Carole Landis–RIP


Los Angeles Times file photo

Let’s break down the photograph by segments. First, we’ll  inventory everything on and around the bureau.

Starting from the left, here’s the camera. I’ll leave to the experts to determine the precise model. My first guess is that it belongs to the police crime scene photographer or to a news photographer.

Update: Howard Decker asks whether this might be some sort of "flash slave unit" with a large battery pack. I don’t know enough about 4×5 equipment to comment. I’m quite curious about how the photographer lit the bathroom.


Then there’s the flowers. Interestingly enough, the vase seems to be sitting on a metal tray–or perhaps it’s an ashtray. There’s also something that looks like a hankie to the left of the vase.

And her purse. Note that it’s reflected in the mirror.

And the three bottles that everyone has mentioned. Unfortunately, the labels are unreadable, but the bottles look like drugstore prescriptions to me.

At the moment I’m more interested in what’s behind the bottles. Is it a clipboard? A large envelope? I can’t quite tell.


Finally, we have what appears to be a trunk or suitcase to the left of the bureau. One of the men in the picture is obscuring the object so we can only see a corner of it.


Above, the photo that turns up in so many crime books and on the Internet–usually not credited to The Times (ahem). Unfortunately, I cannot locate this print in The Times archives, so a clip from ProQuest will have to do.  It would be interesting to examine exactly what’s on the counter.

This is what we see in the mirror above the bureau. Of course, everything is reversed, so let’s flop it.

Notice that it’s daytime and one of the windows is open. There are heavy drapes and we can see out into the yard.

And here’s the fur coat that everyone has mentioned. Nathan is correct in saying that Los Angeles gets cool at night, even in July, and for a stylish movie star like Carole Landis, a fur coat in the summertime doesn’t strike me as being out of place. According to a story about the auction of her estate, Landis owned 11 fur coats, as well as stoles, capes, jackets, hats and muffs.

Isn’t this a wonderful hair dryer? Art Deco meets the Space Age. I’m sure there is someone, somewhere who collects antique hair dryers and can identify this for us.

And there’s a doorstop on the molding at the bottom of the picture. Presumably it’s for the door that’s behind heavy drapes to the right.


Notice that the label is visible. I flipped the image to make it right side up.

One reader commented on the door knob and the lock. Here’s a more detailed image.

Thoughts? Observations? Email me

About lmharnisch

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

3 Responses to Carole Landis–RIP

  1. Arye Michael Bender says:

    Presenting us all with a chance to be Sherlock Holmes, as viewed through a prism of the not so distant past? Sorry for the loss of the very talented Miss Landis, but enjoying the challenge of finding real life clues.
    Fun with a tinge of sadness. Very delicious!


  2. Richard H says:

    “Landis owned 11 fur coats, as well as stoles, capes, jackets, hats and muffs.”
    How many furry animals were killed (I guess an animal rights activitists would say murdered) for this collection of fur coats, stoles, capes, muffs, etc.? Pity the poor animals killed and skinned for the vanity of a wealthy woman.
    Would Doris Day wear a mink? Did Doris Day wear a mink? Times did a story on her animal rights convictions a few days ago.


  3. The chest of drawers is by Paul Frankl for Brown Saltman, a furniture manufacturer based in South Gate, Ca.
    Here it is without the two toned finish.


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