The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
Listed as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, the landmark Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel opened in 1927. Sitting along the notorious Hollywood Walk of Fame and across from Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood Roosevelt was financed by prominent figures Louis B. Mayer, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and Sid Grauman. The Hollywood Roosevelt was dedicated just as the Golden Age of Hollywood was taking-off. Named after the late president Theodore Roosevelt, the Hollywood Roosevelt was immediately put to use by the people who financed its creation. On May 16, 1929, the first ever Academy Awards ceremony, celebrating the movies of 1927 and 1928, was held in the Blossom Ballroom. Throughout its history, the Hotel has played host to many of Hollywood's top names, including Shirley Temple, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Ernest Hemingway, and Errol Flynn. Marilyn Monroe's first commercial photo-shoot took place by the pool and she resided in the Hotel for two years. The Marilyn Monroe suite is one of the most requested, and costly, suites in the Hollywood Roosevelt. The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel was was declared a Los Angeles Historical Monument in 1991 and continues to serve as a landmark structure in Tinseltown.
Backstory and Context
One of Hollywood's biggest heart-throbs in the 1930s, Clark Gable, romanced the gorgeous Carole Lombard at the Hollywood Roosevelt when rates were just $5 a night. The famous couple's legacy continues to live-on with the Gable-Lombard suite, 3,200 square feet total and looking out to the Hollywood sign.1 In 2007, the entertainer Prince lived in the suite while performing a series of concerts in the Blossom Ballroom.2 Early in her career, Marilyn Monroe lived in the Hollywood Roosevelt, frequenting the rooftop pool where her first commercial photo-shoot took place.1 Another famed 1950s movie star, Montgomery Clift, lived in the Hollywood Roosevelt while filming From Here to Eternity (1953). To add to the intrigue, it has been rumored the ghosts of both Monroe and Clift still roam the Hotel.2
Despite its rich history, the Hollywood Roosevelt has survived its fair share of hardships. Before being declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1991, it had changed ownership multiple times and faced demolition. In 1985, a $40 million renovation saved it from demise and erased the graffiti that had been painted on walls. So bad were circumstances, a sale was held auctioning off items from the Hotel such as beds, paintings, mirrors, and even carpet from the lobby. The 2015 $25 million renovation restored the Hollywood Roosevelt to much of its 1920s charm.2 Thanks to new management and the lure of the history of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, it remains one of Hollywood's most prized structures.
2. Swann, Jennifer. Uncovering The Storied History Of The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. LAIST. May 16, 2017. Accessed August 22, 2018. http://www.laist.com/2017/05/16/roosevelt_hotel_history.php.