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Edward's Untimely Death Series: Entry #3

minter.jpgWilliam Desmond Taylor (1872-1922), was an actor and director of silent films, who is remembered less for his work than for his sensational murder in 1922. Born William Cunningham Deane-Tanner, he mysteriously disappeared from New York in 1908, abandoning his wife (the daughter of a wealthy Wall Street broker) and child, and resurfaced with a new name in Hollywood in 1912. He directed over 50 films, working with many stars of the silent era including Mary Pickford, Wallace Reid and his protégé Mary Miles Minter. Found in his bungalow, shot in the back, on February 2, 1922, his death has never been solved. Among those suspected were the comedian actress Mabel Normand, Taylor’s valet Henry Peavy, Mary Miles Minter (1902-1984), and her mother Charlotte Shelby. Minter’s career took a nose dive after the murder and she lived in obscurity. In 1981, she was found beaten, bound, gagged, robbed and left for dead in the kitchen of her Santa Monica home. The police described her as a "tiny, frail old lady," and were shocked to discover she'd been a silent film star.

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