Tag: Ted Healy

What Really Happened the Night Ted Healy Was Beaten at Cafe Trocadero?

Left: Ted Healy (in hat) with the Three Stooges; top right: Wallace Beery; bottom: Pat DiCicco

The premise of The Fixers: Eiddie Mannix, Howard Strickling and the MGM Publicity Machine, by E. J. Fleming, is that in the days when the movie studios dominated the Los Angeles economy studio executives used their influence with city officials, including law enforcement, to protect their stars — the studios’ biggest assets — when the stars got into trouble. The “fixers” were studio executives who were charged with cleaning up these messes, even if the clean-up involved tampering with evidence, as is believed to have happened in numerous sensational cases, including the murder of director William Desmond Taylor and the purported suicides both of Jean Harlow’s husband Paul Bern, a studio executive himself, and Thelma Todd, the comedic actress and nightclub entrepreneur, just to name a few.

Fleming covers these and many other famous Hollywood crimes and scandals, focusing on how MGM fixers Eddie Mannix and Howard Strickling interfered with investigations and engineered coverups. Most of the incidents he covers are familiar stories in the Hollywood hagiography, even if the coverups and skullduggery behind them are not. One that is not as well known, however, is the story of the death in December 1937 of comedian Ted Healy, a vaudevillian and successful supporting player in movies who earned a place in the slapstick comedy hall of fame by  inventing of the Three Stooges.

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Ted Healy, His Lion and the Taxi

From Grace Kingsley’s “Hobnobbing in Hollywood” column in the Times, July 12: 1934:

Pertinent and Impertinent

Ted Healy once owned a lioness which he took about to parties with him. One night he brought the animal into a taxi, wrapped up in a big blanket. When Ted reach home the driver asked him if he had any money. “No, but maybe my companion has,” answered Ted. The taxi driver looked inside, the lion poked its head out — and the driver fled.

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