Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia, 1947
One of the most famous cold cases in U.S. history, 22-year-old Elizabeth Short was found naked in a vacant Los Angeles lot, her body cut in half at the waist, drained of blood and posed. Her face had been cut from ear to ear, and investigators later found evidence that she had been bound. It was the gruesome death of Short, an aspiring actress, that catapulted her into celebrity with an iconic name: Black Dahlia. Her death remains unsolved more than six decades later.
Jack Nance ('Eraserhead'), 1997
The actor, star of cult favorites "Eraserhead" and "Twin Peaks," met up with friends at a coffee shop in South Pasadena, Calif., on the afternoon of Dec. 29, according to People magazine. He had a bruised eye. "I told off some kid," actress Catherine Case later recalled him saying. "I guess I got what I deserved." Case's husband, screenwriter Leo Bulgarini, found Nance dead the next day on the floor of his apartment. Authorities later determined Nance suffered blunt-force trauma to his head and had fought with two men at a doughnut shop the day prior, suffering a blow to the head.
William Desmond Taylor, silent film director, 1922
William Desmond Taylor had directed dozens of silent films when police found the 49-year-old on the living room floor of his Los Angeles bungalow with a bullet in his back, according to History.com. After his death, a love note to him from Mary Miles Minter, a young star of his silent films, was reportedly found in Taylor's home. Minter later admitted that she and her mother, Charlotte Shelby, had been at Taylor's home on the night of his killing, per History. And the gun used in Taylor's killing matched the one Minter had once tried to shoot herself with before. No prosecutions ever came in the case, which remains unsolved.
Caitlin McGlade and Andrew A. Smith contributed to this article.