Hara that the reason that he and his wife never had children was due to a botched abortion which Lanchester had early in her career while performing burlesque.

Lanchester mentioned in her autobiography, Elsa Lanchester Herself, having two abortions in her youth (one of them, a child from Charles), though she didn't mention whether this left her incapable or not of becoming pregnant again. According to biographer Charles Higham, the reason she didn't have children was that she didn't feel fond of them.

Lanchester appeared opposite Laughton in several films, including Rembrandt (1936) and The Big Clock (1948). She wittily portrayed Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII's fourth wife, as a dumb-as-a-fox gamine opposite Laughton in The Private Life of Henry VIII. They both received Academy Award nominations for their performances in Witness for the Prosecution (1957) – Laughton for Best Actor, and Lanchester for Best Supporting Actress – but neither won.

In 1950, the couple became American citizens. The cremated remains of Charles Laughton are interred in the Court of Remembrance courtyard, at Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

"Giant" Actor Chill Wills 1978 Grand View Cemetery

Chill Theodore Wills (July 18, 1902 – December 15, 1978) was an American film actor and singer in the Avalon Boys Quartet.


Wills was born in Seagoville in Dallas County, Texas. He was a performer from early childhood, forming and leading the Avalon Boys singing group in the 1930s. After appearing with them in a few westerns, he disbanded the group in 1938 and struck out on a solo acting career.

One of his more memorable roles was that of the distinctive voice of Francis the Mule in a series of popular films. Wills' deep, rough voice and Western twang were perfectly matched to the personality of the cynical, sardonic mule. As was customary at the time, Wills was given no billing for his vocal work, though he was featured prominently on-screen as blustery General Ben Kaye in the fourth entry, Francis Joins the WACS.

Wills also appeared in numerous serious roles, including that of Uncle Bawley in Giant, a 1956 film starring Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean. Wills was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1960 for his role as Davy Crockett's companion "Beekeeper" in the film The Alamo. However, his aggressive campaign for the award was considered tasteless by many, including the film's producer, John Wayne, who publicly apologized for Wills. Wills' publicity agent, W.S. "Bow-Wow" Wojciechowicz, accepted blame for the ill-advised effort, claiming that Wills had known nothing about it. Wills was defeated for the Oscar by Peter Ustinov, who won for his role as Lentulus Batiatus in Spartacus.

Wills was a poker player and a close friend of Benny Binion, the founder of the World Series of Poker and former owner of the Binion's Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas. Wills participated in the first World Series, held in 1970, and is seated in the center of the now famous picture with a number of legendary players.

In 1961-62, Wills starred in the short-run series Frontier Circus which only aired for one season on CBS. In 1966, Wills was cast in the role of a shady Texas rancher, Jim Ed Love, in the short-lived ABC comedy/western series The Rounders, with co-stars Ron Hayes, Patrick Wayne, and Walker Edmiston.

In 1963 and 1964, Wills joined fellow actors William Lundigan, Walter Brennan, and Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., in making appearances on behalf of U.S. Senator Barry M. Goldwater, the Republican nominee in the campaign against U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson.

In 1968, however, Wills refused to support Richard M. Nixon for the presidency and served as master of ceremonies for George C. Wallace, Jr., former governor of Alabama, for the California campaign stops in Wallace's presidential campaign. He and Walter Brennan of The Real McCoys, The Tycoon, and The Guns of Will Sonnett, were among the few Hollywood celebrities to endorse Wallace's bid against Nixon and Hubert H. Humphrey.

Wills' last role was in 1978 as a janitor in Stubby Pringle's Christmas.


Wills died in 1978 of cancer in Encino, California. Wills was interred in the Grand View Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale.

Animator & Producer Walt Disney 1966 Forest Lawn Glendale Cemetery

Walter Elias "Walt" Disney (December 5, 1901 – December 15, 1966) was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist. Disney is famous for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. As the co-founder (with his brother Roy O. Disney) of Walt Disney Productions, Disney became one of the best-known motion picture producers in the world. The corporation he co-founded, now known as The Walt Disney Company, today has annual revenues of approximately U.S. $35 billion.

Disney is particularly noted for being a film producer and a popular showman, as well as an innovator in animation and theme park design. He and his staff created some of the world's most famous fictional characters including Mickey Mouse, a character for which Disney himself was the original voice. He has been awarded four honorary Academy Awards and has won twenty-two competitive Academy Awards out of fifty-nine nominations, including a record four in one year, giving him more awards and nominations than any other individual. He also won seven Emmy Awards. He is the namesake for Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort theme parks in the United States, as well as the international resorts Tokyo Disney, Disneyland Paris, and Disneyland Hong Kong.

Disney died of lung cancer in Burbank, California, on December 15, 1966. The following year, construction began on Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. His brother Roy Disney inaugurated the Magic Kingdom on October 1, 1971.


In October 1966, Disney was scheduled to undergo neck surgery for an old polo injury; he had played frequently at the Riveria Club in Hollywood for many years. On November 2, 1966, during pre-surgery X-rays, doctors at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center across the street from the Disney Studio discovered that Disney had an enormous tumor on his left lung. Five days later, Disney went back to the hospital for surgery for both his neck injury, as well as to have the tumor removed, but within the short time, the tumor had spread to such great extent that the surgical doctors had to remove his entire left lung. The doctors then told Disney that he only had six months to a year to live. After several chemotherapy sessions, Disney and his wife spent a short amount of time in Palm Springs, California on vacation, before returning home. On November 30, 1966, Disney collapsed in his home from a heart attack, but was revived by paramedics, and was taken back to the hospital, where he died on December 15, 1966, at 9:30 a.m., ten days after his 65th birthday. The last thing he reportedly wrote before his death was the name of actor Kurt Russell, but even Russell himself does not know what Disney meant.

Disney was cremated on December 17, 1966, and his ashes reside at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Roy O. Disney continued to carry out the Florida project, insisting that the name be changed to Walt Disney World in honor of his brother.

The final productions in which Disney had an active role were the animated features The Jungle Book and Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, and the live-action musical comedy The Happiest Millionaire, both released in 1967. Songwriter Robert B. Sherman said about the last time he saw Disney:

“He was up in the third floor of the animation building after a run-through of The Happiest Millionaire. He usually held court in the hallway afterward for the people involved with the picture. And he started talking to them, telling them what he liked and what they should change, and then, when they were through, he turned to us and with a big smile, he said, 'Keep up the good work, boys.' And he walked to his office. It was the last we ever saw of him.”

A long-standing urban legend maintains that Disney was cryogenically frozen, and his frozen corpse was stored underneath the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. The first known instance of cryogenic freezing of a corpse occurred a month later, in January 1967.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Historical Photos of Baldwin Hills Reservoir Disaster 1963

Pre-construction site:

Baldwin Hills Dam under construction:

A crack appeared in the reservoir wall:

After the reservoir burst: