The Tinseltown Murder Of Thelma Todd

The Tinseltown Murder Of Thelma Todd

A Hollywood starlet struck down in her prime- was it an accident, suicide or murder? This episode contains sensitive subject matter pertaining to suicide. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health or self-harm, there are resources available online to speak directly with a trained professional or to find local community outreach services If you’re in the US, you can visit or call them at 1-800-273-8255.


Licensed via Audio Network

Welcome to the BuzzFeed Unsolved Network! This channel is your one-stop destination for all things mystery, conspiracy, supernatural, true crime, and everything in between. Subscribe here:

Thelma Todd
General Photographic Agency/Getty Images
Marx Brothers
General Photographic Agency/Getty Images
Hot Dogs
Old key isolated on white background. without shadow
Azure-Dragon/Getty Images
Green Peas and Carrot
fcafotodigital/Getty Images
Southeast Asian woman in fur coat and sunglasses
Colin Hawkins/Getty Images
Vintage classic car interior
vuk8691/Getty Images
omersukrugoksu/Getty Images
Main Street Stores in of Old Small Town
Michael Warren/Getty Images
Retro Woman 1920s – 1930s Sitting in the Cafe
AlexanderNovikov/Getty Images
Vintage Italian Car Fiat 1100
Lisa-Blue/Getty Images
Old fashioned white candlestick phone on wooden desk
Bkamprath/Getty Images
Cafe sign along historic Route 66 in Texas.
duha127/Getty Images
Vanderbilt Marries DiCicco
Keystone/Getty Images
Dennis Degnan/Getty Images
Maid and chaffeur
Robert Recker/Getty Images
Palm Trees in Santa Monica
ART on FILE, Inc./Getty Images
Mugger stealing handbag
Peter Dazeley/Getty Images
Luggage in a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet A
Martyn Goddard/Getty Images
Gloria Vanderbilt…
Bettmann/Getty Images
Lucky Luciano
Bettmann/Getty Images
Vogue 1968
shaunl/Getty Images
Beautiful view whiskey decanter and glass of whiskey with ice on blue background. Beautiful backgrounds. Alcohol concept.
Alexander Shapovalov/Getty Images
Brown fur mink background texture
AnjelaGr/Getty Images
Vintage padlock isolated on white background with clipping path
sqback/Getty Images
On Pattern Gatsby
urzine/Getty Images
Luxury classic interior of home library. Sitting room with bookshelf, books, arm chair, sofa and fireplace
Iuliia Zavalishina/Getty Images
Lifeguard’s Cabin on Malibu Beach
Jay De Winne/Getty Images
Golden Gate, San Francisco. Black And White.
Lisa-Blue/Getty Images
La Canada Urban Sprawl, California – Drone Shot
Spiderplay/Getty Images
Senior male pharmacist working at drug store
Luis Alvarez/Getty Images
Woman wearing beautiful green silk dress is posing on leather couch
Jun/Getty Images
A pile of Christmas presents under the Tree. New Year. Background
haurashko_ksu/Getty Images
suteishi/Getty Images
Vintage couple holding hands over table of train carriage
Tony Marturano/Getty Images
Old gray wooden garage door with german prohibition sign
deepblue4you/Getty Images
suteishi/Getty Images
men’s suits
Bojan Nikolic/Getty Images
Blurry silhouette and shadows of two person walking
AlexLinch/Getty Images
Vintage looking digital camera
coolimagesco/Getty Images
Old 1940s sepia photo of dreamy young woman looking in theater mirror.
ysbrandcosijn/Getty Images
Faces of Business – Confident Colour Image
JohnnyGreig/Getty Images
Leicester v York
Mike Finn-Kelcey/Getty Images
Couples Dancing At El Morocco, 1940S
Bettmann/Getty Images
Dancing At A Formal Party
Underwood Archives/Getty Images
concrete polished texture background
chingraph/Getty Images
“Whispering Whoopee” Film Still
Donaldson Collection/Getty Images
Business people, group of men and women isolated silhouettes
msan10/Getty Images
Realistic lipstick in glossy black packaging.
Ludmila_m/Getty Images
Diadem with pearls
Tatiana54/Getty Images

Broken Glass Texture. Isolated Realistic Cracked
mputsylo/Getty Images
Realistic Dry Ice Smoke Clouds Fog
mputsylo/Getty Images
Male Hands Holding Steering Wheel Of A Vintage Car.
istockmaradona/Getty Images
Poker Chips Spinning on Glass Table on Black Background Slow Motion
maradek/Getty Images
jail cel door close 1
allanswart/Getty Images
Orange Pill Bottle Falls on Left Side Slow Motion
revelpix/Getty Images
1934: Ford model A car driving past log cabin thru pine tree forest.
StockFilmdotCOM/Getty Images
Sparkling wine
shironosov/Getty Images
Dialing phone number on rotary telephone
SaddamStock/Getty Images
Film Slate being closed on slow motion
wundervisuals/Getty Images
Dolly Exhaust Pipe Vehicle Focus
revelpix/Getty Images
CCNUT/Getty Images

You may also like...

67 Responses

  1. Ozzy DaKidd says:

    Post Mortem: Imagine this; You’re this woman, you’ve just gotten off the phone with you’re new man in San Fran. He says he loves you and he wants to take it further but he wants you to cut everyone else off. You go home. Quietly thinking. You call West, asking him to meet you in person so you can explain to him that you two can no longer speak. You meet him over a meal, you’re not very hungry because you’re nervous so you just have some peas and carrots. After you eat you decided to tell him. He grabs you by the arm and quickly takes her to her car. And in a fit of rage beats her unconscious. He’s home. She’s still breathing. He knows if she tells it could ruin his career. He puts her in the drivers seat.. turns on the car and leaves, shutting the garage door behind him.

    In short terms: What if she wanted to cut ties with West and in a fit of rage, he killed her?

    • ana v says:

      That was well written, and I believe a lot in this theory

    • MMF says:

      Todd also dieted a lot, so she probably ate lame meals most of the time 😞 She was looking forward to aging out of acting and being just a business woman so she could do what she wanted and eat what she wanted.

    • Madenique van Wyk says:


    • Hemashree Wesavkar says:

      @Shivaranjan MenonIt would be a great move as no one is as fool as keeping the woman you murdered or injuried in your own garage.if west would have disposed it off he would be a big suspect as she was his mistress and a business partner.So maybe he had played innocent and people bought it as he was a popular producer

    • Joplin Thompson says:

      Maybe the reason West left her in the garage was because he had been in the garage for quite sometime with Todd while the car was running and the Carbon Monoxide had started getting to him too making him disoriented and therefore leaving her in his garage because he couldn’t think straight.

  2. Tabitha Payne says:

    For postmortem, just a fun fact, the reason Thelma would have left her ex-husband $1 is so that he couldn’t contest the will. If he was not mentioned and left nothing he could argue misfault can try to claim her money though familial bonds. Know this because my great aunt left her piece of **** husband 50p in the will and her entire wealth basically went to the RSPCA. Love you guys, great episode!!

  3. bee flavored says:

    A bit of info on the ex-husband receiving $1 in her will: this is usually done so that the person it’s being left to can’t take it to court claiming to be “missing” from the will for some reason and fight to lay claim to a bigger stake. By putting them in the will, the deceased ensure that they leave the absolute minimum possible to that person, with no way for the person to get at the rest of the deceased’s goods/property. #postmortem

  4. Teenage Drama Queen says:

    Post Mortem: If her lover was on his death bed when admitting to killing her perhaps he was distorted and foggy. Also why would he admit to something like that right before his death unless it was true?

    • Noire Snow says:

      It’s possible that they fought, he beat her and locked in her the garage, where she went into the car to stay warm and wound up dying. He might not have outright murdered her, but he caused her death.

    • jelly says:

      Danie DC *cough* all those DC Cooper confessions *cough*

    • EclipseSeth says:

      Maybe he felt guilty for not doing anything, so he invented a story to himself that he got to think it was true. That’s very common.

    • Noire Snow says:

      @jelly True… But those were people confessing to a robbery and hi-jacking. Not the suspicious death of their girlfriend.

    • Jordyn Walls says:

      I heard on a podcast I listen to that the man he made the confession to (an actor who’s name I can’t remember) had a habit of lying and making things up, although I do still think he did it.

  5. Charlie Holt says:

    I think that roland was partially telling the truth in that he did hit her, broke her ribs and nose and locked her in the garage. She may well have started the car to escape or to draw attention but passed out from her injuries and died as a result of the carbon dioxide poisoning. #postpartum #shaniac

  6. Helen Luu says:

    “She had a trunk full of Christmas presents for family and friends”, Todd seems like the coolest person who was way ahead of her time. To meet such a tragic end, it is really unfortunate

    • Kezia Basaraba says:

      not only that but she was a beautiful women who wanted to be known beyond on that in the Hollywood industry. Intelligent with a lot of dignity, sad what happened to her.

  7. Inara Navile says:

    “Wake up, smile, wink at yourself in the mirror”

  8. Masume Abbasii says:

    Shane: “ there is a darkness in tom hiddleston”

  9. Yasmin Lawson says:

    Only a truly sick murderer would take someone out for their last meal and then only serve them peas and carrots.

  10. Rachel Picheo says:

    Post Mortem: Todd’s leaving her Ex husband a single $1 in her will means that he was not completely cut out of said will. Therefore he would have no legal standing to contest it.

    • N30R3M says:

      That I have to remember 😀

    • Meena says:

      You can contest a will? Maybe that’s make sense for a child, but odd for a an ex. Nevertheless, thanks for info! She really seemed like an introspective gal

    • uhhh skylar says:

      Meena well it is dated from when they were still married, so he would have been her spouse, not her ex quite yet. so it makes as to why he might contest it.

    • Crazy Nerd says:

      By leaving him $1, he can’t argue that he was accidentally left out of the will. Thus entitling him to a larger sum of money.

  11. Ana Corleone says:

    what’s up with that little piece of hair at the top of shane’s head. where is it going

  12. freya oldham says:

    For post-mortem/Q&A: its not related to this case but the show as a whole, if you could both know what happened in an unsolved case (but only you know and you can’t tell anyone,) which case would you choose?
    p.s. i love the show

    • metalskie says:

      @Blue Shoes The choice is them choosing which case they would know the answer to.

    • steph baybiie says:

      After watching every episode multiple times, i still honestly think id choose this one. Or the dunbar boy. I never felt for a person as much as her, n the dunbar boy was just a stumper lol

    • Celeste Simone says:


    • Sky Milan says:

      freya oldham boy in a box, for me

    • steph baybiie says:

      @Sky Milan i just watched that one 20 min ago! Literally been rewatching all their seasons the past 2 days 🤣💖💖💖 boy in a box was a crazy one, they kinda figured it out tho

  13. k a t h e r i n e says:

    my favourite part of this show is when ryan says something eerie like “but why did she have a key to her house if she was sleeping in her car?” hinting at the fact that she was murdered, and shane will just miss that and just say “well duh cause she was murdered”

  14. Hazel Disgrace says:

    Shane: “okay okay ALRIGHT”
    Ryan: “The plot thickens”
    Shane: “YES THIIIIIiiIIIiiIiIIIiiCK”

    Ryan: 👀

  15. Audrey AT says:

    Shane: *hit the table*
    Ryan: *hits table with him*
    Shane: *doesn’t hit table*
    Ryan: *reaches to hit the table*

    • Adam Nadin says:

      Hahaaaaa… I saw that, too!! Made me chuckle because that’s deffo something i’d do, then look arond to make sure no one saw.Haha

  16. Brittney Marlaina says:

    Post Mortem: As you guys talked about this is my theory (its long so sorry): She was “supposed” to be home by 2am right? She stayed till after 3am then returned home. She owned her own restaurant so maybe she made herself a drunken meal of peas and carrots before seeing Roland. If he was a jealous man he may have believed her to be with the other man she was seeing hence why she was late. They got into an argument as they often did due to being on and off but this time it was physical. He hit her enough to break bones and knock her unconscious. Thinking he may have already killed her on accident he may have panicked and tired to play it off as a suicide. Leading to him putting her in the car and turning the engine on and locking the garage door. However because she was unconscious she was still alive and breathing leading to the carbon monoxide killing her in the end.

  17. Charlotte Doyle says:

    So Shane’s business card now says “Shane Madej: Ghost Hunter, Robosquatch and Agent with Underworld Connections”

  18. sad kat says:

    “iss..bad. don’t do it- don’t. just- eat. djsb….bodyy positivity”
    -Shane Madej 2020

  19. giorno giovanna says:

    “its bad. don’t do it. don’t- just- js eat- jsutdsf…… bbody positivity.”
    -shane, 2020

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *