Elizabeth Short

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Elizabeth Short's Geni Profile

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Elizabeth Short

Also Known As: "Bette", "Beth", "Black Dahlia"
Birthplace: Boston, MA, USA
Death: Died in Los Angeles, CA, USA
Cause of death: homicide: Hemorrhage + Shock, Concussion of the brain and lacerations of the face
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Cleo Alvin Short and Phoebe May Short
Fiancée of Major Matthew Michael Gordon Jr
Sister of Dorothea Short; Eleanora Short; Muriel Short and Virginia Mae Short

Occupation: Aspiring actress
Managed by: Gene
Last Updated:

About Elizabeth Short

"She was a very affectionate, sweet girl and if she was out at night she always stopped in my bedroom to talk. And she would talk and talk and tell everything that she had done and everything." ~Phoebe Short (Mother)

From Wikipedia (English):

"The Black Dahlia" was a nickname given to Elizabeth Short (July 29, 1924 – c. January 15, 1947), an American woman who was the victim of a gruesome and much-publicized murder. Short acquired the moniker posthumously by newspapers in the habit of nicknaming crimes they found particularly lurid. Short was found mutilated, her body sliced in half at the waist, on January 15, 1947, in Leimert Park, Los Angeles, California. Short's unsolved murder has been the source of widespread speculation, leading to many suspects, along with several books and film adaptations of the story. Short's murder is one of the oldest unsolved murder cases in Los Angeles history.

Early Life

Elizabeth Short was born in Boston; she grew up and lived in the suburb of Medford, Massachusetts. She was the third of five daughters of Cleo Short and Phoebe Mae Sawyer. Her father built miniature golf courses until the 1929 stock market crash, in which he lost much of the family's assets. In 1930, he parked his car on a bridge and vanished,[5] leading some to believe he had committed suicide. Short's mother moved the family to a small apartment in Medford and found work as a bookkeeper. It was not until later that Short would discover her father was alive and living in California.

Troubled by asthma and bronchitis, Short was sent to live for the winter in Miami at the age of 16. She spent the next three years living there during the cold months and in Medford the remainder of the year. At age 19, Short travelled to Vallejo, California, to live with her father, who was working nearby at Mare Island Naval Shipyard on San Francisco Bay. They moved to Los Angeles in early 1943, but an altercation resulted in her leaving there and finding work in the post exchange at Camp Cooke (now Vandenberg Air Force Base), near Lompoc, California. Short next moved to Santa Barbara, where she was arrested on September 23, 1943, for underage drinking. Following her arrest, she was sent back to Medford by the juvenile authorities in Santa Barbara. Short then returned to Florida to live, with occasional visits to Massachusetts.

In Florida, Short met Major Matthew Michael Gordon, Jr., a decorated United States Army Air Force officer who was assigned to the 2nd Air Commando Group and in training for deployment to China Burma India Theater of Operations. Short told friends that Gordon wrote her a letter from India proposing marriage while he was recovering from injuries sustained from an airplane crash. She accepted his proposal, but Gordon died in a second airplane crash on August 10, 1945, before he could return to the United States.

Elizabeth Short returned to Los Angeles in July 1946 to visit Army Air Force Lieutenant Joseph Gordon Fickling, an old boyfriend she had met in Florida during the war. At the time Short returned to Los Angeles, Fickling was stationed at NARB, Long Beach. For the six months prior to her death, Short remained in southern California, mainly in the Los Angeles area.

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Elizabeth Short's Timeline

July 29, 1924
Boston, MA, USA
December 31, 1944
Age 20

Short's playgirl lifestyle changes when she meets Matt Gordon, who stood out from the testosterone horde, a major with the Flying Tigers.

August 14, 1945
Age 21

Short had finally stops worrying that Matt will be killed in combat. Instead she fantasizes about her upcoming nuptials. News reaches her that Matt has been killed.

November 13, 1946
- December 15, 1946
Age 22
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Short lives in a cramped two-bedroom apartment in Hollywood with eight other young women.

January 8, 1947
Age 22

seven days before the murder, Fickling receives a letter from Short. In it, she tells him she is moving to Chicago, where she hopes to become a fashion model.

January 9, 1947
Age 22
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Manley drives her to Los Angeles and helps her check her luggage at the bus station. She tells him she is going to Berkeley to stay with her sister, whom she is meeting at the Biltmore hotel downtown. Manley accompanies her into the hotel lobby, but takes leave of her at 6:30 p.m. to return to his family in San Diego.

January 15, 1947
Age 22
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Short's body is discovered.

January 15, 1947
Age 22
Los Angeles, CA, USA
January 25, 1947
Age 22
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Short's black patent leather purse and one of her black open-toed pumps is found in a dumpster at 1819th E. 25th street, several miles from the crime scene. Robert Manley identifies the items as hers.

January 1947
Age 22

Short who was staying with family and is asked her leave. Manley comes to pick her up. He later tells a reporter that they stayed in a local motel but Short slept in her clothes and the pair did not have sex,.