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Elizabeth Taylor Never Opened 3RD Husband's Coffin That Was Dug up in 'Stranger than Strange' Attempted Theft

Olawale Ogunjimi
Jul 25, 2022
04:20 P.M.
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Years after Elizabeth Taylor's third husband, late Hollywood producer Mike Todd died in a ghastly plane accident, the actress went to his gravesite to remember him on one of his posthumous birthdays. However, days later, the gravesite was surprisingly robbed.

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Hollywood actress Elizabeth Taylor lived her life as one of the most beloved and talented actresses of her generation. However, behind the scenes, she lived her personal life like she was starring in a romantic sitcom.

The actress had seven husbands and was married eight times, including twice to the same man, her fifth husband, Richard Burton. Taylor, who often depicted herself as a romantic, welcomed becoming someone she's not to make her multiple husbands happy.

Portrait Of Elizabeth Taylor. | Source: Getty Images

Portrait Of Elizabeth Taylor. | Source: Getty Images

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The actress also once declared that she thought women dress for men, and she always thought of pleasing men through her dressing. However, her tactics did not seem effective because she divorced all her husbands except one, Mike Todd.

The duo got married on February 2, 1957, in a tiny tropical village near a Mexican resort. Taylor's parents, a handful of relatives, and close friends were at the ceremony. Mexican comedian Mario Moreno and Singer Eddie Fisher were the best men at the wedding event.

The simple ceremony, mandatory to make a wedding legal in Mexico, was performed in an isolated soldier-guarded residence by the new Mayor of Acapulco, Mario Lopotequi.

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Movie actress Elizabeth Taylor and film producer Mike Todd were married here tonight in simple civil ceremony attended by small group of relatives and friends. | Source: Getty Images

Movie actress Elizabeth Taylor and film producer Mike Todd were married here tonight in simple civil ceremony attended by small group of relatives and friends. | Source: Getty Images

It was followed by an elaborate cocktail party and buffet supper, after which the new couple left for their honeymoon at an undisclosed location in Mexico.

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The wedding ceremony was the third time the pair would be getting married. Taylor was coming off her marriage to actor Michael Wilding while Todd was coming off his divorce from Joan Blundell.

At the event, Taylor wore a mauve-colored Helen Rose original wedding dress and carried bouquets of white and butterfly orchids and lilies of the valleys. The couple also had to cancel the Jewish ceremony they planned to follow the civil service because no rabbi was available.

Actress, Elizabeth Taylor, roducer, Mike Todd, and their month-old daughter, Liza. | Source: Getty Images

Actress, Elizabeth Taylor, roducer, Mike Todd, and their month-old daughter, Liza. | Source: Getty Images

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Taylor and Todd had an excellent relationship during the early stages of their marriage. According to the couple's family friend Anne, Todd was so bestowed with Taylor, unlike any other woman he had met before.

Todd once chartered a plane to have a meal Taylor requested from France flown in while she was pregnant with their child just because the actress wanted it for dinner.

The couple welcomed their child Elizabeth Frances Todd on August 6, 1957, in New York. However, due to premature labor, Taylor had to undergo a cesarean section to aid her delivery.

THE COUPLE'S MARRIAGE BLISS LASTED JUST A YEAR

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Portrait of Elizabeth Taylor and husband Mike Todd at their honeymoon retreat. | Source: Getty Images

Portrait of Elizabeth Taylor and husband Mike Todd at their honeymoon retreat. | Source: Getty Images

On March 22, 1958, Taylor's third husband, Mike Todd, died in a tragic plane accident after his aircraft "The Liz," named after the actress, crashed into the mountains of Western New Mexico due to a storm. Todd was not the only person who died from the crash.

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People who tragically lost their lives included movie writer Art Cohn, pilot Bill Verner, and co-pilot Tom Barkley also perished in the crash. Hours before the flight, Todd called producer Joseph Mankiewicz to invite him on the fateful trip that cost him his life. Todd had assured Mankiewicz:

"Ah, c'mon. It's a good safe plane. I wouldn't let it crash. I'm taking along a picture of Elizabeth, and I wouldn't let anything happen to her."

Actress Elizabeth Taylor & producer Mike Todd prepare to emplane at Idlewild Airport for Mexico City. | Source: Getty Images

Actress Elizabeth Taylor & producer Mike Todd prepare to emplane at Idlewild Airport for Mexico City. | Source: Getty Images

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Todd also assured him he had $3 million in insurance and everything would be fine. However, Mankiewicz backed out. Todd also contacted actor Kirk Douglas, but he could not make it in time. Cohn had accompanied Todd on the plane because he wanted to discuss the book he was writing about the producer.

Meanwhile, Taylor would have accompanied her husband on the trip if not for a cold that kept her in their West Coast home. The actress collapsed when the news of her husband's plane crash reached her, and she had to be sedated. Todd and his wife had a pact between them before his death:

"Whither thou goest, I goest too."

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Actress Elizabeth Taylor attends the 29th Academy Awards ceremony which was held at the RKO Pantages Theatre with her second husband producer Mike Todd, who holds the Oscar he won for best picture for his film 'Around The World In 80 Days', on March 27, 1957 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actress Elizabeth Taylor attends the 29th Academy Awards ceremony which was held at the RKO Pantages Theatre with her second husband producer Mike Todd, who holds the Oscar he won for best picture for his film 'Around The World In 80 Days', on March 27, 1957 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

However, the late producer broke that pact by traveling without his wife despite her pleadings for him to stay home and not go. The late producer was heading to New York for a testimonial dinner when the tragic accident happened. Todd was also due to accept an award as "Showman of the Year" at a Waldorf-Astoria Hotel banquet.

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TODD'S GRAVE WAS ROBBED

Elizabeth Taylor with her late husband, film producer Mike Todd. | Source: Getty Images

Elizabeth Taylor with her late husband, film producer Mike Todd. | Source: Getty Images

In 1977, years after Mike Todd's death, Taylor visited his grave two days after one of his posthumous birthdays to place some red flowers and an American flag on his gravesite. However, some days later, the late producer's gravesite was weirdly robbed in what police called a "stranger than strange" incident and the work of "some very sick person."

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Some investigators even noted it could have been part of a far-fetched extortion plan and that they were actively watching to see if any threats would be made to the late producer's family.

According to Police Sargent Richard Archambault, Taylor's presence at the gravesite some days prior could have attracted attention to the gravesite. However, he made the statement based on assumption because there was no evidence to confirm such a connection.

Producer Mike Todd, on top of the Cinema world, and his wife, actress Elizabeth Taylor, at the International Film Festival in Cannes. | Source: Getty Images

Producer Mike Todd, on top of the Cinema world, and his wife, actress Elizabeth Taylor, at the International Film Festival in Cannes. | Source: Getty Images

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Todd's body was severely burnt from the crash, and his body had to be identified through dental records. His remains had been placed in a rubber burial bag and sealed inside a bronze coffin that was never opened after it was taken to New Mexico.

However, two years after the gravesite was robbed, police identified two convicted organized crime figures, Peter Basile of Wilmette and Glen DeVos as the culprit. The duo had dug up the grave, hoping to exhume a 10-carat diamond ring they believed was buried with the late producer.

Basile and DeVos had been convicted of conspiracy to transport stolen property before an informant Frank Cullotta disclosed to the police that the former had told him he and DeVos dug Todd's grave looking for the diamond ring.

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Producer Mike Todd, on top of the Cinema world, kisses his wife, actress Elizabeth Taylor, at the International Film Festival in Cannes. | Source: Getty Images

Producer Mike Todd, on top of the Cinema world, kisses his wife, actress Elizabeth Taylor, at the International Film Festival in Cannes. | Source: Getty Images

According to a government memo, the pair went to the grave and dug until they found the casket containing Todd's body. Afterward, they broke through the top of the coffin and searched the body bag without locating the ring.

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Basile then dragged the body to a nearby bush. He was then ordered to draw a map of where he dumped the body. Todd's body was discovered two days later after police got tipped off by a private detective who had received information from an informant.

Although Basile and DeVos searched for a ring, the late producer was not buried with any jewelry despite the rumor. Instead, after discovery, his body was moved to another location.

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