Monday, September 18, 2006

DAY 133

After seeing Hollywoodland and reading Hollywood Kryptonite, there was only one thing left to do: go see George Reeves' house. So that's what we did today.

George Reeves was killed in the bedroom of the house his lover, Toni Mannix, bought for him. The picture on the left shows the upstairs bedroom window (which the murder likely used to escape). That house is located at 1579 Benedict Canyon in Beverly Hills -- not too far from E's and my favorite Sunday morning bagel place so we headed over there right after breakfast. This might seem a bit morbid (because it is) but E and I accidentally had our first date at a crime scene so now it's kind of a thing for us. We actually started our first date at a bar called Firefly but it filled up quickly on a Friday night so I suggested a little Italian place near my new apartment in Studio City: Vitello's. So we go over to Vitello's and we keep thinking the name is so familiar... when it hits us that Robert Blake killed his wife there (allegedly). How romantic! Right? Well, it was definitely an ice breaker. But I digress. Back to Reeves.

Having finished the the book, I am pretty sure Toni Mannix had George killed. E concurs. She's the only one with motivation. Think about it: she's in her late 50's, her looks are gone, she's in an unhappy marriage, her whole life has been Reeves for the last decade and he ditches her for a pretty young actress. She starts making hang up phone calls to his house. She kidnaps his dog (and apparently killed it). The brake fluid was drained from his car (causing a significant accident). And then when he announces he's marrying said actress (Leonore Lemmon) and is about to jet off for an extended honeymoon, boom! He kills himself? With a house full of people? I don't think so. I think Toni (who had lots of mob ties through her ruffian husband, Eddie Mannix) made a call to have a hit. After all, at 4:30 in the morning (when the police were calling in the crime) Toni was calling a friend to say that George had been killed. How could she possibly know that? It's a clear case of: "If I can't have him nobody can." And that Leonore woman will look like the murderess and spend the rest of her days in prison. Only that Leonore woman said it was a suicide. Ooops. That really messed things up.

This particular theory accounts for the extra bullet holes in the bedroom floor. The hit man comes in, he fires at the ground to make it look like a struggle, then he shoots George in the head. Leonore goes upstairs, sees George murdered. Knows she will be the prime suspect and spends the next 45 minutes (that's how long it took her to call the police) covering up the extra bullet hole with an area rug and getting her story together with the other occupants of the house. If she'd done the deed herself the other house guests would surely have turned her in at some point. If it were a suicide, there wouldn't have been extra bullet holes in the floor and a rug covering them up. There probably wouldn't have been a bullet casing under George's body either. And maybe, just maybe, George wouldn't have been planning a honeymoon if all he wanted was to die. And why didn't Leonore just say somebody else must've been in the house? Because she was afraid Toni would kill her too. And what does a scared girl do? Flee across the country. Which is exactly what Leonore did. She ran. And she stuck to her story.

Here's a nifty map to celebrity crime scenes, if you're interested in visiting some.

photo source

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