Murder Mystery Cast of Characters

Polly Adler


One of the most successful owners of a brothel business in New York - The Majestic at 215 West 75th Street.  This brothel was the preferred late-night attraction, for many gangsters, including, “Lucky” Luciano and Dutch Schultz, as well as, Mayor John James Walker.  To keep her business thriving, Polly paid off the police, City Officials and local Judges, and she was under the protection of Dutch Schultz.  Polly was a star witness for the Seabury Commission which brought down Mayor Jimmy Walker.  It has been rumored, that the New York State Supreme Court justice Joseph Force Crater, died in her brothel. After being arrested for the 16th time for maintaining a House of Prostitution, Polly served a sentence of hard labor.


Roscoe Arbuckle


American silent film actor, comedian, director, and screenwriter. He mentored Charlie Chaplin and was one of the most popular silent stars with Mabel Normand, and soon became one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood. Arbuckle was the defendant in three widely publicized trials for the manslaughter of actress Virginia Rappe. Rappe had fallen ill at a party hosted by Arbuckle and died four days later. Following the trials, his films were banned and he was publicly ostracized. He died suddenly in his sleep.


Paul Bern


Film director, screenwriter and producer.  He helped to launch the career of Jean Harlow, whom he married. Two months later, he was found dead of a gunshot wound.  The scene had been staged to look like a suicide, although during the investigation, Paul appeared to have been a victim of murder.  Many believed that he was killed by his ex-common law wife Dorothy Millette.  The only witness to the killer, was a limousine driver, who said he saw a woman in a black dress, running from the scene.


Al Capone


American gangster and Boss of the Chicago Outfit. Hunted down by Eliot Ness and prosecuted for tax evasion in 1931.  He stayed successful by paying off mayor William Hale Thompson and the City police.  He used his courier, Virginia Hill, girlfriend of Bugsy Siegel, to do this.  Al is accused of murdering Crime Boss James "Big Jim" Colosimo Ex-husband of Victoria Moresco who is the Aunt of Johnny Torrio


.

Charlie Chaplin


Comic actor, filmmaker, and composer, and is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the film industry. He was mentored by Roscoe Arbuckle, and often served as the leading man in films by Mabel Normand. Charlie was well revered by many in the industry, except for the fiancee of Virginia Rappe.  Charlie was rumoured to have an affair with Marion Davies, girlfriend of William Randolph Hearst, and was on Hearst’s yacht when Thomas Harper Ince was ‘shot’.  Charlie was close friends with Mack Sennett, Executive Producer


James "Big Jim" Colosimo


Mafia crime boss built a criminal empire in Chicago based on prostitution, gambling, and racketeering. He gained power through petty crime and by heading a chain of brothels. He led a gang that became known after his death as the Chicago Outfit. Al Capone, a henchman for Johnny Torrio, allegedly was directly involved in his murder.  When prohibition went into effect in 1920, Torrio pushed for the gang to enter into bootlegging, but Colosimo stubbornly refused. Just before his death, Colosimo deserted Victoria Moresco and left Chicago.  


Judge Joseph Force Crater


was a New York State Supreme Court Justice who vanished mysteriously amid political scandal.  A close friend of Mayor James John Walker, his disappearance fueled public disquiet about New York City corruption.  It is rumored that he was found dead in a hidden corridor, in a brothel owned by Polly Adler, after befriending Lucky Luciano and Dutch Schultz.  


Marion Davies


Film actress, producer, and screenwriter.  She had a romantic relationship with newspaper tycoon, William Randolph Hearst, who took over took over management of her career. She was known for hosting lavish events for the Hollywood elite. Hearst was extremely jealous and possessive of her, even though he was married throughout their relationship.  Davies was among those aboard Hearst's luxury yacht for a weekend party that resulted in the death of film producer Thomas Ince. Rumor is that Davies had an alleged relationship with Charlie Chaplin, which led to Ince's accidental shooting by a jealous Hearst. Marion Davies loaned Hearst 1 million dollars after his financial collapse.  At his death, Marion owned 51% of his estate, but died a painful death soon after.  


.

Peg Entwistle


Stage and screen actress for Roscoe Arbuckle.  She worked closely with Charlie Chaplin.  Entwistle jumped to her death from the "H" on the Hollywoodland sign at the age of 24.  An anonymous woman telephoned the Los Angeles police and said that while hiking she had found a woman's shoe, purse and jacket below the Hollywoodland sign (now known as the Hollywood Sign). The woman said she looked in the purse and found a suicide note. She then said she looked down the mountain and saw a body. According to a police transcript of the call, the woman said she "wrapped a jacket, shoes and purse in a bundle and laid them on the steps of the Hollywood Police Station." The anonymous woman refused to identify herself. Her death was ruled as suspicious

Vivian Gordon


Prostitute and blackmailer—but her murder led to the downfall of New York Mayor James John Walker.  Besides her killers, the elevator operator was the last person to see Vivian Gordon alive.  She was beaten on the head, strangled with a piece of rope and dragged from a car for an indeterminate amount of time. Her body was dumped in Van Cortland Park. She became what the police would describe as “a woman of many acquaintances” and a scam artist, in the “the blackmail business” and lent money to gangsters. There was speculation that she had been involved with Arnold Rothstein


Jean Harlow


American film actress and sex symbol.  She was married to Paul Bern who was the common law husband of Dorothy Millette.  Jean suffered an untimely death from an unknown illness, at the age of 26


Journalist William Randolph Hearst


American newspaper publisher who built the nation's largest newspaper chain. His paper offered readers lurid stories featuring crime, corruption, graphics, sex, and innuendo. Hearst created a chain of papers and later expanded to magazines, creating the largest newspaper and magazine business in the world.  Hearst became involved in an affair with the popular film actress and comedian Marion Davies. During the night of one of Marion’s lavish parties aboard his yacht, It is rumored that in a fit of jealous rage, Hearst shot and killed Thomas Ince with a bullet meant for Charlie Chaplin. After financial collapse, Marion Davies loaned Hearst 1 million dollars, to which she bequeathed his estate after his untimely death.   


.

Virginia Hill


Organized crime figure. A courier for the Chicago Outfit Crime Family, including, Al Capone, and Johnny Torrio.  She was also famous for being the girlfriend of mobster Bugsy Siegel.  Despite her death being an apparent suicide due to an overdose, it was labeled suspicious due to post mortem bruising around her mouth as well as a lack of a suicide note.  She had been found guilty of tax evasion and according to the media, had made arrangements with Politicians, to sell her knowledge of the Mafia.


Thomas Harper Ince


Silent film producer, director, screenwriter, and actor.  He revolutionized the motion picture industry by creating the first major Hollywood studio facility.   Even though he was the first producer-director and directed most of his early productions, Ince eventually ceased full-time directing to concentrate on producing, and transferring this responsibility to William Desmond Taylor.  Prior to his fatal death, Ince and William Randolph Hearst had been negotiating a deal whereby Hearst would use Ince's studio for filming with Charlie Chaplin.  Hearst invited him for a weekend cruise on his yacht for Ince’s birthday party hosted by Hearsts’ girlfriend, Marion Davies .


Lucky Luciano


Crime Boss -  Luciano took over the drug import operation for kingpin, Arnold Rothstein, when he was murdered.  He was a frequent visitor to a Brothel owned by Polly Adler.  He helped Dutch Schultz, another gangster, in protecting the brothel from police interference. Because of these affiliations, and after years of investigations, Luciano was tried and successfully convicted for compulsory prostitution. He was given a lengthy prison sentence, and was forced to exile himself outside of the United States. Luciano illegally returned to organize the Havana Conference, a collaboration of crime bosses from all over the US, including Bugsy Siegel.  At the conference, Luciano named himself the “boss of all bosses”, It was discovered during this conference, that Bugsy Siegel and his girlfriend Virginia Hill, were skimming money from ‘The Flamingo’ that they were in charge of overseeing its construction. He approached Thelma Todd, and asked to use her restaurant to open a new gambling casino.  Soon after, Luciano died suddenly, after a meeting with a producer, to shoot a film based on Luciano’s life and connections.


Dorothy Millette


Actress and common-law wife of Paul Bern.  It has been rumored that she had killed her estranged husband after receiving a visit from his current love, Jean Harlow.  She was found a few days after Pauls’ Death, floating in the river, soon after his will was read stating that he had left her the rights to his fortune.  Dorothy was found scalped, still wearing her black dress made of expensive material.


Victoria Moresco


Successful Madame and Wife of Big Jim Colosimo. Aunt of Johnny Torrio, Al Capones main henchmen. She was the leader of Chicago's White Slave Ring, which kidnapped gypsies and young immigrants to force them into prostitution for her brothels.  One of her captors escaped and ran to police, but was tracked down by Torrio, and never seen again.  Victoria is the prime suspect of her husbands death.  


Mabel Normand


Silent film actress, screenwriter, director, and producer. She was a popular star and collaborator of her boyfriend, Mack Sennett. She appeared in successful films with Charlie Chaplin and Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, sometimes writing and directing featuring Chaplin as her leading man. Throughout her career, her name was linked with widely publicized scandals, including the murder of William Desmond Taylor. Taylor was deeply in love with Normand, and on the night of Taylor’s murder, Normand left his bungalow, carrying a book he had lent her. Normand was the last person known to have seen Taylor alive, and the Police subjected her to a grueling interrogation but ruled her out as a suspect.  Her film career drastically declined, and she died suddenly.


Detective Roy Olmstead


Bootlegger.  One of the most successful and best-known in the Pacific Northwest region during Prohibition. A former lieutenant in the Seattle Police Department, he began to bootleg part-time while still on the force. Following his arrest for that crime, he lost his job in law enforcement and turned to illegally importing and distributing alcohol from Canada as a full-time and highly profitable occupation. Olmstead would pay the police and city officials regularly to keep their mouths shut. Suspicion arose by Eliot Ness, and Olmstead was caught and convicted to four years of labor.  Many law enforcers in the Bureau of Prohibition and at the state and local level, were corrupt and took briberies. Detective Olmstead was the lead investigator in the death of Roma Skink.


Rocco Perri


organized crime figure, from Ontario Canada.  He was one of the most prominent and violent Calabrian mafiosi bosses in Canadian history, and the spouse of Besha Starkman (also known as Bessie Perri), who was gunned down in Roccos garage. He specialized in exporting liquor from old Canadian distilleries, and was known for working with corrupt American Law Enforcement such as Roy Olmstead.  He disappeared without a trace and his body has never been found.




Virginia Rappe


Model and Silent Film Actress. She received fame after her role in The Isle of Love, opposite Rudolph Valentino.  There, she met and became engaged to Director and Producer, Henry Lehrman. He was notorious for his low regard toward actors, especially,  Charlie Chaplin.  His willingness to place his actors in dangerous situations earned him the nickname "Mr. Suicide."   Without her fiancee, Virginia attended a party at the Overlook Hotel, with Roscoe Arbuckle.  She fell ill in his room and died four days later.  It was alleged that she died as a result of a violent assault by Arbuckle.  He was tried three times without conviction in the role of her death.  


Arnold Rothstein


Racketeer, Businessman and Gambling addict.  He became a kingpin of the Jewish mob in New York City, and was a loanshark to Vivian Gordon. Rothstein was widely reputed to conspiring to fix the 1918 World Series, by paying off players for the Chicago Cubs to ‘throw’ the game.  Babe Ruth pitched an easy shutout and the Boston Red Socks won.  Rothstein had a wide network of informants, very deep pockets, and the willingness to pay a premium for good information, regardless of the source. His successes made him a millionaire.  Rothstein mentored Lucky Luciano and Dutch Schultz, and came to dominate the industry, even .  Rothstein was eventually murdered.  Rumour says that he refused to pay a large debt to the mob, but investigators suggest that Schultz murdered Rothstein in retaliation. His empire was broken up and distributed among a number of other mob organization, including Bugsy Siegel.


Babe Ruth


American Baseball player.  Friends with Organized crime figure, Arnold Rothstein.  Led the Boston Red Sox to the World Series the same year as Rothstein was accused of paying off the Chicago Cubs to ‘throw’ the game.  Ruth was traded the following year to the NY Yankees.  In between seasons, Babe Ruth was a frequent visitor to the thermal baths in Hot Springs, Arkansas; the scene of a major industry of recreation that attracted a variety of Mob Bosses, including Al Capone, an avid Cubs fan.  In Babe Ruth was struck will illness and died soon after.  


.

Dutch Schultz


New York City Mobster.  Dutch made his fortune in organized crime-related activities, including bootlegging and the numbers racket. He was a frequent visitor and protector with Lucky Luciano, to a Brothel owned by Polly Adler.  Weakened by two trials, overseen by Judge Joseph Force Crator, Schultz's rackets were also threatened by fellow mobster Lucky Luciano. In an attempt to avert his conviction, Schultz asked the Commission for permission to kill, which they refused. When Schultz disobeyed them and made an attempt to kill anyway, the Commission ordered his murder. Dutch Schultz was shot at his new headquarters.


Mack Sennett


Director and Actor.  Many actors became major stars under the direction of Sennett, including Carol Lombard, Mabel Normand, Charles Chaplin, and Roscoe Arbuckle.  Sennett created Keystone pictures, and partnered with Thomas Ince, a very powerful figure in the film industry.  Sennett's studio did not survive the Great Depression and he was forced into bankruptcy. Sennett was severely injured in a freak automobile accident soon after.


Bugsy Siegel


Mobster. Siegel was known as one of the most "infamous and feared gangsters of his day".  He was the driving force behind the development of the Las Vegas Strip. Siegel was one of the founders and leaders of Murder, Inc. and became a bootlegger during Prohibition. His time as a mobster (although he eventually ran his own operations) was mainly as a hitman and muscle, as he was noted for his prowess with guns and violence. Bugsy was given his own operation, after the death of Arnold Rothstein.  He handled the development of the Flamingo Hotel and took over the final stages of construction with his girlfriend, Virginia Hill. Siegel was accused of skimming funds from the construction of the Flamingo.  He was shot dead at the Beverly Hills home of his girlfriend, Virginia Hill


Roma Skint


Gypsy.  Maid of the Overlook Hotel.  Roma immigrated to the Hudson Valley, during Prohibition, to seek a new life and opportunity for wealth.  She was a mastermind and manipulator.  Roma was known for her skilled ability to maneuver through the dark corridors giving her the ability to watch, learn and listen, without being noticed.  As the main housekeeper, Roma had access to all guests’ rooms at the Hotel, including their secrets.  Some of these secrets weren’t discovered until New Year’s Day in 2017, when her hidden safe was found under some debris.  She was murdered at the Hotel in 1921; with her dying breath, she cursed all of the event attendees and their bloodlines.  For they would know the wrath of misfortune until her killer is revealed.


.

Bessie Starkman


Underboss, Businesswoman, Bootlegger.  A few months after renting a room from Rocco Perri, Bessie abandoned her husband, children, and religion, to live “in sin” with Rocco; they soon settled in Ontario Canada, They created an empire, specializing in exporting liquor from old Canadian distilleries, and was known for working with corrupt American Law Enforcement such as Roy Olmstead. Bessie was considered the “financial brain’ and ‘true power’ of the Rocco Perri crime family.  Rocco disappeared without a trace and Bessie was shot down as she stood in her garage  No one has ever been convicted


William Desmond Taylor


Director and Actor. He was a popular figure in the Hollywood motion-picture colony, so well respected, that Thomas Ince transferred his company to Taylor.  Taylor's body was found inside his bungalow. Although the on-site investigation by a mysterious Doctor, found nothing, it was later revealed that he had been shot in the back with a small-caliber pistol, which was not found at the scene.  In Taylor's pocket, investigators found a locket bearing a photograph of actress Mabel Normand.  On the night of his murder, Normand left Taylor's bungalow, carrying a book he had lent her. Normand was the last person known to have seen Taylor alive.  Taylor's murder led to a frenzy of sensationalist and often fabricated newspaper reports, at the writings of William Randolph Hearst. The murder remains an official cold case.


Thelma Todd


Actress.  Appearing in about 120 pictures, she is best remembered for her comedic roles in films from the Marx Brothers'.  Thelma and her lover, Roland West, opened the Todd cafe, located on the Pacific Coast Highway.  She was approached by Lucky Luciano, and asked if he could open an illegal gambling circuit on the 2nd floor.  She spit in his face and flatly refused.  Thelma Todd was found dead in her car inside the garage of her business partner, West.  Her death was originally ruled a suicide, but investigation showed she had been beaten, prior to her death.  Roland died of a nervous breakdown in seclusion


.

Jack “The Shining” Torrence


Owner of the Overlook Hotel.  Jack was a wealthy writer whose alcoholism, sexual appetite and volatile temper cost him his position and nearly ended his marriage to Wendy Torrance. He purchased the isolated Overlook Hotel, in the hopes that by socializing with the rich and famous, he could escape his violent past and silence the voices and hallucinations in his head.  During prohibition, Jack moved his family into the Overlook.  At first, it seemed to be just what the family needed to heal.  Jack was considered to be the most ruthless businessman amongst his peers.  Jack would do anything to remain in the spotlight and would turn a blind eye to the illegal activities that occurred in his hotel.  It is rumoured, that Wendy knew about his affair with Roma, although it could never be proven.  This act would have been looked down upon, by the Hollywood elite - that someone wealthy, would consort with a penniless servant.


Wendy Torrence


Wife of Jack “The Shining” Torrence, and co-owner of the Overlook Hotel.  Wendy entered adulthood with one of the most compelling ‘Rags to Riches’ stories of all time.  She started as a homeless servant for the owner of a prestigious NY writing firm.  While she was there, she learned the art of structural landscaping.  With her intricate knowledge of mixing non-traceable insecticides, She was able to transform the most barren wasteland into extravagant and luscious gardens, used on famous movie sets.  At the writing firm, she met and married, Jack Torrence.  Although he had a tendency towards violence and torrid affairs, Wendy was able to overlook his flaws.  Afterall, he was rich, had famous friends, and she would make sure, she would never be homeless again.     


Johnny Torrio


Mobster.  Nephew of Victoria Moresco, the wife and business partner of "Big Jim" Colosimo, who had become the owner of more than 100 brothels in Chicago..  He helped build the criminal empire known as the Chicago Outfit that was later inherited by his protégé, Al Capone. During prohibition, Torrio became a ruthless bootlegger, against the wishes of his boss, “Big Jim Colosimo.  After the murder of Colosimo, Torrio took over the Empire.  Torrio engaged in a number of businesses, using Mob courier, Virginia Hill, including a bail bond operation co-owned by Dutch Schultz.  Torrio died suddenly in a barber chair, although the press was not notified until 3 weeks after his death.


.

James John Walker


Mayor of New York City.  A politician, but was forced to resign during his corruption scandal.  Instead of ending his visits to the speakeasies and his friendships with chorus girls, he took those activities behind the closed doors. It is a noted aspect of his career as mayor and as a member of the State Senate that Walker was strongly opposed to Prohibition. As mayor, he discouraged the police from enforcing Prohibition law. His romantic affairs were widely known.  Walker's fortunes turned downward with the economy after the stock-market crash.  Increasing social unrest led to investigations into corruption and he was eventually forced to testify before the Seabury Commission. One surprise witness in the Seabury investigation was Vivian Gordon. After her testimony, Gordon was suspiciously found strangled to death in a park in the Bronx. That demonstrated to New Yorkers that corruption could lead to terrible consequences and that Walker might ultimately, in some way, be responsible for her death.  He died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage.


Comments