Elizabeth Short

Is your surname Short?

Research the Short family

Elizabeth Short's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Related Projects

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 Daniell
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.

view all

Elizabeth Short's Timeline

July 29, 1924
Boston, MA, USA
January 15, 1947
Age 22
Los Angeles, CA, USA