Jan 9, 1947 "Black Dahlia" sighting by Biltmore Hotel Doorman- Fact or Fiction?

 November 1, 2010

I awakened this morning and a check of my e-mail IN BOX showed this query from a reader:

“Mr. Hodel:

I read in the L.A. Times this morning that Elizabeth Short wasn’t seen leaving the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel by the doorman, and that it was all just made up. Is this true? I thought in your book you said she was seen leaving the hotel?”

                                                                                         Carole D., Glendale

Ms. D was referencing a blog entry by copy-editor, Larry Harnisch dated today, where he dismisses the original story as a myth. In his blog, Harnisch writes:

 “I always have my eye out for stories about doormen at the Biltmore after researching the often-repeated myth about the “noble doorman” at the hotel, tipping his cap and opening the door for the Black Dahlia when she disappeared in 1947.”

Harnisch then goes on to tell his readers:                      

“In fact, this story doesn’t appear anywhere in the original news coverage or in any official documents I have ever examined. It seems to have been invented by Jack Webb for “The Badge”….


Myth or Fact?  For The Record-

While I cannot speak to the “tipping of his hat” I can say that Mr. Harnisch is again, misinforming his readers. (He also claimed that the reported burn marks on Elizabeth Short’s body were a myth. They were NOT and I published the photograph to prove it.)


Further, I have a copy of the documentation from Lt. Jemison’s  “District Attorney – Black Dahlia Case files.” 

The witness, Mr. Harold Studholme, was not the doorman, but rather the Biltmore Hotel’s Bell Captain. (Close enough for government work.)   

He was interviewed by LAPD and gave a formal statement as to seeing a figure outside the Olive Street door wave to the victim through the window. He placed the time at approximately 10:00 P.M. The bell captain then saw Elizabeth Short get up and exit through the glass door and walk south on Olive St.  

(This would be heading in the direction of both Baron Ernst von Harringa’s art gallery located just a few hundred feet south of the Biltmore in the Oviatt Building and also in the direction of Dr. George Hodel’s private medical office, located two blocks south at 7th & Flower. Baron von Harringa is the man that George Hodel is speaking to on the the DA tapes where he tells him, “Supposin’ I did kill the Black Dahlia. They can’t prove it now. They can’t talk to my secretary because she’s dead.” (Ruth Spaulding))

 Excerpt from BDA describing the Bell Capatain’s report to LAPD as documented in DA Files.

Biltmore doorman 1.jpg 

 Biltmore doorman 2.jpg


 A second email, from my old partner, and good friend, Bill J., who informed me of the accidental death of a witchy woman who was “texting while flying.” Very sad, but some accidents are to be expected due to heavy traffic on Halloween Night.



  1. Bridgit on September 13, 2023 at 1:48 am

    Was she also spotted at the Crown Grill Cocktail Lounge, shortly after leaving The Biltmore? I’ve read patrons spotted her there, including a bartender, but that she was alone. Can you confirm this for me?

  2. Steve Hodel on September 13, 2023 at 8:24 am

    She was seen by fourteen witnesses every day of that so called “Missing Week” the last being LAPD officer Meryl McBride on January 14th, the eve of her murder. All documented in my books. Seven of the witnesses KNEW HER and could not have been mistaken. https://stevehodel.com/2022/01/14/today-is-the-75th-anniversary-of-kidnap-murder-of-elizabeth-black-dahlia-short-myth-busting-the-missing-week/

    • Bridgit on September 13, 2023 at 5:13 pm

      Thank you so much for getting back to me! This is very helpful! Thank you for the link!

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