Who Is Tamar Hodel? New Details About The Woman From "I Am The Night"

Photo: Steve Hodel
Who Is Tamar Hodel? New Details About The Woman From "I Am The Night"

TNT's new series I Am the Night takes a new approach to explore one of the most infamous unsolved murder cases in Los Angeles.

The show focuses on the 1947 murder of Elizabeth Short, a.k.a. the Black Dahlia. It dives deep into the personal journey of Fauna Hodel, who discovers her grandfather might be the Black Dahlia killer as she searches for answers as to what happened to her mother, Tamar Hodel.

Based on a true story, I Am the Night, zeroes in on the mysterious circumstances surrounding Tamar, her father, and the family's possible connection to the Black Dahlia case from Fauna's point of view.

So who is Tamar Hodel and what happened to her? Here's what we know.

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1. She accused her father of molesting her.

Tamar claimed her father George Hodel of sexually abusing her when she was just 14 years old. The abuse began when she was 11 and resulted in her father forcing her to get an abortion when she became pregnant with his child, according to Tamar's half-brother Steve Hodel.

“When I was 11, my father taught me to perform oral sex on him. I was terrified, I was gagging, and I was embarrassed that I had ‘failed’ him,” Tamar revealed to Vanity Fairadding that “my father wanted me to have his baby" when she got pregnant.

But Tamar never got justice. Her father got off the hook, even though two people claimed they witnessed him having sex with her.

"George Hodel's lawyer ran an all-out smear campaign against Tamar, calling her a promiscuous, incorrigible, pathological liar, and the physician was acquitted," the Los Angeles Times reported in 2003.

Steve Hodel


2. She had five children.

In 1951, Tamar gave birth to her daughter Fauna at age 16 after being raped by a boy in her neighborhood. She immediately gave her up for adoption. 

Tamar married folk singer Stan Wilson and had a daughter named Debbie with him, she told Vanity Fair. She left Wilson when she caught him cheating on her.

She later had three sons named Peace, Love, and Joy.

Steve Hodel


3. She was abused her whole life.

Tamar's sexual abuse didn't stop at the alleged molestation by her father.

"Sexualized at an early age, her life continued out of control (sex, drugs, etc.) for decades," Steve wrote of her. "The cycle continued. The abused, became the abuser, creating more pain and suffering for her own five children. Each child’s suffering unique to him or her."

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Steve Hodel


4. She tried to commit suicide multiple times.

Tamar attempted to take her own life many times during her 20s. 

“I think, despite all her idealism and efforts, what George did to her drove her crazy,” her friend Michelle Phillips told NextTribe.

Steve Hodel


5. She died in 2015.

Tamar passed away in her sleep at 80. 

"Much could be said about Tamar. She had hoped to tell her own story, in her own words, but that was not to be," Steve wrote of his half-sister.

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Next Tribe


6. Her half-brother wrote a book to "prove" George was a killer.

In his 2006 book "Black Dahlia Avenger," Steve, a former LAPD homicide detective, alleged that his father murdered Short and is responsible for the death of up to 20 other women.

Steve has worked tirelessly for years trying to prove George is guilty of murder, and not just one, collecting photos and rummaging through his father's belongings for some sort of proof, according to The Guardian.


7. Was her father a murderer?

According to the LA Times, George was investigated in connection to the Black Dahlia case but never charged with any crime. The newspaper also reported that a transcript of a recording captures Geroge saying, "Supposin' I did kill the Black Dahlia. They couldn't prove it now. They can't talk to my secretary because she's dead." He was reportedly referencing the death of his secretary, who was suspected to have been poisoned by George when he learned she had written about him in her diary.

Because of his medical background as a physician, it makes sense someone would suspect George of being perfectly capable of slicing Short's body with precision and draining her of blood before leaving her corpse in a field, but no evidence ever backed up any claims.

The murder still remains unsolved.

Steve Hodel

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Sarah Gangraw writes about all things news, entertainment and crime. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.