Archive for December, 2008

Adam Sandler at Hollywood Forever…

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

“Funny People” at Hollywood Forever



By Allan R. Ellenberger
December 6, 2008


Scenes for the upcoming Adam Sandler film, Funny People (2009) will begin filming Monday at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. A set for a large granite family mausoleum was completed today on the grounds of the Garden of Exodus (Section 13) sector of the cemetery.


The mausoleum in the center is a set for the upcoming Adam Sandler film, Funny People


The plot of Funny People from


“George (Adam Sandler) is a very successful stand up comedian who learns that he has an untreatable blood disorder and is given less than a year to live. Ira (Seth Rogen) is a struggling up-and-coming stand up comedian who works at a deli and has yet to figure out his onstage persona. One night, these two perform at the same club and George takes notice of Ira. George hires Ira to be his semi-personal assistant as well as his friend.”


Studio workers put the finishing touches on the Funny People “mausoleum.”


Over the past few years, writer/director Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up) has shown that nothing—not even losing your virginity or the miracle of childbirth—is sacred. About his third film behind the camera, he says, “I’m trying to make a very serious movie that is twice as funny as my other movies. Wish me luck!”


Apatow directs Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and Leslie Mann in Funny People, the story of a famous comedian who has a near-death experience. The cast also includes Eric Bana and Jason Schwartzman. Funny People will be distributed by Universal on July 31, 2009.


Close-up view of the Funny People mausoleum set. The name LINDER is written over the entrance. A realistic stained-glass window can be seen in the back.


The family “mausoleum” is in the background. The standing tombstomes at the front of the photo are also fake.


More “fake” tombstones for the film Funny People.





Hollywood Heritage Needs Your Help…

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

Hollywood Heritage logo

P.O. Box 2586. Hollywood, CA 90078 / (323) 874-4005 – FAX: (323) 465-5993



Urgent memo to: Members, supporters and friends of Hollywood Heritiage, Inc.:




By now you are all aware of the attempt by the City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks to evict Hollywood Heritage, Inc. from The Wattles Mansion and Gardens (1907). Now that so much of the “hard work” has been done to restore and save the house and grounds, they want it back. However, their plans for the property appear vague and they refuse to share them with us or anyone else. What will become of this restored and historic gem?


Since 1983, we have restored, maintained and funded this Cultural Monument at our cost, amounting to over $2,500,000. We have more to do and want to continue our restoration. The actions by the Department have disgraced Hollywood Heritage, Inc. and gravely tarnished our image and reputation for no reason.


We urgently need your help now.


Please send a letter (via the US mail) in support of Hollywood Heritage, Inc. to Mayor Villaraigosa at the mailing addresses supplied. He needs to know about our hard work and the potential huge maintenance costs the City will take on if Hollywood Heritage leaves – this, at a time when there is little or no money in the city budget. If this Hollywood treasure is not properly maintained, all of our hard work could be lost! The Mayor has the power to overrule this eviction and has done so in the past for a very similar situation.


We need as many letters of support as possible. Please encourage your friends and family members to write letters too. We CAN prevail with YOUR help.


Please write NOW, and mail copies as supplied or email a copy to:


I sincerely thank you for your time and your continued support.


Stephen X. Sylvester

Executive Director

The Wattles Mansion and Gardens


PS: For complete information on this entire issue, please visit our website @ or call 323/874-4005.



I encourage everyone reading this to write to Mayor Villaraigosa and the city council to ask them to stop the eviction proceedings of Hollywood Heritage from Wattles Mansion. If you love Hollywood – whether you live in Los Angeles, the state of California, or anywhere in the United States and the world, the Mayor needs to hear from you so that the preservation of Wattles Mansion and other endangered buildings in Hollywood can continue. For a brief biography of Gurdon W. Wattles and the history of Wattles Mansion, you can read Part One of my article that appeared in the May 2006 issue of the Hollywood Heritage NewsletterGurdon Wallace Wattles. Also, please leave your comments on this blog. Thank you.

— Allan R. Ellenberger


Please send your letter of suport to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and send copies to the following people and addresses:



Los Angeles City Hall

200 N. Spring Street, Room 303

Los Angeles, CA 90012

(213) 978-0600




Los Angeles City Hall

200 N. Spring Street, Room 480

Los Angeles, CA 90012

(213) 485-3337




Los Angeles City Hall

200 N. Spring Street, Room 470

Los Angeles, CA 90012




Department Recreation and Parks

1200 W. 7th Street, Suite 748

Los Angeles, CA 90017


And please send a copy to Hollywood Heritage:


The Wattles Mansion

1824 N. Curson Avenue

Hollywood, CA 90046






A Star for Cate Blanchett…

Saturday, December 6th, 2008


Blanchett gets star on Walk of Fame



December 6, 2008


Cate Blanchett has become the owner of a valuable piece of Hollywood real estate, while Nicole Kidman ended a rocky week with more bad career news.


Blanchett was awarded a star on Hollywood’s famed Walk of Fame on Friday.


“Oh my goodness,” Blanchett, on her knees, shrieked when the star was revealed during a ceremony attended by two directors from her stellar career, Steven Spielberg and David Fincher.


Blanchett became the 2,376th star to be honoured along Hollywood Boulevard, joining Kidman and the greats of the film and TV industry to literally cement their place in history.


The 39-year-old Sydneysider was quite impressed by the location of her star outside one of the boulevard’s iconic structures, The Egyptian Theatre.


“Location, location, location,” Blanchett joked.


“I thought I’d be outside the men’s urinals like five miles from here, but I’m outside the Egyptian which is also incredible to me.”


Blanchett is in Los Angeles to promote what could lead to her fifth Oscar nomination in nine years, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, directed by Fincher and co-starring Brad Pitt.


“This is utterly incredible to me,” Blanchett told the large crowd of media, fans and tourists who crowded around the sidewalk ceremony.


“The iconography of this is not only famous in this country, but around the world.”


The news was not so good for fellow Aussie Kidman, who has lost her crown as Hollywood’s highest paid actress, according to the Hollywood Reporter‘s annual list.


Last year Kidman topped the list with the $US17 million she earned for the maligned sci-fi film, The Invasion, beating Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz, but the redhead did not get a mention this year, falling completely out of contention.


Jolie is the new queen, thanks to the $US15 million she earned for the action film, Wanted, and is likely to earn $US18 million for a Wanted sequel.


Roberts was second with $US15 million for her film, Duplicity, while third was Reese Witherspoon after her $US14 million pay cheque for the new romantic comedy, Four Holidays.


Diaz was also on the skids, dropping from $US15 million a film to $US10 million, then Jennifer Aniston ($US8 million), Katherine Heigl ($US6 million a film and $US225,000 per episode for Grey’s Anatomy), Kate Hudson ($US7 million) and Anne Hathaway ($US5 million).


Actors still earn higher wages than actresses, with Pitt, Will Smith and Johnny Depp all pulling in pay days of $US20 million-plus per movie.



Kiefer Sutherland Gets Star…

Friday, December 5th, 2008


Kiefer Sutherland to get Walk of Fame Star



Kiefer Sutherland is to be honoured with the 2,377th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Tuesday. December 9, 2008.


The actor’s father Donald Sutherland and moviemaker Joel Schumacher will be on hand to pay tribute to the 24 star at the unveiling ceremony outside the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard.



Fight Over Mary Pickford’s Oscars…

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Trial over Mary Pickford’s Oscars opens in L.A.



Academy hopes to prevent heirs from selling the famous statuettes

The Associated Press
Wed., Dec. 3, 2008

LOS ANGELES – Jurors deciding the fate of Oscars awarded to silent film star Mary Pickford were treated during the trial’s opening Wednesday to a taste of Hollywood, complete with props, fancy visuals and a little intrigue.


Pickford was part of early Hollywood’s royalty and a founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which presented her two Academy Awards over her lifetime.


Heirs of a woman married to Pickford’s third husband, actor and band leader Buddy Rogers, hope to sell a statuette given to the actress for her performance in 1929’s Coquette. They claim their mother, Beverly Rogers, wanted the Oscar sold and the money donated to charity.


They also claim they are not bound to academy restrictions barring the sale of honorary Oscars awarded later to Pickford and Rogers.


But the academy has sued to stop any sale, claiming that Pickford agreed to rules allowing the organization to purchase the award back for $10. They say they are trying to protect their most important symbol.


Just in case anyone needed a reminder what that is, academy lawyers had placed a pair of Oscar statuettes on a table, the little gold men directly facing the jury box.


To explain the case — and Pickford’s importance to a jury comprised mostly of people too young to remember her work — Wednesday’s opening statements featured a lengthy biography of the actress known as “America’s Sweetheart.”


Brangelina of early Hollywood

Before her marriage to Rogers, Pickford was the wife of Douglas Fairbanks, an influential actor, director and producer.


Academy attorney Chris Tayback likened the pair to a contemporary power couple. “They were comparable to Brad and Angelina,” Tayback said.


To help jurors follow the story of Pickford’s life and the journey of her Oscars, Tayback displayed photos of the actress, images of documents with highlighted passages and even a timeline onto a large screen near jurors. He also played the complete presentation of an honorary Oscar given to Pickford in 1976 in her lavish Beverly Hills home, which was a wedding gift from Fairbanks.


It was that award — and a signature attributed to Pickford on a document agreeing not to sell any of her Oscars — that the academy claims gives it the right to block any sale.


Attorneys for Rogers’ heirs said Wednesday that they will introduce testimony casting doubt on whether Pickford signed that agreement, and contend that Rogers’ heirs aren’t bound to it anyway because they’re not heirs to Pickford’s estate.


Besides, attorney Mark Passin told jurors, the agreement was signed after the 1976 Oscar was given to Pickford. “She already owned the statuette,” he said, adding his contention that made the agreement “unenforceable.”


Passin said Pickford would have likely approved of selling her best-actress Oscar and donating the proceeds to charity.



Anna Sten’s Birthday…

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Happy 100th Birthday

Anna Sten!




 née Anel Sudakevich


  • BORN: December 3, 1908, Kiev, Ukraine, Russia
  • DIED: November 12, 1993, New York, New York
  • CAUSE OF DEATH: Heart attack
  • BURIAL: Ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean



Walk of Fame Star for Cate Blanchett…

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008


Cate Blanchett to get Walk of Fame Star




Academy Award-winning Hollywood actress and stage director, Cate Blanchett is set to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


The Australian actress will be the 2,376th celebrity to be given the honour, which was first created in 1958. The first star, awarded on February 9, 1960, went to Joanne Woodward.  


Hollywood director Steven Spielberg and David Fincher – the director of Blanchett”s upcoming film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – will accompany Cate for the unveiling of her star in front of the Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard on December 5th.


Meanwhile the Parkland actress’ new film, alongside Hollywood actor Brad Pitt, will be released in America on the Christmas Day.


Blanchett came to international attention in the 1998 film Elizabeth, directed by Shekhar Kapur, in which she played Elizabeth I of England. She is married to playwright and screenwriter Andrew Upton, since 29th December 1997.



Trouble in Oz…

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Trouble in ‘Oz’: the Munchkins’ dirty secret



Betty Ann Bruno, 77, left, Priscilla Clark, 79, and Ardith Todd, 78 were Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz.


Snubbed at a Hollywood event, women hold own reunion to share memories of film shoot.


By Stephen Cox
Los Angeles Times
December 2, 2008


If you thought you knew everything there was to know about the iconic film classic The Wizard of Oz, then here’s a twister for you.


Everyone knows about the Munchkins, portrayed by 124 pituitary midgets in the 1939 motion picture starring Judy Garland. These days, the word “Munchkin” — now included in some dictionaries — is synonymous with small. Credited in the film as the Singer Midgets, the diminutive cast was comprised of little people from all over the United States, with the core group being part of the famous troupe of performing midgets managed by Leo Singer.   (Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)



Jean Hersholt in the 1930 Census…

Monday, December 1st, 2008


Jean Hersholt


Film actor

Dr. Friedrich Juttner in The Student Prince (1927)





 602 North Rodeo Drive

Beverly Hills, Los Angeles County, California


 Owned, $40,000


Census taken on April 9, 1930




  1. Jean Hersholt (head), 44 / Denmark (1914) / Actor / Motion pictures.
  2. Via Hersholt (wife), 37 / Denmark (1914) / None.
  3. Allan Hersholt (son), 15 / California / None.
  4. Hattie R. Bachers (servant), 44 / widowed / Maid / Private family.


NOTE: Jean Hersholt is the namesake for the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award given to qualified recipients by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Hersholt is also the uncle of actor Leslie Nielson.




* Information includes relationship to head of household, age / place of birth (year of arrival in this country, if applicable) / occupation / industry.


The preceeding text is taken from my recent book, Celebrities in the 1930 Census (McFarland & Co., Inc., 2008). This directory provides an extensive listing of household information collected for over 2,265 famous or notorious individuals who were alive during the 1930 United States Census. Please note: The above photographs do not appear in the book.



Hollywood Santa Parade…

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Hollywood Santa Parade still sparkles at 80


About 10,000 people turned out Sunday for the 80th Hollywood Santa Parade. The event was canceled in March 2007 when the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce found it could no longer afford to produce the event. But the city of Los Angeles rode to the rescue and put on a renamed event last year that kept the tradition going. “This was something that I couldn’t in good conscience let die,” City Council President Eric Garcetti told The Times last year. “This parade is one of the last free things families can do.”


This year, organizers added a Winterfest street festival to the band-filled pageant.


By Jean Merl
Los Angeles Times
December 1, 2008


Call it the parade that almost wasn’t.


When the annual Hollywood Santa Parade began shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday, it would have been hard to guess that the tradition dating back to 1928 had nearly faded into history a little more than a year ago.


The band-filled pageantry — which began 80 years ago as the Santa Claus Lane Parade and later was known as the Hollywood Christmas Parade — was canceled in March 2007, when its sponsor, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, found it could no longer afford to produce the event. It had cost $1 million in 2006 and had left the chamber with a $100,000 deficit.


But at the last minute, after months of lobbying by Hollywood holiday parade boosters, the city of Los Angeles rode to the rescue and put on a re-named event last year that kept the tradition going.


“This was something that I couldn’t in good conscience let die,” City Council President Eric Garcetti told The Times last year. “This parade is one of the last free things families can do.” (Unless, of course, they wanted to trade a curbside spot for a grandstand seat, which cost $35.)


This year, city officials partnered with Radio Disney and other sponsors to put on Winterfest, a street festival leading up to the parade.


The parade followed its familiar, U-shaped route along Hollywood and Sunset boulevards.


“I’m very happy to keep this great holiday tradition in Hollywood,” Councilman Tom LaBonge, one of the city’s most enthusiastic boosters, told City News Service.


“Long live the Hollywood Santa Parade,” LaBonge added.


Merl is a Times staff writer