Christa Helm unsolved murder, a view on Hollywood bloody faceFebruary 15, 2013 3 Comments
Christa Helm unsolved murder, a view on Hollywood bloody face
Christa Helm's (photo above) beauty and charm were undeniable, and once she mastered the art of manipulation she found her way onto the path of her dreams. She was going to be a Movie Star!
A few years of modeling and "faking it" paid off when she moved to Hollywood. Living in a mansion, driving a new Jag, rich men falling all over her—she had it made (according to her)! Movie stars, sports figures, producers, politicians and musicians...they were all hers for the taking and she took, and she worked, until she found herself on the Yellow Brick Road of fame. Christa was linked to: Frankie Crocker, (above) Joe Namath, Mick Jagger, Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Ryan O'Neal and the Shah of Iran, etc. Christa also had relationships with female models, singers and actresses. Christa loved to flaunt Frankie Crocker all over Hollywood.
Guest starring in "Wonder Woman," and "Starsky and Hutch," making B-grade movies, lathering in the sunscreen “Coppertone” commercials of the day, and recording a disco album (produced by Frankie Crocker) that would never see the light of day, all introduced her to the thrills and dangers of stardom. The lifestyles of many Hollywood starlets of the time were filled with sex, drugs, murder and money. Helms' gained it all, and then lost it all in a very short time.
Down to her last few dollars, waiting on a prime role and desperate to survive, she logged all of her escapades in a secret journal. The journal is rumored to have been filled with the names of her many famous lovers, as well as the details of their more private moments. Her affairs, her beauty and her strength enraged many who knew her, but those same attributes also brought her career growth and an array of people who truly loved and respected the beauty within her. In the end, those who loved and hated her would all be scrutinized under an investigation that remains open today—36 years later.
In 1974, Christa Helm, age 25, received a gift of expensive jewelry from the town’s mayor and posed happily for pictures with the event’s attendees (including future Sony executive Michael Schlesinger).
Christa was the ultimate party girl—a trophy blonde girlfriend and "Good Time Charlotte" who was widely known amongst the early seventies in-crowd for her big-name boyfriends and her boundless ambition to be a Lana Turner-style Hollywood star. She was described by one friend as "very beautiful, tall, about 5’9" with yellow-brown eyes—and smart. Perhaps too smart for her own good.”
Christa relocated to New York briefly and she lived in a beautiful, seven-room duplex in the East 30s that she called ‘Merlin’s Magical Den’. It had a stereo system that went on when you clapped your hands—very unusual back then. Her apartment was decorated with a lot of plush white furniture and I also recall an expensive display of crystal figures in the living room.
When she returned to Los Angeles, she moved in with internationally renowned financier Bernard (a.k.a. “Bernie”) Cornfeld (ex-boyfriend of Heidi Fleiss), who reportedly managed a billion dollar empire in banking, insurance and mutual funds. Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Bernie Cornfeld was a rabid womanizer who lived with a virtual harem of magazine centerfolds, film starlets and call girls in a 39-room house in Beverly Hills called Grayhall Mansion. Located at 1100 Carolinian Drive, the house had been built in the 1930s and was once the home of the legendary silent screen star, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. before being taken over in the early 70s by Cornfeld and his coterie of concubines.
From the start, Christa seemed to fit in just fine with the like-minded hedonists at Bernie Cornfeld’s love nest. By all accounts, the gorgeous starlet loved men, loved sex and was clearly not above using her charms (as many other young hopefuls before her had done) to further her Hollywood ambitions. Christa was smart and fearless, but she allegedly set parameters on what she would, and wouldn’t, do. On September 19, 1973, columnist Earl Wilson wrote that Christa had revealed to him that there had been a time that she was given a chance to be a high-priced call girl but that she had thought about it and then turned the offer down. Even so, Christa’s lifestyle at the time was far from being sedate.
While staying at Bernie Cornfeld’s, Christa’s ever-changing dance card is said to have included actors Warren Beatty, Michael Sarrazin, Desi Arnaz, Jr. and George Hamilton, as well as singer Johnny Rivers. Other names with whom she was linked in the press in the mid 1970’s included recording stars Mick Jagger and Englebert Humperdinck and acclaimed movie director Roman Polanski (whose beautiful wife, Sharon Tate had been murdered a few years earlier by the so-called Manson "family").
In those years, Christa even told friends that the Shah of Iran had flown her overseas to his palace for a week. “There was a rumor that the federal government often used models and starlets like Christa to get information from him. “The government allegedly approached Christa to help them and she began filtering information to them on his activities. The Shah was said to have given her many beautiful gifts, like jewelry and furs.
In spite of her ambition and seemingly good connections, Christa’s acting career in Hollywood was nowhere near as successful as she had expected it would be.
The night that Christa met her tragic destiny started out for her as many other nights had. She attended a party in Hollywood with her roommate, a woman named Stephanie. They called a mutual friend, Sanford (a.k.a. “Sandy”) Smith, a Hollywood talent agent, who was also a frequent paramour of Christa’s, to join them, but he had refused. Undeterred, Christa decided to go to his house and try to talk him into going with the girls. She borrowed Stephanie’s car and drove to Smith’s house on Lloyd Place in West Hollywood. Smith later claims that he was sleeping when she got there and that he never saw nor heard her.
In 1977, Christa was on her way to a party when she was attacked from behind. Even though she was a certified Black Belt, the ambushed woman was unable to fight off her assailant. She was stabbed over 30 times (which tragically included numerous wounds to her neck and face) and then bludgeoned with a blunt object thought to be either the handle of a knife or a hammer. Christa’s badly ravaged body was found shortly after the attack by a young man crossing the street.
Years later, DNA determined that the killer was a female. Due to the manner in which Christa was killed (vital organs) it's speculated that the killer may have been a professional contract killer.
Christa’s West Hollywood murder on February 12, 1977 received surprisingly little press coverage for someone so well known in the gossip columns and in Hollywood society itself. This led one writer to speculate in print that "who she knew and what she knew may be the reason her savage killing was barely reported."
It was revealed later that Christa planned to write a tell-all book about her sexual liaisons with famous men and it was rumored that she kept tapes of her sexual encounters with celebrities (including married men). This would have been the first Hollywood tell-all of its kind.
Needless to say, her manuscript, sex diary (which included sex rankings) and sex tapes vanished.
A week before her murder, she sent a friend a postcard that read: "I may be in over my head!"
On the night of her murder, an actor, who would later star in the "Sopranos," went to her apartment and left with her furs and other items.
Rewind portion of this story by: Steve Thompson and John O’Dowd