Life turned tragic for ‘Wonderful Life’ actress

JUST ABOUT EVERYONE has seen the Christmas season movie ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ — probably several times — but not everyone knows the sad story behind one of the young actresses in the film.

Karolyn Grimes, who played James Stewart’s six-year-old daughter Zuzu Bailey in Frank Capra’s 1946 classic, was born in Hollywood, but she will never go back.

When she was 14, her mother died of early onset Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 44. The following year her father was killed in a car crash and Karolyn became an orphan at the age of 15.

She left Hollywood and moved to a small town in Missouri in the care of an uncle and his wife. She went to college there and became a medical technologist.

Tragedy continued to stalk her through the years, the worst being the loss of her youngest son when he took his own life. A few years later her husband died of cancer.

She soldiered on, forever buoyed by the positive spirit of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ But she was all through with Hollywood and acting.

“I realized I didn’t want to go back to Hollywood. It was a shallow, dog-eat-dog world. I didn’t want that in my life.”

Wonderful life actress tragedy
Karolyn Grimes

As for the classic Capra movie: “It’s a scary world out there,” said the former actress, now 81, “and we need a film like ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ now more than ever.”

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Bobby Fuller fought the mob, and the mob won


‘I Fought the Law’ singer Bobby Fuller was murdered and the cause of death covered up in 55-year-old cold case.

On July 18, 1966, rock and roll singer Bobby Fuller’s body was found beat-up and soaked in gasoline in the front seat of his mother’s car outside his Hollywood apartment. He was 23.

The coroner ruled the cause of death a suicide.

Who the hell is going to kill themself by pouring gasoline over their body? A crazed Tibetan monk maybe, but not Bobby Fuller who was riding a wave and on his way to Hall of Fame stardom.

Here’s the kicker: The half-empty gas can that was found in the car — obviously a key piece of evidence — was tossed in a dumpster by the cop at the death scene so it couldn’t be tested for fingerprints and analyzed.


Bobby Fuller death mystery
There goes Exhibit A.

Later, the coroner changed the cause of death to an accident due to asphyxiation of gasoline fumes. That doesn’t explain why Bobby was beaten up and his body covered with scratches and bruises as though he had been dragged across gravel or asphalt.

There are several theories for the death of the still unsolved mystery, but the truth is that Bobby was being tailed by the mob — for several reasons, ranging from payola to drugs to his relationship with a prostitute who “belonged” to a ruthless gangster. So Bobby got whacked, and the cops covered it up for the mob.


Bobby had been murdered some time earlier, decomposition of the body showed. But his mother’s car was not outside his apartment earlier, so he had to have been bumped off in another location and his body driven back to the apartment, where it was soaked in gasoline from the confiscated gas can. The killers intended to torch the vehicle, but something stopped them and they fled. Bobby was dead anyway, so they had done the contract,

“Bobby Fuller was vulnerable by virtue of his honestly and naivety,” said musician Rod Crosby. “He lived on a high plane of idealism and fantasy. He was swept into the maelstrom of rock decadence and was a victim of a ruthless business. Back then, the music business was extremely corrupt, and you either played along or suffered the consequences.”

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After all these years, we’ll never know the truth, but our gut feeling is that Bobby fought the mob and the mob won.

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‘The Outlaw’ outlawed by cleavage


Howard Hughes’ 1943 western ‘The Outlaw’ was initially banned from release by Hollywood censors who demanded parts of the film be cut because of newcomer Jane Russell’s cleavage.

The billionaire movie maker reluctantly removed about half a minute of footage but it wasn’t enough to satisfy the censors. The movie company backed out of the project. Hughes, facing the loss of big bucks, cooked up a scheme.

Using reverse psychology, Hughes created a public outcry for his film to be banned. He had his managers call ministers, women’s clubs and housewives, informing them about the ‘lewd picture’ he was about to release.

The outraged prudes responded by insisting that the movie be banned, which generated the publicity Hughes needed to establish a demand for the film and get it released.

Accordingly, the movie was a box-office hit.

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