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Mrs. Lilly Trueheart was one of the first characters shown on the first weekday installment of the comic strip along with Dick Tracy, Tess, and Emil Trueheart.

Tragedy for the Truehearts[]

Mrs. Trueheart ran a delicatessen with her husband. She and her family lived in an apartment above the business. She was a kind, loving woman who approved of Tracy and his relationship with Tess.

One night, Dick proposed to Tess and she accepted. At the same time, Emil and his wife were counting out the money that they had saved, pleased that they were officially out of debt (2,000 dollars in 1931 money). Unbeknownst to all, the house was being observed by mobsters who later burst in and threatened Emil. They wanted the code to the safe, but Emil defied them. He was shot by one of the thugs, a man called Crutch. Mrs. Trueheart fainted from the shock. With his dying breath, Emil revealed the combination. The men took the money and kidnapped Tess, taking her to their boss Big Boy.

Mrs. Trueheart was rushed to the hospital. She remained there during the entire time that Tracy was investigating the murder and rescuing Tess from the kidnappers. At the end of the affair, Mrs. Trueheart was seen to have recovered from the shock, but she still grieved her husband. She collected on his life insurance and took over day-to-day operations of the delicatessen.

Later Life[]

Mrs. Trueheart continued to appear semi-regularly. She occasionally took in boarders to make extra money, and when business was good she would hire additional help (such as Heinie). She inadvertently hired the fugitive poison gas manufacturer Karpse, and later rented a room to Pruneface (another poison gas manufacturer). Mrs. Trueheart became suspicious of Pruneface, and enlisted Junior's aid in monitoring his activities. When Pruneface realized that Mrs. Trueheart was suspicious of him, he assaulted her with a rock, then fled. Mrs Trueheart was able to take a picture of Pruneface, which aided in his capture.

At the beginning of the Flattop Jones Sr. storyline, Mrs. Trueheart is seen welcoming Dick, Tess, and Junior Tracy for a Christmas dinner.


Mrs. Trueheart (mid-right) at the beach.

During the Brow case, Mrs. Trueheart joined Tess and Tess' friend Jean Ellen on a sunbathing trip to the beach. Tess was assaulted by an associate of the Brow. Mrs. Trueheart found Tess as she was recovering from the assault, and she was with Tess when Tess reported the incident to Tracy.

Mrs. Trueheart has had little interaction with the Tracys since then (see Notes below), and was never shown to have re-married.

Appearances in Other Media[]


Movie Continuity[]

Mrs. Trueheart is a minor character in the 1990 Dick Tracy feature film. She was played by actress Estelle Parsons. In the film's timeline, her husband "Pop" Trueheart had already died (as shown in the prequel comic-book), and she remained close with her daughter Tess (see Notes below).


  • Mrs. Trueheart's last appearance during Chester Gould's tenure on the strip (not counting a reprinting of Gould's first Tracy Daily strip featuring Mrs. Trueheart, reprinted in Gould's last Tracy Daily strip on December 24, 1977) was in December of 1944 at Christmastime. She can be seen with Tess and Junior as they try to console Vitamin Flintheart over the disappearance of his young bride Snowflake Falls until the latter is found. Mrs. Trueheart is shown in these strips, and is addressed by Vitamin as, "Mrs. Trueheart", but she doesn't say anything. It would be her last appearance in the strip (not counting flashbacks) for nearly 80 years.
  • MrsT2022

    Mrs. Trueheart in 2022, as drawn by Shelley Pleger

    Mrs. Trueheart would not be specifically identified as living or deceased for nearly eight decades. Her age and lack of appearance in the strip (including not being present at Dick and Tess' wedding celebration) had caused some fans to speculate that she must have passed away. In early January 2022, she was mentioned in the present tense as Tess and Joe were stated to be visiting her. On January 27, 2022, she made her first appearance in the strip (not counting flashbacks) in over 77 years. It was also revealed that her first name is Lilly.
  • Estelle Parsons is perhaps best known to film-goers for playing the role of Blanche Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde, in which Warren Beatty (who played Dick Tracy in the 1990 movie) played Clyde Barrow.
  • One of Parsons' scenes in the 1990 feature film was supposedly re-written and re-shot after principal shooting had been completed. According to writer Max Allan Collins, the script originally included a scene in which Mrs. Trueheart expressed her support and approval of Tess ending her relationship with Dick. Collins found this to be unacceptably out of character, and altered the scene in his novelization to have Mrs. Trueheart encourage Tess to reconcile with Dick. The producers read the manuscript and agreed that this scenario was more appropriate, and ordered the scene to be re-shot.