Carole Landis–RIP


Photograph by the Los Angeles Times

Detectives John M. Laymen, top, and Emmett Jones examine the body of actress Carole Landis in a bathroom (one of four) at her home at 1465 Capri Drive, July 5, 1948. Below, the approximate location via Google maps’ street view feature.

Carole_landis_photo_1940 Dropcap_t_pontiac_2he 60th anniversary of Carole Landis’ suicide is coming up, so I thought it would be interesting to post a Times photo of the crime scene. I noticed several unusual things right away, but just to make this a bit more interesting, take a look at this photo and tell me what you see. There is at least one detail that I find extremely odd. At left, Landis in a 1940 studio photo

(Note: Some Neanderthal at The Times cut this print into a bizarre shape, so I filled in the black background to make it a rectangle.) OK, mystery lovers… what do you see in the crime scene photo?
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About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Film, Hollywood, LAPD, Suicide and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Carole Landis–RIP

  1. Carol Gwenn says:

    I know the gal was a movie star, but a mink coat in JULY? THAT doesn’t fit the picture.


  2. H says:

    Yes, mink coat on a chair in July in Southern California. Strange. Medicine bottles on the bureau. The machine in the corner–what the heck is that? Hair dryer?


  3. Grover says:

    The mink coat in July. That’s it. I wonder if Rex Harrison placed it there.


  4. What is the object by the window? Is that some kind of film light?


  5. Nathan says:

    The mink coat isn’t odd. I checked the weather for early July 48 and it was cool in the evenings, down into the 50s, and it’d be cooler in the Palisades. As if its gauche to wear fur in July, like white shoes after Labor Day, well, it may be, but heck, that’s what being a movie star is all about. So is owning a beauty-shop worthy hair dryer right in one’s own home (I suppose the bathroom and vanity areas were too small to place it and she dragged that there chair over to sit under the thing).
    The oddest element about this room has got to be that wallpaper.
    Though I want to know what it is she’s slumped against. Looks to be the opened door of an undersink cabinet?


  6. Lorenzo says:

    What is the item on the top left side of the chest just to the right of the detective’s shoulder At first, I thought it might be a camera, she was an accomplished photographer, but at second glance I am not so sure.


  7. Pamela says:

    If I recall a crime scene photo from “Hollywood Babylon”, she was found lying with her head on a jewelry box and a note clutched in her hand – in the bathroom. Wearing a checked jumper-type dress.


  8. RJ says:

    Yes, that is the door of an undersink cabinet which is open. There is another death photo of Landis taken in the bathroom (Google it and it will come up) and it clearly shows her head slumped against that cabinet door, her right foot in some kind of strap-on sandal extending into the open doorway. She’s wearing some kind of checkerboard plaid dress and sandals more apropos of July, which makes the fur coat even more bizarre. (Perhaps she was preparing to take it in to refrigerated storage. That is, if her suicide was a sudden impulse thing. Otherwise why bother?) Her left hand is visible under her, fingers spread open with palm down, as if she was try to break her fall before she lost consciousness. Her suicide and subsequent revelations ruined Rex Harrison’s career in Hollywood for a while. He had to leave the States and go back to England to make films.


  9. Richard H says:

    You are right, Larry, the crime scene photograph is a very interesting one.
    Looks more like a still from an Orson Welles movie than a press photograph. Looks like a scene Greg Toland, the director of photography for the film “Citizen Kane” set up.
    The reflection angle from the dresser mirror looks impossible to me. I’m not a physicist nor an expert on optics but I’m having an impossible time trying to correlate the angles of the objects reflecting in the dresser mirror with the lack of “tilt” to the mirror. It looks like the mirror is flat against the bedroom wall, but the image of the objects on the dresser makes it look like its at an angle to the dresser counter. Also there is a very bright light being shined into the room when the picture was taken that appears to have absolutely no reflection in the dresser mirror. A most interesting photograph.
    Mirrors in pictures make for mysteries.


  10. Linda says:

    I’m coming into this at a rather late date, but this suicide has always fascinated me, and though the mink does seem out of place for July in CA, I recall reading that she left three notes — one to the maid, to take the cat to the vet because of a sore paw; another one to her mother, written on her personalized stationery; and the other one to Rex Harrison. It could be that she “staged” the mink coat in that chair for effect, meaning — as a posthumous “message” to Harrison — I know she wore minks a lot in general; could this have been one he bought for her, and she was making a statement of sorts? It also looks as though she/someone had been sitting on top of the coat in the chair due to the indentation, etc.


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