Welcome To Hollywood!
It’s one of the most iconic sights in Southern California: the HOLLYWOOD sign, which overlooks Hollywood, the Walk Of Fame and Sunset Boulevard – and for this “Wednesday Bookmobile”, time to stroll along the Boulevard – and what a legendary Boulevard it is:
This map shows all of the places you can see walking west along Sunset Boulevard from Hollywood towards Beverly Hills…and of course, in the upper left of the map, as you get to West Hollywood, this is what majestically appears:
The Legendary Chateau Marmont!
This magnificent hotel sits perched over Sunset Boulevard, and has a history filled with scandal, intrigue and wild excess – it is Hollywood after all!
“The Castle On Sunset!”
As this terrific book states:
“Life, Death, Love, Art and Scandal at Hollywood’s Chateau Marmot!”
Since 1929, Hollywood’s biggest stars – and wannabe stars – have flocked to the Chateau Marmont. This legendary apartment building turned Hotel has quite the history: it’s where Film Director Nicholas Ray slept with his sixteen-year-old “Rebel Without A Cause” star Natalie Wood after rehearsing the film in his room with the entire cast including James Dean…
It’s also where The Doors lead singer and Rock God Jim Morrison swung from the balconies; and sadly it’s also where John Belushi suffered a fatal overdose…
More recently, Lindsay Lohan made headlines for being tossed out of the Hotel and banned for life for not paying a $50,000 bill!
And yes, there is also the “legend” that has developed about what may or may not have happened in a Chateau Marmot elevator between these wo:
Author Shawn Levy recounts the wild revelries and scandalous liaisons – real or rumored, along with the creative breakthroughs and marital breakdowns, the births and deaths and more, all taking place inside the walls of this legendary West Hollywood Hotel.
Vivid, salacious, and richly informed, “The Castle on Sunset” is a glittering tribute to Hollywood as seen from inside the walls of its most hallowed hotel. These words are from the press release aobuu the book, but they nailed it – this is a TERRIFIC memoir of a legendary Hollywood haunt!
The book is fascinating from very beginning – as Levy writes in the forward:
“The tale of Chateau Marmont is a tale of investment and risk, bum luck, and great good fortune, visionaries and myopics, capitalists and laborers, celebrities and hangers-on, aspirants and has-beens, creators and sybarites, those who made and those who took – the gamut of a century’s worth of American dreamers, schemers, and strivers within the parameters of a few acres. It’s the story of the rise of Los Angeles and a roiling history of show business, a real estate saga and a string of simple human vignettes, a scrapbook of headlines and a junk heap of curiosities.”
The Hotel opened in 1929, and in the 90+ years since, an incredible history has been etched. It’s more than just the story of celebrities: the early days of the hotel offer a fascinating glimpse at the political power in Los Angeles at the time as well, and just how big a gamble it was to build the Chateau just a year before the infamous 1929 stock market collapse!
The hotel feels like a clubhouse inside, and it’s original charms – and quirks – have only been refurbished, not eliminated. It is a relic from Hollywood’s past that is as vibrant a part of its future as ever!
Among the residents: Montgomery Clift, who stayed for months while recovering from his near-fatal car accident after a night partying at Elizabeth Taylor’s house: Humphrey Bogart put his Mother up at the Chateau for the last years of her life…and yes, legendary Director Billy Wilder loved to tell everyone how he lived at the Hotel – in the women’s bathroom in the lobby!
Yes, In The Women’s Bathroom!
While embellishing the story a bit, it IS true that the Director of “Sunset Boulevard” actually LIVED on Sunset Boulevard at the Chateau Marmonth, and when there was a problem with his room, he DID spend a few nights in a small closet attached to the women’s lobby bathroom!
I cannot recommend this book highly enough: a terrific look at a storied piece of Hollywood real estate – with story after wild story!
Speaking of which, the hotel sits just a mile from this house:
This was home to Judy Garland and more – click here for a tour of the Singer’s classic Hollywood home:
And since we are touring Hollywood history, have you seen the Hollywood Hightower?
It’s a wildly unique Hollywood home as well – click here to take a tour:
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