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Who Was Elizabeth Short?

Beth Short

Born July 29, 1924, in Hyde Park, Mass., Beth Short was daughter of Phoebe and Cleo Short. They soon moved to Medford, Mass.

Her legal name was Elizabeth Short (no middle name). While a child, many called her Betty, and as she matured, she preferred to be called Beth.

In 1929, Cleo disappeared, many believing he had committed suicide, as his empty car was found near a bridge. He later sent a letter to his wife, apologizing for leaving. Phoebe refused to allow him to return.

Beth matured quickly. She grew up to become a beautiful teenager - she looked older and more sophisticated than others her age.

As a child, Beth frequently attended movies with her mother. And later, the girl's goal was to work in movies.

At age 19, Beth ventured to Vallejo, Calif., to live with her father. The stay did not last long, however. Her father asked her to leave because he said she was lazy and stayed out late.

Near Santa Barbara was Beth's next stop. It was here where she was arrested for underage drinking. After her arrest and fingerprinting, police instructed the young woman to return home to Medford.

At one time she had gone home for a visit, but Beth was determined to be in movies, and returned to Hollywood.

It was mid-January, 1947, when Beth was last seen alive at the Biltmore Hotel. It was reported that she was to meet a gentleman. After leaving the hotel, she was never again seen alive.

Her body was found, severed, in the Crenshaw District January 15, 1947.

Rumors vs. Fact

Probably the biggest problem with the case knowledge today is the lack of evidence, and lack of openness when it comes to describing Elizabeth Short's life. As we gain more information, we'll be posting more about who Elizabeth Short was, and the possible reasons (there are hundreds of rumors) of why someone would want to kill her.

What We Know

Beth Short was a wannabe actress who fled to California to make a go of it. She had a genital defect that rendered her incapable of having standard intercourse. Nonetheless, she was a beautiful girl and so young when she was murdered.

We know that Beth Short frequented nightspots in California, and that over time, she may have been able to develop more fully as a woman.

We even have speculations as to her killer.

Rumors and Speculations

  • Elizabeth Short knew Marilyn Monroe.
  • Elizabeth Short loved servicemen.
  • Elizabeth Short had an affair with George Knowlton, father of Janice Knowlton, the author of Daddy Was the Black Dahlia Killer.
  • The young woman often dressed in all black, and attempted to woo various types of men.

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The Black Dahlia Web Site is Pamela Hazelton. All Rights Reserved. Last update: February 13, 2009.