Her body is slumped over in the front seat of her car, her signature blonde curls disheveled. In death, 29-year-old Thelma Todd doesn’t look like the Hollywood star that she once was. And though it initially seems like she has died accidentally, something far more sinister may have befallen the beloved actress.
Thelma Todd apparently hadn’t dreamed of making it in Hollywood. Instead, the Massachusetts native had wanted to become a teacher. She got good enough grades to enroll in the Lowell Normal School, which is today known as the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. But she wasn’t to stay there for long.
That’s because Todd had started competing in beauty pageants as a teenager. And in 1925 – two years after she had started at the Lowell Normal School – she was named as Miss Massachusetts. This allowed her to participate in the Miss America pageant. And even though she didn’t win, she ended up catching someone’s eye.