Shelved Dolls – Elizabeth “The Black Dahlia” Short – It’s Not The Murder Story You Think You Know (But It Is Terrifying And NSFW)

But it’s more commonly said that she picked up the nickname because she loved a movie called The Blue Dahlia. The movie, interestingly, which is still shown on TCM from time to time, is a thriller about a woman who may (or may not) have drunkenly killed her sexually intimidating date. I won’t extrapolate too much about Elizabeth’s feelings, but I will say that is in the Thelma and Louise vein, and is a movie to watch if you happen to be feeling fairly angry at men.

She also had a rose tattooed onto her thigh. Acquaintances said that she loved to wear high cut, or high slit, dresses and flash it to passerbys. It’s uncertain whether or not that part of the story was true (or if it just went along with tales of her sexy sexiness) but she was found with a gash on her leg where the tattoo had supposedly been carved out. You can see where it was located in this absolutely terrible picture:

But The Black Rose does not trip off the tongue as well, and certainly doesn’t have the same movie connection.

I think Elizabeth probably would have liked the movie connection. She never did make it in the movies. In 2003 there was a Dateline special that thought they identified her off of some stock footage, which reported:

It’s VJ Day, 1945. The Second World War is over and Hollywood Boulevard, the main drag of the movie capital, is one big party. Look closely at these home movies and you’ll see a famous face. We’re not 100 percent surebut that dark-haired girl about to kiss the sailor seems to be the Black Dahlia, the soon-to-be victim in perhaps the most sensational unsolved murder in American history.

That is as close as anyone can find to an actual clip of her in a movie. But she was soon to become the most famous actress in the world.


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    • Chelsea

      Have you seen the Sissi movies? They are the opposite of her life. But the costumes were nice! LOL

    • Maggie

      Oh dear god, your ending gave me goosebumps!

    • Sarah!

      Steve Hodel wrote a couple of books about his dad maybe doing this. They are extremely interesting but you have to kind of suspend your disbelief in order to get into them. Especially the second one where he implicates his father in like, 45 of the most famous murder cases of the last 60 years.

    • BeccaTheCyborg

      My suspect of choice is Frank Sweeney, a former doctor who almost certainly committed the Cleveland Torso Murders, and was in LA at the time.

    • Sabrina

      This was fascinating! So basically, do they not even have an idea of why someone would have wanted to murder her? No secret lovers, no super bad something with her dad? Her life seems pretty unextraordinary for a murder this brutal.

    • Laura

      I love, love, love the Shelved Dolls feature! I’ve already obsessively read about all the women you’ve profiled, yet I still learn something new every time. Can’t WAIT for the Sisi article!

    • Em

      You should do Sisi, definitely. I’m in the middle of her (poorly translated) biography, and she’s really interesting. Also, bought Mitford’s Pompadour bio after reading your take on her. I really like this series of yours!

    • Matzukado

      I absolutely did NOT click on the page with the picture (my psyche is far too fragile) but I just wanted to say that as someone who has had a passing interest in this case, this article added an extra dimension that I never knew about. I’m realling enjoying this series, thanks for writing it.