Actress Mara Corday Signed to Play Elizabeth Short in 1953 "Black Dahlia"Film

Seems there is always some new bit of Dahlia related trivia that keeps turning up. Here is something that I was unaware of until just a few weeks ago.  

Thanks for a heads-up e-mail from one of my readers, Marko L., I was able to obtain the original People Today Magazine from March, 1953, on Ebay. [$22.00 up from its original price of 10 cents. *s* See full article below.]

The cover-story announced that model/actress Mara Corday was signed to play the part of Elizabeth Short in the 1953  film “Black Dahlia.” [Obviously, the film was never green-lit or produced.] 

Writing about Mara the article tells us:

She made her debut as one of the blondes gentlemen prefer in the West Coast production of the Anita Loos hit, switched back to her natural brunette because “this way I look just like the real Black Dahlia. That’s vital.”

                                                               People Today, March 25, 1953


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 Though the film was never made, Santa Monica born, Mara Corday “The Earthy Epitome” did go on to have a successful acting career in both film and television. 

Interestingly, her biography has Mara starting out as a dancer in the chorus line at “Earl Carroll’s Revue” in Hollywood, one of the restaurants that the real life Elizabeth Short was known to frequent.

See her IMDB filmography here.

Mara Corday Official Website


December 16, 2011 Update.


In a follow-up e-mail from Marko L. this morning, he linked me to a small paragraph indicating that “producer” Brucks Randell had plead guilty to grand theft in 1955.

Mark’s tip had me do a little more digging which led to this L.A. Times  headline and additional articles from 1953-54.


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Turns out Brocks Randell was a Hollywood scam artist, “Producer” who along with his partner, Glenn Farquhar,  bilked “nine elderly Pasadena “investors” out of $60,00″ for his “Black Dahlia” movie. Randell was arrested for grand-theft and conspiracy, tried, convicted and sent to prison.

For those interested in the details, I include the below articles from the L.A. Times that tell the full story.

I will also attach an article from Heda Hoppers gossip column (1952) where Brucks Randell had Mrs. Bello, sign over the life rights for a film to be made on her daughter, actress, Jean Harlow.

Randell 1.pdf 

Randell 2.pdf 

Randell 3.pdf 

Randell 4.pdf

Randell 5.pdf
Hedda Hopper 1952.pdf 


APRIL 30, 2013- UPDATE

I received the below Email from actress Mara Corday this week and with her permission am here publishing it, Thanks Mara for setting the record straight for us.

From Mara Corday:

Dear Steve,

I read your posting about me regarding the article in People Today magazine circa 1953 and you should know the truth for your “evidence room”.

I never signed anything with Brucks Randell to portray The Black Dahlia nor were those quotes in the article mine. I was under contract to a formidable producer, Hal Wallis, whose offices were at Paramount Studios and this “character” approached me about his proposed film as I was getting into my car. I told him “take the matter up with my employer, Mr. Wallis.” and that was it.

When this article appeared in the magazine, Mr. Wallis immediately got a retraction and we learned later about his arrest for criminal offenses. But not before receiving a death threat in the mail which prompted police surveillance!

There are hundreds of “would-be producers” out there and they’re like piranhas.

I have written an autobiography wherein I explain this incident.


Mara Corday



















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