The DeMille Conspiracy

1929 Ned Doheny Murder @ Greystone

“On the night of February 16, 1929, Hugh Plunkett arrived at the Greystone mansion. He called the house from the gates, and was told by Lucy Doheny that he should not come in. Ignoring her words, he apparently used his pass key to enter the grounds and the house, going to the guest bedroom on the first floor where he often stayed. Ned Doheny found him there around 10PM. At 10:30, the Doheny family physician. E.C. Fishbaugh, who was in Hollywood attending a theater performance, received a call from his maid, who told him that he was needed urgently at the Doheny home. Fishbaugh arrived a little before 11PM, and was greeted by Lucy Doheny, who told him that Plunkett and her husband were in the guest bedroom. As they proceeded down the hallway to the bedroom, they saw the door standing ajar, and Plunkett standing by it. He warned them to come no closer, then shut the door. Immediately after a shot rang out. When the doctor entered the room, he found Plunkett lying on the floor by the door, shot through the head, the gun lying by his side. Doheny lay on the floor by the beds, next to an overturned chair, barely alive with a gunshot wound to the head.”

Ned Doheny and Hugh Plunkett were to have testified at the Teapot Dome scandal trail later that year.

Hugh was a gas station attendant who met the Dohenys through Lucy. Both Bed and Hugh served in the Navy together in WWII.

Greystone was designed by Gordon Kaufman, who later designed Park LaBrea with Stanton.


February 17, 1929 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Patricia daughter of Ned,was only 6 at the time. She loved her Father,and had been playing in the hall across from the murder bedroom. Patricia was under the Telephone table,always draped with a large tapestry rug. Which could hide a six year old. Hugh came in from the outside door,with his pass key. Walked a short distance to the bedroom door and walked in. Hugh and Ned embraced,kissing as they always did. The room furnished with French 20’s wood and caned furniture,green tinted wood. Looked nice to a little girl peeking from under the tapestry rug.The hall floor was tile,so anyone walking could be heard a block away. Patricia heard footsteps,she peeked out,it was her Mother Lucy. Lucy stood in the doorway,Screaming at the two,shouting over and over,words a little girl could not understand. All of a sudden,shots rang out,BANG! BANG! Patricia saw Father fall into the hall,and Hugh into the room,Hugh dead and lifeless. But her Father moaning,Lucy screaming.
    And then no cries from her Mother,no words from her Father.
    Walking over to the Table,Lucy picked up the phone,Operator I need Dr Fishbaugh,I need him,I need him.
    Mother,Lucy walked down the hall and out of sight. I could not move,Father was no longer moaning. I thought to myself he was dead. A half hour of so passed,and I heard Mother coming down the hall,going to the side door,letting in someone. Oh,Dr.,Oh Dr.,what should I do ,what should I do. He bent and checked Father laying in the hall,Lucy he is still alive,but upon checking Hugh in the room,He is dead.

    The two planned,as I still was in hiding. Dr.,where is the Gun,here,here. Dr whipped it,and set it on the table. Mother and the Dr. Moved Father into the room and Hugh into the hall. Father was still moaning,I was not making a peep. The Dr. put the gun into Hugh’s hand. Blood was everywhere. Father,the Dr. said has passed. Dr. to Mother,Lucy get a hold of yourself.

    How this is what is to be said nothing more,nothing more.
    It had been some time since this had all,taken place. I heard the Dr. pick up the phone and call the police,There has been a murder at Greystone.


    Patricia,passed in 1998,and chose to be buried next to her Father,on Sunrise Slope,he is buried in a great altar given to the family but the Pope in 1929. Because he could not be buried in a Catholic Graveyard. Patricia and I would sit up at her Father’s grave and talk. A Cross of White flowers is
    placed every week at his grave,and that has been going on since 1929.Next year it will be 80 years,and the cross will go on forever…………

    Down to the last detail:
    On a sad note,Hugh is buried just 10 rows down Sunrise Slope
    looking up at his lover. Also buried by the Doheny family in 1929.

    Patricia was a lady in every way and a friend to me. The family lived in the house for many years. The Hall and bedroom off limits to all. For the last 79 years the table,and scarf has stayed across from the bedroom. After Lucy married ,she built a new house up on the hill looking down at her former home. Others who have lived in the house where,Miss Debbie Reynolds,when she married a shoe millionaire. And it was home to the American Film Institute for many years. And countless film have been sot there.
    And today it is a park and the house can be viewed from the outside.

    Thanks for reading my story as told to me by Patricia

    Comment by Dominick Manella | December 3, 2008 | Reply

    • Thanks so much for sharing that! What a sad and amazing story. I originally created this blog to organize information for a book about the history of Los Angeles and Hollywood. It’s hard to believe it’s been 80 years since the murder. It’s wonderful you had a chance to talk with Patricia Doheney and record her story for posterity.

      Comment by Nestor the Chronicler | February 19, 2009 | Reply

    • I’m an author looking for information about the Doheny murders, wondering how to get in touch with Dominick Manella? please contact Barbara at answers thanks!

      Comment by Barbara | October 22, 2011 | Reply

    • Are you still around?

      Comment by Molly | February 2, 2012 | Reply

  2. Iam really intrested in this murder. Are there any photos of Hugh Plunkett that have survived, other than the one at the murder sight where the back of his head is facing us?

    Comment by Joe Clark | July 10, 2009 | Reply

  3. Who is Patty? His daughter was Lucy
    Estelle, 1915 -2009. Your friend may be
    a lady, but the name and dates don’t match.

    Comment by Mourka | January 17, 2011 | Reply

    • I may have some information concerning the “mystery” surrounding the Doheny murder.

      This family story was told to me over 50 years ago. In the 80’s I thought about doing more research and had my father write down all the particulars. I never got around to doing anything with the info, but while recently working on my family genealogy I came across the letter he wrote. I googled all the parameters, and the Doheny murder/suicide kept coming up. Here is  the background:

      About 1910 my great grandmother, Mary E. Dorsett, adopted a baby boy from the Twin Bridges orphanage in Montana. She named him Charles Orin (sp?) but the family always called lhim by his middle name. According to my father he was very artistic, creative, and “effeminate.” In his teens he ran away/left home, went to L.A., changed his name, and became a dress designer. Two of his clients were Jean Harlow and Aimee Semple McPherson. He was killed in a gay (“homosex xual” in those days) love triangle involving a doctor and a chauffeur. The chauffeur killed my “uncle” and the doctor, then killed himself. During lthe investigation, the Dorsett connection was discovered, my great grandmother was notified, and she went to L.A. for the funeral. When she returned she brought back a newspaper with the story splashed across the headline.

      Now–first, in the Doheny murder there was no doctor killed. However, my father only being about 8 when he heard/read the story, over the years may have confused “doctor” with “director” (they do sound a lot alike) and there was a doctor who played a significant role who seems to be referred to as often as the victims.

      Second, why didn’t my great grandmother say/do anything about the fact her son’s death was omitted from the newspaper article? Perhaps the authorities appealed to her sense of sympathy for the family by not embarrassing them or causing a scandal. It isn’t too difficult to explain an employee killing his employer, but when you throw in a dead 19-year-old boy, it gets pretty sticky. Or, perhaps my great grandmother was paid off.

      I know this is all circumstantial, but the Doheny story is the only one that involved that time, that place, a chauffeur, and a newspaper headline. Do you think this answers the “mystery” surrounding the Doheny murder?

      Comment by Beverly Jasmer | June 14, 2011 | Reply

    • Your Uncle was Paul Ivar. He was a dress designer and Harlow and Connie Bennett were clients. The killing happened in six years after the Dohney murders, and the third man killed was a law professor from UCLA. (my family) There was no connection between the 2 murders, except that many of the people were gay. Pual’s real name was Ivandorf Moransky. He was 25 when he was killed. He came to LA when he was 17.

      Comment by Seshu | June 29, 2012 | Reply

      • It felt like Christmas this morning! thank you so much for the information–I never would have found it on my own. Once you gave me the name I googled it and came to the same website where you left a note saying there was more to the story. I would love to hear it. My great-grandmother brought the newspaper with the headlines home after going to CA to make arrangements but it has disappeared–alas. I will send a message also on the “other” website as there are a few things missing in regard to my relative too. Thanks again–I know it’s not important anymore but I hate unsolved mysteries, especially when it’s a family mystery.

        Comment by Beverly Jasmer | August 26, 2012

      • Beverly, I would love to know more about Paul, aka Orin. I am writing a book on this, and have placed your great grandmother into the story. Anything you can share would be welcome. Only one person from that mess is still alive, and they are saying very little. I have done a great deal of research on this over the years and finally have been able to come to writing the story. I went to LA to see what I could find too. Where Paul lived, and was killed, is the only building still standing. So much has been wiped away. Was your great grandfather still living when Paul died? The sad thing for her was that when the funeral was taking place, the coroner halted it and took the body back again for another look. Drugs were suspected. Paul had been a user when he first came to LA. Please write again! Happy Christmas!

        Comment by Seshu | August 26, 2012

      • I’ve just spent 1/2 hour trying to leave a comment on “wandering boy tonight” website and never could figure out how to send it.
        I’m afraid I can’t add a whole lot more than what I first posted on this website.
        My ggrandmother and ggrandfather were living on the Flathead Indian Reservation, Missoula, Montana, when my ggrandmother adopted Orin (they aren’t native-american, my ggrandfather drove a stage coach on the reservation). The 1910 census shows Orin as being 10 mo. old. Ggrandmother also had a ten-year-old daughter from a previous marriage at that time. My ggrandfather was not in favor of the adoption. When (I’ll just call them ggm and ggf) ggm brought the baby home she told my ggf that the boy belonged to her friend and that she was just taking care of him. Evidently you could just walk into an orphanage in those days and walk out with a child. Obviously, the truth came out and my father said that ggf only tolerated the boy. Ggf’s name was “Charles” and I’m wondering if she named the baby Charles Orin in hopes that ggf would be more accepting. In the 1920 census the family is living in Spokane, WA, at 1009 E. Herox Ave. Orin is listed as “foster son.” Evidently naming him “Charles” didn’t help. Also living with them at this time was ggm’s daughter, her husband, and their three children. I have only one picture of Orin. He is about 13. It is so ironic to see how he is dressed considering his talent in clothing design. It probably explains the scowl on his face. My ggm was born in 1880 and my ggf in 1878. He didn’t die until 1969 so he was alive when all this happened.
        When my father told me this story (he would have been 14 at the time of the murder) he said it involved a chauffeur and doctor. Your relative being a professor, perhaps he was referred to as Dr.??? Just guessing.
        As a child I remember my great aunt showing my mother some drawings. The only one I remember was of a fairy-like girl holding a large bubble. It had to be a drawing of Orin’s as no one in our family was artistically talented. I wish I could add more. Luckily I had my dad write the story down.
        When you publish your book I would love to buy a copy. I hope you will let me know when that happens so I can be looking for it. If you decide not to publish, I would love to learn all the information you have gathered.
        I live in Portland, Oregon. Could you send me the address of “Paul’s” home when he was alive–I could at least google it and get a bird’s eye view. I have children who live in Riverside–they may be able to get a picture for me. Also, do you know if it’s possible to get a copy of the newspaper article?
        Thank you so much again for all your information.

        Comment by Beverly Jasmer | August 26, 2012

      • I forgot to ask: How did you find the name Ivandorf Moransky?

        Comment by Beverly Jasmer | August 26, 2012

      • The address was 8439 Sunset Blvd. It was apartments until recently, and now is office space. Next door was one of the most notorious gambling joints in LA. The building is still there and it is a club still, but not the gambling…
        I got his real name from the police report.
        I will let you know about the book when it is ready.
        There is still so much work to do.
        And your ggf not approving answers some questions about the funeral. why it was only your ggm.
        Do you know where they were living in 1935?
        I would love to see the photo of Orin. He was not happy there, but he did say they had money at one point. He was indeed, very effeminate in LA where there was a very large gay population.
        Please keep in touch!

        Comment by Seshu | August 27, 2012

      • if you are on facebook, I sent you a request.

        Comment by Seshu | August 27, 2012

      • I am on Facebook but I didn’t see a friend request from you.

        Comment by Beverly Jasmer | August 27, 2012

      • The building at 8439 Sunset Blvd is in West Hollywood and was built in 1927 as luxury apartments as Hacienda Arms Apartments , then renamed Coronet and much later Piazza del Sol which is now a luxury office building. In the 1930’s it was known as a high class brothel and known as House of Francis with the madam Francis running it and Jean Harlow frequented a lot. Interesting . David

        Comment by David Fisher | October 20, 2014

      • David, thanks for the information on 8439 Sunset Blvd building.
        What name did it go by in 1935? And do you have any more about the Madam Francis? Do you know what apartment she occupied?
        And Jean Harlow did have gowns made by Paul Ivor — another reason she was there.
        thanks. Seshu

        Comment by smsenden | October 22, 2014

  4. Patricia was Ned’s son Patrick’s wife. This is from her obituary.

    June 24, 1999
    Patricia Halbriter Doheny; Community Leader

    Patricia Halbriter Doheny, 75, community leader who supported schools and libraries. A native of Los Angeles, Doheny attended the 110-year-old Marlborough School and served as its student body president. After her years at Stanford and UCLA and marriage to Patrick Anson Doheny, she served on the Marlborough board of trustees. Doheny was active in the Junior League and was president of Las Madrinas support group. She also served on the board of the Friends of USC Libraries, which include the Doheny Memorial Library, named for her husband’s grandfather, Edward Lawrence Doheny Jr. On Saturday in Beverly Hills.

    I wonder if the story she told you was actually told to her by her husband, Patrick Anson Doheny and she made it her own over time. She was born on July 6th, 1923, so she would have been 5 at the time of the tragedy. Patrick was born in 1923 as well and very well could have been 6 at the time.

    Comment by Jerry | September 3, 2011 | Reply

  5. There was one daughter, Lucy Doheny Niven Washington (1915-2009) and four sons: Edward Lawrence III (1917-1999), William (1920-2003), Timothy Michael (1926-2009), and Patrick Anson (b. 1923). He is the sole surviving child. If anyone still living knows the truth, it would be Patrick. Information is hard to find…sketchy and inaccurate at best. Even Patricia’s obituary is wrong when it says the Doheny Library was named for her husband’s grandfather. The grandfather built it in memory of his son, Ned, Patrick’s father.

    Comment by Peter Bishop | May 8, 2012 | Reply

    • The daughter was Lucy. I have found the murder stories very interesting. If the daughter was under the bed during the murders, she would not have been six at the time. Born in 1915 and moving into Greystone Mansion in 1928, murders occured in Febuary of 1929, that would put Lucy at 13 maybe 14. It’s my understanding that Patricia is Ned’s son Patrick’s wife.

      Comment by Brenda | July 8, 2012 | Reply

    • It was in our local newspaper the Beverly Hills Courier that Patrick Anson Doheny had died on September 19, 2014 at age 91 at the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center surrounded by his family. Patricia H. Doheny his wife had died in 1999. So, all of Ned’s children have passed. I hope his helps you? Greystone Mansion is about three (3) blocks from where I live and I try to keep informed what goes on in my neighbor and do attend social functions at the mansion. Take care. David

      Comment by David Fisher | October 20, 2014 | Reply

      • Does anyone know the status of Patrick’s 2 children (KC Kathleen Clark & Ned)?

        Lorraine Villarreal

        Sent from my iPhone


        Comment by | October 22, 2014

  6. Thank you for the details of this incident– but please go over the text, and correct the typos. “Trail” should read “trial”; “Bed” should read “Ned”; there may be other errors as well.

    Thanks again– a very intriguing tale.

    Comment by Bill Dale | December 7, 2012 | Reply

  7. All of this is fascinating, thank you all.

    Comment by Rob | June 5, 2013 | Reply

  8. I’m having a “flashback” reading this. My parents were domestics for “The Pat Doheny’s in the 1950s through the late 1970s. My mother was the cook & my father changed between being houseman & groundskeeper. He was happiest outside. My mother went on to work at Mr. Doheny’s office as a cook. The family was very kind & generous to me. They always remembered me at Christmas & throughout the year. Their children, KC (Kathleen Clark and Ned) were always very nice to me. We played around the kitchen when I visited the house & was the proud recipient of beautiful clothes that KC outgrew. I often think of them & would love to know about today. I also remember visiting Greystone once and remember how special it was.

    Comment by Lorraine Faherty Villarreal | October 31, 2013 | Reply

  9. In the 1990’s while I was at glendale forest lawn I ran into a woman who claimed to be doheny s secretary. ..or at least related to him…she told me it was a gay love triangle. ..

    Comment by Marie Andrews | March 23, 2014 | Reply

  10. It was in our local newspaper the Beverly Hills Courier that Patrick Anson Doheny had died on September 19, 2014 at age 91 at the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center surrounded by his family. Patricia H. Doheny his wife had died in 1999. So, all of Ned’s children have passed. I hope his helps you? Greystone Mansion is about three (3) blocks from where I live and I try to keep informed what goes on in my neighbor and do attend social functions at the mansion. Take care. David

    Comment by David Fisher | October 20, 2014 | Reply

  11. You should find the Secretary I mentioned in a post several years ago that I was working at forest lawn Glendale and ran into a woman (who hassd most likely passed by now) that her sister was paid to take the fall as the woman there two men were fighting over and she knew it was because he wouldn’t leave his wife.

    Comment by mariebellesblog | October 22, 2014 | Reply

  12. To those who commented about the Paul Ivar Wharton case, are you still around? I’ve been looking into it after re-reading the superb 1946 book “Southern California; an Island on the Land” (available at the library or on Amazon) which has a short chapter about Paul Wharton called “Hollywood Case History.”Can’t believe this man had so many names. He was a strange one.

    The fellow who wrote about the case at the “Wandering Boy” website promised several years ago further details and identities of people – and then never followed up. Frustrating!

    Another odd twist to the story: if that address on Sunset Blvd. is correct, that is the infamous luxury apartment bldg., the El Hacienda Apartments, that was also know as “The House of Francis” in the 1930’s; a famous, high-end brothel frequented by movie people.

    Comment by Jeff Hanna | July 18, 2015 | Reply

    • Jeff, I am still here from the Paul Ivor postings. How did you find out about the House of Francis. I would like to learn more. The apartment building is still there. I think it is offices now. Wandering Boy never did follow through. but he did not have all the facts. Paul Ivor was a unique man…

      Comment by smsenden | November 22, 2016 | Reply

      • Hi:

        I got my info. on “The House of Francis” from the book “Lamparski’s Hidden Hollywood,” published in 1981. Lamparski wrote the “Whatever Became Of?” series of books. When Lee Francis’ brothel, located in a large apartment at the Hacienda Arms, 8439 Sunset Blvd, was raided in January, 1940, she went to jail for a few weeks and spent her time writing a book entitled “Ladies on Call.” Don’t know if it was ever published.

        Comment by Jeff Hanna | November 22, 2016

    • Jeff, I am also still here although the only information I have was supplied by the wonderful research done by Sue and generously supplied to me. Orin Dorsett/Paul Wharton was my adopted great uncle. I’m going to try to find the book you referenced. Thank you.
      Bev Jasmer

      Comment by Beverly Jasmer | November 22, 2016 | Reply

  13. My mistake: The apt. building where Paul lived with Mrs. Wharton was indeed the Hacienda Arms, not El Hacienda. It is now called Piazza Del Sol. I came across some other addresses: The UCLA professor who was murdered lived at 1329 N. Gordon in Hollywood. The chauffeur, William Howard lived at 5523 Sierra Vista in Hollywood ( At google, looks like the original bldg., a low bungalow-duplex, is still standing, hideously remodeled), also 820 1st Street, Bunker Hill.

    Comment by Jeff Hanna | July 19, 2015 | Reply

  14. It’s “trial,” not “trail.”

    Comment by Susan | October 31, 2015 | Reply

  15. Troy Griffin, Psychic Investigator is going to revisit the murders at the GreyStone Mansion.

    Comment by Troy Griffin | May 27, 2016 | Reply

  16. Wow! This is so interesting. I felt like I just read a book already. Thanks for all the information everyone had and contributed.

    Comment by Mary Hernandez | November 18, 2016 | Reply

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