Here's an iconic shot, palm trees on Hollywood Boulevard. It's the basic California
shot and falls under the category of "stock photography" - good for a brochure or whatever. Basic stuff.
It's from late afternoon, Wednesday, June 14, 2006, when the light was just right. The building in the frame is a
new glass thing, home of Stephen J. Cannell Productions - the outfit that crated stuff like The Rockford Files, The Greatest American Hero, The A-Team, Wiseguy, 21 Jump Street, and other such television shows. There's more at the link. But the palm
trees in the afternoon light are just fine.
The real icon is below, or the top of it in the same light - the most
famous hotel in Hollywood.
The Hollywood Roosevelt
Hotel was named for Theodore Roosevelt and financed by a group including Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Louis
B. Mayer. It opened for business on May 15, 1927, and Will Rogers, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Clara Bow, Greta Garbo,
and Gloria Swanson were all there. The banquet and presentation of the first Academy Awards was here, in the "Blossom Room"
- May 19, 1929. Douglas Fairbanks and Al Jolson did the honors. The Roosevelt is on the National
What else? Marilyn Monroe lived here for two years
when her modeling career started to work out for her, before the movies. Her first magazine shoot was on the diving board
at the pool - now gone and replaced by a trendier one. She stayed in Cabana 246, overlooking the pool, and the mirror that
hung in her room is now in the lobby - they say it's haunted by her spirit. Right. The staff also claims that the ghost of
Montgomery Clift haunts the ninth floor (Suite 928) - he used to pace the halls back in 1953, memorizing his lines for the
next day on the set of "From Here to Eternity" - so there are those loud noises coming from the empty suite, and word of phones
left mysteriously off the hook that no one can explain. Whatever.
Clark Gable and Carole Lombard stayed in the penthouse
when that cost five dollars a night. It's thirty-five hundred a night now. During Prohibition, Errol Flynn mixed his special
gin concoctions in the back room of the hotel's barber shop, and Shirley Temple took her first tap-dancing lesson - from Bill
"Bojangles" Robinson - on the hotel's tile stairway.
There's more here -
David Niven roomed in the servants' quarters when he first came to Hollywood,
and Mary Martin began her singing career performing at the hotel's nightclub, the "Cinegrill," for $35 a week.
Like most of the surrounding area, the grand Roosevelt Hotel went into a decline in the 1950's; one owner demolished its archways,
covered up its elaborately painted ceilings, and painted the entire hotel in a shade of "seafoam green." They came close to
tearing it down in the 1980's, but fortunately, the Roosevelt was rescued. A luxury hotel
chain, Radisson, bought the historic hotel and set out to restore it to its former glory. Armed with original blueprints and
historic photos of the hotel's Spanish Colonial architecture, they undertook a major $35 million renovation, and now, the
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel shines again.
... At the northern entrance to the hotel was the Cinegrill, a restaurant
and cabaret nightclub which hosted top entertainers in the 1940's, and was a major celebrity hangout. Marilyn Monroe was a
frequent patron, preferring a dark corner booth.
... That old Cinegrill space reopened as "Teddy's", part of a major
renovation that began with the Roosevelt adding star-autographed plaques to their rooms: the first was from Steven Spielberg
(who shot some of his Tom Hanks / Leonardo DiCaprio movie, "Catch Me If You Can" in the hallways of the Roosevelt).
... Its new poolside Tropicana Bar was attracting them by the droves, giving Sky Bar at its prime a run for its money.
Celebrities such as Bruce Willis, Kirsten Dunst, Lindsay Lohan, Eva Longoria , Jake Gyllenhaal, Scarlett Johansson, Paris
Hilton, Nicole Richie, Topher Grace, Hugh Hefner and Hitch's Eva Mendes have been spotted partying at the hotel recently.
In 2005, Courtney Love passed out at the hotel and was taken away in by paramedics. But in April of 2006 - just days after
a live performance by Prince - the venerable Hotel pulled back a bit from its new party image, severing ties with the architect
of their hot scene, Amanda Demme, and temporarily closing Teddy's until they could replace the ultra-lounge's management.
If you use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me
These were shot
with a Nikon D70 - using lens (1) AF-S Nikkor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED, or (2) AF Nikkor 70-300mm telephoto, or after 5 June
2006, (3) AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor, 55-200 mm f/4-5.6G ED. They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0
original large-format raw files are available upon request.