In 1922, Taylor was murdered in his home (on Alvarado Street). In a 1970 interview during which she described Taylor as her "mate," Minter recalled how she broke down and sobbed when she was allowed to view (and touch) the director's body in a morgue.
The ensuing scandal, coming in the wake of the Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle murder trial, was the subject of widespread media speculation and embellishment. Newspapers reported that coded love letters written by Minter had been found in his bungalow after his death (these were later shown to have been written three years earlier, in 1919). Minter was at the height of her success, having starred in more than 50 films and sensationalistic newspaper revelations of the twenty-year-old film star's association with a forty-nine-year-old murdered director caused rolling scandals.
There were several suspects (including her mother Charlotte Shelby) in the long investigation of Taylor's murder. In 1937, Minter publicly announced to the Los Angeles Examiner newspaper, "Now I demand that I either be prosecuted for the murder committed fifteen years ago, or exonerated completely. If the District Attorney has any evidence, he should prosecute. If not, then I should be exonerated... Shadows have been cast upon my reputation."
Minter commented she was content to live without her Hollywood career. She reconciled fully with her mother and proclaimed her love for Taylor throughout her long life. Minter had invested in Los Angeles real estate and seems to have lived in relative comfort and prosperity, although she was later the victim of several robberies during the 1970s and early 80s. Police described her as a frail old woman and people were often shocked to learn she had once been a famous movie star. She died in 1984 from a stroke in Santa Monica, California. For her contributions to the motion picture industry Mary Miles Minter has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1724 Vine Street.