Owing to the mysterious circumstances under which she died at the relatively young age of thirty, Thelma Todd is perhaps more famous today as a victim of the supposed depravity of Hollywood. This interpretation, however, truly misses the point. The former Ms. Massachusetts was in fact a rather lively comedienne who appeared in an impressively high number of pictures in her short career -- IMDb puts the number at 119 -- most of these under the aegis of Hal Roach. She appeared opposite big name comedians such as the Marx brothers and Laurel and Hardy, more often than playing some variation of a vampy sexpot (and doing that quite well, I might add).
Sadly, Thelma was found dead in her car in the garage of another actress, leading to all manner of speculation regarding the circumstances of her untimely demise (for all the juicy details, see wikipedia).
As an aside, I've actually seen a few photos from after Thelma's autopsy. How was it? Mortifying, to say the least. She looked much better alive, as most people tend to do. Why bring this up? Well, it does remind one of the fragility and mutability of youth and beauty, and indeed of life itself. Let us not mourn that such a beauty died; rather, let us thank the stars that such a beauty lived.