Mystery photo

I hope this one is interesting. Who is this woman and why am I running her picture? The other photos have been recognized so quickly, I’m sure someone will figure her out right away.

Karil Rogers Graham


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  • Adele Astaire. No.
  • Adela Rogers St. Johns. No.
  • Dorothy "Buff" Chandler. No.
  • Mrs. Walter O’Malley. No.
  • Virginia Hill. No.
  • Roz Wyman. No.
  • Queen Elizabeth. No.
  • Geneva Ellroy (twice). No!
  • Aggie Underwood. No.
  • Anna Eleanor Roosevelt. No.
  • Evelyn Scott. Interesting guess! But no.
  • Rose Bird. No.
  • Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Interesting guess! But no.
  • Princess Margaret. No.
  • Bernice Layne Brown. Very interesting guess. But no.
  • Donita Woodruff. No.
  • Edie Wasserman. No
  • Marion Davies. No.
  • Bea Korshak. No.
  • Ariel Durant. That’s a guess I never expected. But no.
  • Molly Swett. No.

Gosh. I may be forced to give a clue at this rate.

Update: OK, here goes. The mystery woman figures prominently in a well-known nonfiction book about Los Angeles. The work was in bookstores within the last few years and is ranked among the top 100,000 in sales on   It was written by an iconic Los Angeles TV and film actor who grew up on Bunker Hill.

The mystery guest lived within easy walking distance of the Original Tommy’s Hamburger at Rampart and Beverly.


Photograph by Larry Harnisch / Los Angeles Times
The apartment where the mystery guest lived was at the site now occupied by this building.

Karil Rogers Graham, 271 S. Carondelet, was beaten to death with a lead pipe. Her blood was spattered four feet up the wall and a piece of her skull was found eight feet from her body.

Donald Keith Bashor was convicted of her murder and executed in the gas chamber at San Quentin on Oct. 11, 1957.  His final words were: "I’m glad my crimes are coming to an end. I am sorry I cannot undo the horrible things I did."

Photograph by Edward Gamer / Los Angeles Times
Senior Deputy George Coenen, left, and Sgt. Howard Earle, right, escort convicted killer Donald Keith Bashor on his trip to San Quentin, Oct. 25, 1956.

Bashor’s story was the basis of a "Playhouse 90" episode by Jules Maitland. Bashor’s slaying of Graham also plays a prominent role in Jack Webb’s "The Badge," a not terribly accurate book reissued in 2005.

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About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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12 Responses to Mystery photo

  1. jaded says:

    Buffy Chandler


  2. Mike Kataoka says:

    Roz Wyman


  3. Pam S. says:

    Evelyn Scott?


  4. Carol Gwenn says:

    Princess Margaret?
    –Oh very interesting. But no.
    –Keep checking back!


  5. Richard H says:

    “07:07 AM, Oct 17 2007” is the time and date of the Blog Entry.
    Posted in the future. Answered in the past?
    This some sort of Twilight Zone thing?
    Maybe this woman has yet to exist so there is no record or memory of her.
    Like the Philip K. Dick Science-fiction novel “Counter-Clock World” where time is in reverse. The Hobart phase.
    Just an outlandish thought.
    But that is the time and date of the blog.
    –Exactly correct. By publishing “in the future” I keep the post at the top of the blog.


  6. Margaret Cooper says:

    Maybe Geneva Ellroy mother of crime author James Ellroy
    –Hi… Someone already guessed that.
    –Interesting guess.
    –But no.
    Keep checking back!


  7. David Andrews says:

    Mystery Photo – Edie Wassermann?
    –Interesting…. but no.


  8. David Andrews says:

    Marion Davies? Nut looks middle-class, like a bank teller. Whose arm is she under?…


  9. David Andrews says:

    Bea Korshak?


  10. Duane Laible says:

    Molly Swett? She was an English teacher at Belmont High School in the 30’s or 40’s and lived in the area at least up until the early 60’s. She taught several people who went on to fame, i.e. Jack Webb.
    –Very interesting guess.
    –But no.


  11. jaded says:

    murder victim Karil Graham? I can’t find a photo of her, but I’m guessing based on your clues.
    –Bingo. We have a winner.


  12. Gabe says:

    Larry, how about a blog item please about the inaccuracies in “The Badge”? I picked up the re-issued paperback recently. I suspect the book’s treatment of the Dahlia case is among the issues you identified.
    –Interesting idea. Debunking “The Badge” would take ages, but a few selected passages might be worthwhile. Unfortunately, the process is terribly tedious for the average person, but “The Badge” certainly reflects poorly on the man best known for saying: “Just the facts.”


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