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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A Deed of Death: The Story Behind the Unsolved Murder of Hollywood Director William Desmond Taylor (1990) by Robert Giroux

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William Desmond Taylor, actor, director..famous Hollywood murder victim. 

A Deed of Death:
The Story Behind the Unsolved Murder of Hollywood Director William Desmond Taylor (1990)
by Robert Giroux

  The author of A Deed of Death: The Story Behind the Unsolved Murder of Hollyood Director William Desmond Taylor is none other than THE Robert Giroux, of the publishing house Farrar, Straus and Giroux.  Giroux was known for being the top literary editor over the court of his career, where he edited the work of seven Nobel Prize in Literature winners and also edited important books like On the Road by Jack Kerouac.

   And I guess, when he retired he wrote this book about one of Hollywood's most famous unsolved murder mysteries, an early episode in the toxic mix of fame, power and debauchery which would later coalesce under the guise of "tabloid culture."  Taylor was one of silent-era Hollywood's best known directors and at the time of his death he was playing a leading role in the negotiated introduction of censor ship into Hollywood under the Hayes Act.

  I read about this murder in the book I just read about Mabel Normand.  Normand was the last person to see Taylor alive, and Taylor, it was rumored, was obsessed with "rescuing" Mabel from the evils of drug addiction.  Despite his thorough investigation into the facts, Giroux does nothing to combat the perception of Taylor as a famous Hollywood good guy who was likely murdered for his interference with the Hollywood drug trade.

  Giroux ultimately concludes that Taylor fell victim to a "hit man" and that the perpetrators, likely Hollywood drug dealers, were protected from investigation by corrupt law enforcement. 

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