Career law-enforcement investigator, Jack Egger was one of the last witnesses to see Elizabeth “Black Dahlia” Short alive. In 2003 Egger, then Chief Investigator for Warner Bros. Studio, positively identified a photograph of Dr. George Hill Hodel as being the man who was with Elizabeth Short and escorted her to a CBS radio show in Hollywood, just days before her murder.
July 27, 1927 – March 3, 2010
Los Angeles, California
It was only yesterday that I learned of the passing of one of the Black Dahlia’s most important original witnesses- John F. “Jack” Egger. Jack died here in Los Angeles on March 3, 2010. He was 82.
Jack was an important witness to my follow-up investigation and in December, 2003 positively identified a photograph of my father, Dr. George Hill Hodel as being the man who escorted Elizabeth Short to an airing of the Jack Carson Radio Show in Hollywood in January, 1947, just days prior to her murder.
Copies of the original DA documents in my possession contain Jack Egger’s February 1950 transcribed-interview wherein he describes the unidentified man he saw accompanying Elizabeth Short. It was January, 1947, and Jack was a 19-year-old, usher at the CBS Studio, on Sunset Blvd., in Hollywood. The “dapper man in his early Forties” showed Egger a “Chicago police badge” and Jack permitted the attractive couple to jump the long line and admitted them to Studio A to see the Jack Carson show. (Egger in his original 1950 police interview stated he had seen Elizabeth Short attend the radio shows dozens of times before, but always alone.)
CBS Studio at Sunset & Gower where then 19-year-old usher, Jack Egger escorted “Chicago police officer”, George Hodel & Elizabeth Short to Studio A to see the Jack Carson radio show in January 1947.
Excerpted 2003 Investigative Notes on Jack Egger Bio:
Here are some unedited bio notes from my 2003 file on Jack Egger that give us a more personal look into his long and interesting life:
“JE’s background: 76, born 1927. Father was wealthy, insurance business. Father’s company insured the County of Los Angeles before county self-insured. JE’s mother was kind of a stage mother, got him into movies as a kid. When JE was 10 (1937), got a speaking part in Stella Dallas, famous Barbara Stanwyck weepie. Was in a couple of Our Gang films.
His mother was secretary to L.A. DA BURON FITTS. But quit because “she was tired of Fitts chasing her around the desk.”
JE went to Catholic grade school, then Hollywood High. Graduated summer of 1945. Joined Marines, saw tail end of the action on Okinawa.
In October, 1946 went to work as usher at CBS. There until 1948. Says of ES: “I must have seen her (at CBS) 40 or 50 times.” Very beautiful, knockout, pale white skin, black hair, always wore black.”
Unsure whether he joined DA’s office in 1948 or 1949. First job there as process/subpoena server. Spent 4 years there. Worked on bookmaking squad. Then became driver for LA DA ERNIE ROLL. Also had to drive Roll’s wife Juanita. He quit job because Juanita was hitting on him.
JE joined Beverly Hills PD mid-50s. Rose to captain, chief of detectives. 1971 got masters degree at USC. Went to Warner Bros. in 1979, there ever since. Currently chief investigator for 400-man WB security operation.”
Jack Egger up until his death, remained active in the law enforcement community. In recent years he served as a General Board Member of POALAC. (Peace Officers Association Los Angeles County.) A few of his fellow board members were: Lee Baca, Sheriff, L.A. County, William Bratton, Chief LAPD, Steve Cooley, District Attorney, Los Angeles County, Sharon Papa, Assistant Chief, LAPD.
To read my Jack Egger/Elizabeth Short/George Hodel Black Dahlia Investigative Summary from early 2005 draft of MOST EVIL (12 pages) as PDF file, click below link:
Jack Egger obituary below originally published in L.A. Times and Variety Magazine, March 2010
THANK YOU JACK EGGER FOR YOUR DECADES OF DEDICATED SERVICE IN LAW ENFORCEMENT TO THE CITIZENS OF BOTH LOS ANGELES AND BEVERLY HILLS.
MAY YOU REST IN PEACE!