Thelma Todd

Thelma Todd
Associated Press


Thelma Todd
Film: South side of the 6200 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Born Alison Loyd on July 29, 1905 in Lawrence, MA
Died Dec. 16, 1935 of carbon monoxide poisoning in Pacific Palisades, CA

Thelma Todd was an actress who appeared in about 120 films between 1926 and 1935. She was best known as the blonde in the Marx Brothers' film, "Horsefeathers."

Todd began entering beauty pageants in her teens, and won the title of Miss Massachusetts in 1925. This earned her the attention of theater and film scouts who enlisted her for supporting roles in silent films. She was soon signed by Hal Roach, who placed her alongside top stars in a series of comedies.

For a year, Todd worked steadily in one picture after another, playing comedy leads opposite Charlie Chase, Laurel and Hardy and Harry Langdon. In 1928, she became a freelance, and during the next few years her success became assured. It was in this period that she took the role in "Horsefeathers" as well as prominent leads in "The Corsair" with Chester Morris and the "Maltese Falcon" with Bebe Daniels.

In Hollywood, Todd was noted for her friendly, unaffected ways. She was one of the few actors or actresses who started in comedy, obtained success and yet never was extremely ambitious to appear in serious roles.

Her death came early at age 30, and the nature of it is still debated. She was found dead in her automobile, which was parked in a garage, with the ignition key in the on position but the engine not running. Officially, her death was deemed accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, but suicide or murder conspiracies have never fully been put to rest.

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