A voice cries out in the early morning of February 2, 1922. Henry Peavey has just discovered the body of his boss, director William Desmond Taylor. A single bullet wound ripped through his back the night before. No one could have suspected it then, but two of Hollywood’s biggest stars will be accused of the crime.
The man who would become William Desmond Taylor came into the world as William Cunningham Deane-Tanner on April 26, 1872, in County Carlow, Ireland. When he turned 18, Taylor left the Emerald Isle behind for the United States to work on a Kansas ranch. At the time, many wealthy families sent male offspring to America in the hope of turning their sons into gentleman farmers. Which is a posh way of saying that they cultivate the land for pleasure rather than profit.
Once in Kansas, though, Taylor never became the gentleman farmer that his parents envisioned. Instead, he fell back into a hobby that he had before he moved overseas – acting. He ended up leaving the Midwest behind for New York City, where he worked at an antiques store and started dating the owner’s daughter, Ethel May Hamilton.