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Soap stars and "White Hot: Thelma Todd"


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Has anyone seen this 1991 TV-movie starring a (somewhat over the hill) Loni Anderson as the comedienne who died from carbon monoxide inhalation in 1935? The movie is basically an attempt to make a big mystery out of her death. It's not very exciting, considering the movie involves slapping, punching, spitting, gangsters, etc. but they do have a surprising number of soap actors.

John O'Hurley, then not far off his Y&R stint as Cricket's father, plays Thelma's abusive ex-husband. Lois Smith, who had memorable stints on Somerset and OLTL (with Robin Strasser), plays Thelma's mother, an abusive and deranged control figure. Marla Adams of DAYS/Y&R/Secret Storm, among others, has a small part near the end as a friend of Thelma's who was the last person she spoke to before she died.

Robin Strasser has a few strong scenes as the wife of Thelma's controlling business partner/film director/lover. The three of them run a restaurant together. She has a kooky hat, a strange tartan blouse, a grey fur wrap/boa, and has to deliver stiff lines like, "Love walks. Money talks." For a dramatic flourish, in her last scene with the detective investigating Thelma's death, she runs her fingers across the piano keys.

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