The Many Deaths of Dorothy Dell

5ede22d73e5b3a1b109f04159ed12a28As a little girl, future Miss Universe Dorothy Dell was violently attacked by a dog in Mississippi. She only survived because her father killed the dog to save her.

In July 1931, Ziegfeld Showgirl Dorothy was invited to a party on vaudevillian Harry Richman’s yacht, Chevalier II. She declined; another showgirl took her place; the yacht exploded; the alternate showgirl was killed.

In August 1931, Dorothy was severely injured in an automobile accident. She spent two months recovering and almost died when she contracted influenza.

Then she broke a leg, and spent the next several months singing torch songs on the stage from a stool.

On June 7, 1934, Dorothy said, “You know, they say deaths go in cycles of three. First it was Lilyan Tashman, then Lew Cody. I wonder who’ll be next?” 

On June 8, 1934, Dorothy was in the passenger seat of a car driven by Dr. Carl Wagner when the car left the highway, hit a telephone pole, a palm tree, and finally a boulder. She was killed instantly; Wagner died later at the hospital.

Her death was withheld from former co-star and friend Shirley Temple until Temple needed to cry on the set of her latest film.

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The car crash that killed Dorothy Dell.

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