Mary Miles Minter was one of the golden girls of silent pictures, whose career was cut short by the unsolved 1922 murder of her director and lover. She died in obscurity, decades from the scenes of her triumphs and tragedies.
The onetime rival to Mary Pickford, for her portrayals of innocent young girls cast asunder in seas of materialism and lechery, was 82 and had suffered a stroke weeks before her death.
From 1912 to 1923, Minter made about 50 pictures, none of them remembered today, but all cast in the mode popular in the early 20th century— the "good girl" facing decisions of the flesh and spirit with a male villian lurking nearby, quick to take advantage of any vacillations.
What drove her from the screen and into the relative seclusion of a successful real estate career was the murder of William Desmond Taylor, the much older film director whom, she said, she loved all her life.
Taylor was found shot to death on Feb. 1, 1922. Minter was never charged with any crime. Newspapers of both that day and today speculated that her ambitious and possessive mother may have been responsible.