The Ice Cream Blonde

The Ice Cream Blonde
The Ice Cream Blonde

The Ice Cream Blonde

The Whirlwind Life and Mysterious Death of Screwball Comedienne Thelma Todd
By Michelle Morgan


288 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, EPUB, Mobipocket, PDF

Cloth, $26.95 (US $26.95) (CA $31.95)

ISBN 9781613730386

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Nov 2015)


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A detailed look at the charmed life and tragic death of one of Hollywood's earliest stars
A vibrant and beloved Golden Age film comedienne who worked alongside the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, Ginger Rogers, Cary Grant, Clara Bow, and dozens of others, Thelma Todd was one of the rare actors to successfully cross over from silent films to “talkies.” This authoritative new biography traces Todd's life and career, from a vivacious little girl to a young woman who became a reluctant beauty queen to her rapid rise as a Hollywood comedy star to her mysterious death at the age of 29. Increasingly disenchanted with the studio star system, Todd opened the successful Thelma Todd’s Sidewalk Café, attracting adoring fans, tourists, and Hollywood celebrities. Life appeared blessed for the beautiful and outspoken Hollywood rebel. So the country was shocked when Todd was found dead by her housekeeper in a garage near the café. An inquest concluded that her death was accidental, caused by inhaling the car’s exhaust fumes. In a thorough new investigation that draws on FBI documents, interviews, photographs, reports, and extortion notes—much of these not previously available to the public—author Michelle Morgan offers fresh evidence and conclusions about the circumstances surrounding Todd’s death, proving what many people have long suspected, that Thelma had been murdered. The cast of suspects includes Thelma’s Hollywood-director lover; her gangster ex-husband; assorted thugs who were pressuring her to install gaming tables in the room above her popular café; and a new, never-before-named mobster. Coinciding with the 80th anniversary of Todd's death, The Ice Cream Blonde is sure to interest any fan of Thelma Todd, Hollywood's Golden Age, or gripping real-life murder mysteries.


The Ice Cream Blonde is a riveting mystery about the death of Thelma Todd. It’s also an eerie exploration of the Todd dichotomy—breezy comedienne on the one hand; serious businesswoman with underworld connections on the other. Highly recommended.” —Robert Matzen, author of Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3

The Ice Cream Blonde gives an engaging and balanced look at the fascinating life and notorious death of Thelma Todd. Michelle Morgan proves once again that she is expert researcher who can tackle a controversial subject justly, and through her, Thelma Todd becomes much more than just a scandalous Hollywood footnote.” —Christina Rice, author Ann Dvorak: Hollywood's Forgotten Rebel

"In Ice Cream Blonde, biographer Michelle Morgan shows us why Thelma Todd was so beloved to her family, co-workers, and fans.  In the final riveting chapters, Morgan exposes the dangerous world Todd lived in and the shadowy figures she let into her life.  Finally, 80 years after her death, we understand why Todd's last days were more unsettling and disturbing than any role Hollywood could have written for her." —Michael G. Ankerich, author of Mae Murray: The Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips

"Author Morgan does meticulous work, not only about all the strangeness surrounding Todd's death, but the actresses' slow, steady and mostly unsatisfying climb." —New York Social Diary

"a great read, and also timely." —Huffington Post

“Morgan presents a biography sure to appeal to fans of Hollywood’s Golden Era rich in significant details about Todd’s life and aimed at ending speculation about the death of this versatile actress.” —Booklist

“A truly exceptional and impressively researched biography that reads as smoothly as any riveting suspense novel.”  —The Midwest Book Review

“Morgan digs into the complexities of Thelma's last night, and the events that would follow, with a strong investigative eye.”indieWIRE

Author Biography

Michelle Morgan is the author of The Mammoth Book of Hollywood Scandals, Marilyn’s Addresses, and Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed, which was featured in the Sunday Times magazine, the New York Post, and Harpers Bazaar, among other publications. She has been interviewed on dozens of radio stations and featured on many television programs, including the BBC National News.