Martha Note: This week’s Little Mystery comes to you from LAistory
Another suspect was Mabel Normand, who may have been having an affair with Taylor. She was the last to see him alive the night before he died. She was known as the “female Charlie Chaplin.” She starred in a bunch of Keystone Kops films and did a few with Fatty Arbuckle as well. The police eventually declared her innocent, but there were still rumors that her former fiancé, Mac Sennett or her drug dealers had offed him.
There was a theory involving an old army buddy of Taylor’s, and even a hitman (which could have been anyone.) So soon after the Fatty Arbuckle scandal, people began to see Hollywood as a den of sin. The studios responded by putting morals clauses into their contracts. We were out of Eden.
Though there are still avid conspiracy theorists, most people haven’t heard of William Desmond Taylor, though his death contributed to the way our city and its premiere industry is still seen today. Most of his films are gone, vanished in the river of time. The theories are nearly all we have left and they are all deeply flawed, stories like the ones Taylor told himself and others. There’s only one thing that remains certain, in the midst of all the rumors, innuendo, lies and obfuscations, Taylor died as he lived, one foot in the mist.