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Hollywood Producer Accused in Murder and Cover-Up

By Paul Niemann

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[February 21, 2008]  There was a fight on Hollywood's Sunset Strip one December night back in 1937 that took the life of a stage actor. His name was Ted Healy, and he was out celebrating the birth of his son.

Ted instigated a fight with three men in a nightclub. When he asked them to step outside, they ganged up on him, kicking him in the stomach, ribs and head. He died the next day as a result of his head injuries. The three men, allegedly, were Pat DiCicco, Albert Broccoli and Wallace Beery.

Pat DiCicco was a mobster, at a time when the mafia exercised control over the film industry. He later married Gloria Vanderbilt; she divorced him because of his violence toward her. But this story isn't about DiCicco or Vanderbilt. His cousin and partner in crime was Albert Broccoli, a young assistant producer at the time.

And Wallace Beery was a film actor for MGM. But this story isn't about Beery, either.

I said they were the men who allegedly got into the fight with Healy because there is a second version of this story that says that it was three college students who beat up Ted Healy. The head of MGM, Louis Mayer, covered it up with that version. He even went so far as to fire Healy's widow, an MGM employee named Betty Brown, when she protested too much that there wasn't enough of an investigation into the incident.

While the names of Pat DiCicco and Wallace Beery probably don't ring a bell, Albert Broccoli might sound familiar to you.

Albert Broccoli went on to become a well-known Hollywood producer. His work entertained audiences for years. In fact, his movies are as popular today as they were when he first began producing them.

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Broccoli produced the Ian Fleming film "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." It was his other movies for which he is remembered, though. Ian Fleming also wrote the James Bond 007 series. You can see Broccoli's name listed as the producer in the opening credits of each of the Bond films.

But this story isn't about him.

It is about the man who was murdered that night back in 1937 -- Ted Healy.

Who was Ted Healy?

His legacy, like Albert Broccoli's legacy, is that his work entertained audiences for years. In fact, Healy's work is as popular today as ever.

While his wife gave birth to his only son, he gave birth to something that has entertained male audiences for more than 70 years and counting, if you include reruns. I say male audiences because I still have not met a woman who likes his work.

You see, Ted Healy was the stage and vaudeville actor who hired his childhood friend Moses Horwitz and his brother Sam. When Louis Fienberg joined the act, they became known as Moe, Larry and Shemp -- "The Three Stooges."

Is this a true story?



Paul Niemann may be reached at

Copyright Paul Niemann 2008

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