September 1, 1947
Yesterday, Marguerite Kelly’s apartment door, at 1334 Olive Drive just off the Sunset Strip, was framed with fragrant honeysuckle. Today, the County Coroner defaced it with a sticker meant to seal the contents until her next of kin could be notified.
Marguerite, 29, was a blues chanteuse who never quite made it. After seven years in Hollywood, her small trust fund was nearly depleted and occasional cafe gigs weren’t replenishing it. Her longtime friend Charles T. Young, 59-year-old retired market exec, took her out to fancy dinners, but seemed disinterested in making things more permanent. She began making notes to herself, analyzing her sad situation.
So after one such evening out with Mr. Young, Marguerite topped off the champagne cocktails with a shot of gas from the stove. Arriving the next morning, Young smelled rotten eggs mixed with the floral vines. With the aid of apartment manager W.J. Ferry, he forced the triple-locked and bolted door.
Inside lay Marguerite, nude, tangled in her blankets, nearly dead. Beside her, a note to Young, calling him the greatest man in the world. It begged “don’t cut my hair, just cremate me.”
Young expressed surprise that his ladyfriend had felt so strongly for him, and suggested that had he known, he might have done something about it. Too late now. She died and was taken to Utter-McKinley mortuary.
Marguerite has a sister in Milwaukee who may come and claim her sheet music and other remnants of life in Los Angeles.
Suggested reading: Hollywood Babylon : The Legendary Underground Classic of Hollywood’s Darkest and Best Kept Secrets