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 film s such as 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 film s, the last of which (The Bohemian Girl) featured her in a part that was truncated by her suspicious death at the age of 29.
Todd was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts to John Shaw Todd, an upholsterer from Ireland, and Alice Elizabeth Edwards, an immigrant from Canada and was a bright student who achieved good academic results. She intended to become a school teacher and enrolled at the Lowell Normal School (now University of Massachusetts, Lowell) after graduating from high school in 1923. 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 at Paramount. She had an older brother, William.
During the silent film 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.
On the morning of December 16, 1935, Thelma Todd was found dead in her car inside the garage 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. West is quoted in a contemporaneous newspaper account as having locked her out, which may have caused her to seek refuge and warmth in the car. Todd had a wide circle of friends and associates as well as a busy social life.
A tribute to the great Thelma Todd. Check out my other pre-Code videos. Pre-Codes: The Unmentionable https://youtu.be/R3-XCvlTkK4 Pre-Codes: Bare …