The Unsolved Murder Of Hollywood Director William Desmond Taylor
Hollywood film director William Desmond Taylor’s career came to a violent end when he was discovered murdered in his Alvarado Court Apartments bungalow with a bullet in his back, per History. It wasn’t long before scrutiny of his untimely death pulled back the curtain on a curious web of sex, love, and violence. In fact, the mark Taylor’s murder left on history is surprisingly close to many of the crime movies that have come from the industry he called home.
There are many pieces to the still-unsolved puzzle of Taylor’s death: Comedienne Mabel Normand, who was romantically linked with the director, was the last person to see him alive and would later die following a stint in a sanitarium for tuberculosis, per The Guardian; a teen star in Taylor’s films, Mary Miles Minter, left him a love note that was uncovered in his home after his death. And the final eerie mystery: the gun used to kill Taylor was the same type as one that Minter previously used to try and take her own life.
The puzzle pieces have yet to provide an answer
Although The Guardian noted that Taylor’s murder became the focal point of newspaper speculation for the many revelations and curious plot lines linked to the incident, in the end the story remained the same as it began: an unsolved mystery.
To this day, Taylor’s murder remains a cold case, although hints of a resolution have surfaced. Per History, Minter’s mother, Charlotte Shelby, appears to be a top suspect. Wary of the relationship between her daughter and the older filmmaker, Shelby had a history that makes her a prime candidate for the murderer: She previously threatened to kill another director who was fond of her daughter. Adding to the suspicion is her alibi witness, who was allegedly funneled copious amounts of cash after Taylor was found dead.
Years later, Minter would continue to implicate her mother. Not only did she admit the pair were present at Taylor’s home the same night he was murdered — a claim that conflicts with her alibi — director King Vidor claimed that she confessed that her mother killed her older flame in a heated rage after discovering the pair together at his home.
But suspicion is not tantamount of guilt, and the true identity of Taylor’s killer remains a mystery.
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