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Zelma was the former partner of the professional knife-thrower Keeno the Great. At the time of her interaction with Dick Tracy, she was an older woman with light hair and a lined face.

Association with Keeno[]

In her youth, Zelma had been a glamourous stage performer, serving as assistant and "target" for the knife-thrower Keeno the Great. During one session, Keeno's aim was off and her cut off a significant portion of Zelma's right ear. Angered by his mistake, Keeno fired Zelma from the act.

Zelma began a new career sewing costumes for stage performers. In 1974, she was approached by the fugitive Keeno, who wanted her to shelter him while he hid from police. Zelma held a grudge against Keeno and was reluctant to help him, even after he bribed her with a $10,000 diamond-studded tooth.

Zelma trapped Keeno in the closet of her home and left to decide what to do. She took the diamond to an appraiser and had its value confirmed. Zelma became convinced that she could not be happy with ill-gotten money, and she went to the police to report on Keeno's location. She presented the tooth to Dick Tracy, who confirmed that it was the recovered skull of Diamond Tooth Rinkles.

While Zelma was at police headquarters, police officer Lizz had gone to Zelma's home to interview her. Lizz was assaulted by Keeno and she killed him in self-defense. Zelma was not charged for any wrong-doing.

Zelmaear
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