Posts Tagged ‘Trocadero Ernest Peters’

Thelma Todd’s Last Ride

Saturday, March 17th, 2012


The Last Ride of Thelma Todd




On Monday, December 16, 1935, the body of actress Thelma Todd was found in her car inside a garage she used near her house. After an autopsy was performed, it was determined that she died due to carbon monoxide poisoning. She spent the previous Saturday night at the Trocadero, a popular night spot on the Sunset Strip. At the inquest two days later, details of her last automobile ride was given by Ernest O. Peters, her chauffeur that evening.


“I arrived at the Trocadero at 8:55 p.m., but Miss Todd did not come out until 3:15 a.m.,” Peters told Coroner Nance.


“What was her physical condition,” Nance asked.


“She was quite sober,” Peters said. “But she was not a bit talkative. Usually she had quite a lot to say; in fact, every other time I had driven her she had conversed with me in a very friendly fashion. But on Sunday morning, after saying, ‘Let’s go home Ernie,’ she did not say another word until we reached the café.”


“Did you drive rapidly?” he was asked.


“Very fast. She always wanted to go fast. We drove between sixty-five and seventy miles an hour.”


For the first time since he had been driving Todd, she refused to have him escort her to her apartment, Peters told the Coroner’s jury.


“When Miss Todd got out of the car—I had opened the door her her—I asked her if I could escort her to her door, as had been my custom to do. But she said definitely that she did not want me to do that. I turned the car around, waited a minute until she had disappeared, walking up the driveway toward the side entrance through which she reached her apartment, and then drove on. There was no one around. Had there been I would have insisted on escorting her to her door.”


En route to the party from her beach home, Peters said she had given him a dollar to purchase a camellia. He said she took the money from her purse but did not notice whether or not there was other money in the purse. When found on her body the purse contained no money.


He said he had driven her to her beach apartment at least five times in the early morning hours in the last year and had always, until the last occasion, walked with her to the door of her apartment. He was at a loss to explain her death, he told Coroner Nance. Peters fixed the time of his arrival at her beach café with Todd at 3:45 a.m. Sunday.