Thelma Todd was a slapstick comedian, known as "The Ice Cream Blonde'' and "Hot Toddy." When she wasn't sharing the screen with Buster Keaton and the Marx Brothers, Todd prepared for her second act. Pooling her resources with her married lover, director Roland West, they opened Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Cafe on the Pacific Coast Highway in 1934. It was a hit until the night of Todd's tragic death. Historian Hadley Meares describes the pricey menu, private club, some shady clientele, and the questionable theories surrounding Todd's passing.
She wasn't the only Hollywood celebrity who went into the restaurant business at the time. Director Preston Sturges, known for "Sullivan's Travels" and "The Lady Eve," opened Snyder's Cafe on the Sunset Strip in 1937. Three years later in the shadow of The Chateau Marmont, Sturges cut the ribbon on The Players. In the last 80 years, the space has changed ownership to become The Roxbury, Miyagi's, and its current iteration, Pink Taco.