Musical comedy star Ray Raymond met actress Dorothy Mackaye in 1921 while performing in BLUE EYES on the Broadway stage. Raymond fell hard; he dumped his wife and married Dorothy. The pair had a daughter, Valerie, and together they moved to Los Angeles in the late 1920s to get into films.
Dorothy Mackaye met Paul Kelly in New York in 1917 when both were appearing on stage, and they became friends. It isn’t clear if the friendship became a love affair in NY, or if the sparks didn’t fly until Paul Kelly arrived in Los Angeles in 1925.
In any case, Ray Raymond was suspicious of his wife’s friendship with Kelly, and he demanded that Dorothy stop seeing him. She refused. She continued to insist that her relationship with Paul was platonic; but Ray wasn’t buying it. She said that whenever she met with Kelly she always had someone with her to act as a chaperone. Raymond didn’t doubt for a moment that Dorothy’s “chaperones” would lie for her.
On April 16, 1926 Dorothy Mackaye and her one of her “chaperones” were drinking prodigious amounts of gin at Kelly’s apartment. After several cocktails and some encouragement from Dorothy, Kelly decided to have it out with Raymond. He telephoned, and then minutes later showed up on the doorstep of the Raymond home.
Ethel Lee, the Raymond’s maid, opened the door for Kelly who stormed into the house and confronted the much smaller man. Paul shouted: “I understand that you have been saying things about me.” Ray denied the accusation and attempted to defuse the situation by offering Kelly a seat, but Kelly was drunk and spoiling for a fight.
According to Ethel, Ray told Kelly: “I can’t fight. I’m fifty pounds underweight, and I’ve been drinking.” “I’ll beat you” Paul said. Then he punched Ray three or four times. Ethel told cops that Mr. Raymond got up but that Kelly grabbed him and put one hand behind his neck and beat him with the other, then threw him to the couch.
Raymond was no match for Kelly who was at least 6 ft tall and weighed about 200 lbs. In fact the maid stated that Raymond was just a punching bag for Kelly and had put up minimal resistance.
Four year old Valerie Raymond was a witness to the savage beating and continued to cry and beg for her dad to come to her.
Dorothy, who said she’d been out running errands, arrived home at about 9 pm. But she didn’t take her badly beaten husband to a hospital, even as he continued to suffer from his injuries. By 7 am the following day Raymond was in extremely serious condition.
Finally, late in the afternoon on the day following the beating Dorothy phoned a doctor who made a house call to assess Ray’s condition. What the doctor found was a man in excruciating pain with bruises covering his body. Ray was transported to a hospital where he died of his injuries.
In what was obviously an attempt to keep the ugly event under wraps Dr. Sullivan, who had attended Ray, consulted with other physicians who determined the cause of death was “nephritic coma” — the result of an inflammation of the kidneys. In other words, natural causes!
Dorothy Mackaye paid Dr. Sullivan $500 (approximately $6500 in current U.S. dollars) for his “services”!
Welcome to Hollywood.
NEXT TIME: The love triangle case continues.