Mabel Normand: Vintage Vixen or Murderess Maiden?

Mabel Normand:  Vintage Vixen or Murderess Maiden?

Mabel Normand began modeling for photographers at the tender age of, 15. From modeling she turned to acting on stage, then film. Mabel was a great comedienne and found her niche in slap-stick comedies, next to Charlie Chaplin. She was a pioneer of sorts, in the industry. Mabel was the first woman to be filmed in an airplane, in “A Dash Through the Clouds” (1912). Mabel wrote, directed, and starred in 3 movies and appeared in over 100 2-reel films. Most of them were with Fatty Arbuckle, co-starring. Fatty was no stranger to scandal, being charged with manslaughter and having his films eventually, BANNED! The old saying goes, “birds of a feather, flock together” and Mabel and Fatty were thick as thieves. Mabel picked up a nasty cocaine/opiate /alcohol, habit. She tried pulling her life together, especially with her new lover, director William Desmond Taylor. The two had been friends and he was helping her battle her addictions, but Mabel proved irresistible. She was also having a love affair with a young starlet, at the time. In 1922, shots rang out. When police arrived, they found big-time film bosses had beat them to the punch. They were burning documents in Taylor’s fireplace and the instantly recognizable film star, Mabel was rummaging through his desk. The police suspected Normand of the murder, but no charges were filed. They had also suspected Mabel’s pushy, stage-mom, as well. But, mama bribed 3 district attorneys to “keep her name outta it”! The scandal tarnished her career a little, but soon, it was over for Mabel and movies. The following year Normand’s chauffeur shot an oil broker, worth millions with Mabel’s pistol. he believed the man was keeping Mabel, against her will and shot him, non-lethally. The decline of Normand’s career and her health (due to hard-living), took their toll. At age 37, Mabel Normand passed away from TB. In 1964, an actress who worked with Taylor made death bed, confession to his murder. It wasn’t Mabel who killed, William. Why all the secrecy, we may never know!

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