5. Silent But Deadly
In the 1920s, the death of director William Desmond Taylor was big news. A police officer showed up at his Hollywood bungalow to find him dead on the floor with a bullet in his back.
Actresses’ careers also died with Taylor’s murder. Mary Miles Minter was a budding teen star when Desmond started casting her in his silent films. After his murder her nightgown was found in his bedroom, as was a love letter.
Nonetheless, the case went unsolved for years. Many years later Minter wrote an autobiography and admitted that she and her mother were at the bungalow the night of the murder. Minter’s mother had previously threatened the life of another director that made a pass at her daughter.
Legend has it that when Minter’s mother suffered a heart attack, she attempted to a summon a priest so she could confess to killing Taylor. With no priest nearby to confess, she told all to a nearby neighbor and then died. Directors: be careful who cast…or don’t cast.