Hollywood Spotlight: The Ghost of Thomas Ince

When it comes to the demise of pioneers in the American movie world, people definitely take heed to mysterious deaths. For the integrity of various Hollywood stars, some incidents are swept under the carpet as a cover-up while others are blown out of proportion into this monster that takes over all kinds of media outlets. In this article, you will learn who Thomas Ince was and how his death was handled.


During the silent era, Thomas Ince earned quite the reputation for being a leader in the directors’ chair. He had a flair for the camera direction and made a name mostly from the westerns that starred an actor by the name of William S. Hart. Throughout his career, he worked with other greats on the Hollywood scene, including the likes of D.W. Griffith and Mack Sennett. Eventually, he had a hand in founding Culver Studios, which is now known as the infamous MGM.


When uncovering the Hollywood history books, you will find that all of the film accomplishments that Ince is known for take a far backseat to his death. While the official record of his death is listed as heart failure, it is often believed that he died due to the affections for another. In 1924, Ince died aboard a yacht (the Oneida) belonging to the well-known William Randolph Hearst. During a birthday party held bythe newspaper tycoon for Ince, many heavy hitters in the Hollywood world were present, including Charlie Chaplin and the gossip columnist, Louella Parsons.


Rumor has it that Ince was actually shot because Hearst was jealous over his love, Marion Davies. Then there are the stories that deal with a business deal gone bad. It was said that during this party weekend, Ince and Hearst were trying to negotiate a deal when things went sour in regards to Hearst’s love interest. As the story goes, Marion Davies was involved, but not with Ince; it was Charlie Chaplin who pursued her. The yacht was docked early because Ince had suddenly taken ill (mystery, mystery, mystery).


A few days later, he was dead. In this version, reports stated he had succumbed to “acute indigestion.” Rumors swirled and many believed he had been involved in a scandal. Since his body was cremated without an autopsy only fueled the gossip fire. To this day, it is believed that Ince joins the ranks of several other ghosts said to roam about the lot that once served as Culver Studios.


On many different occasions, an array of film crew members believe they have come face-to-face with the specter of a man that matches the description of Ince. One time, one worker attempted to strike up a conversation with the ghost, but according to his account, the ghost simply turned away and disappeared through a wall.


If you ever have the chance to see the movie, The Cat’s Meow,” a Peter Bogdanovich film that came out in 2002, you will see that the events to take place in the film bear a similarity to Ince’s case. All of the ingredients to a grand murder mystery were included, such as jealousy, passion, greed, and a gun. So, what do you think happened to Ince?