Archive for March, 2012

Hollywood Heritage on proposed studio demolition

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012


Hollywood Heritage comments on the proposed demolition of the historic Pickford-Fairbanks Studio


In recent days, there have been inconsistent reports of the scope of the demolition, ranging from the demolition of select buildings to leaving only a facade remnant along Santa Monica Blvd.


Unfortunately, this is a case which stretches back a number of years and received approval at that time for the scope of work then submitted. The original development plan was approved in 1993. In 2006, the City of West Hollywood issued a Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a revised development plan, focusing on the project’s impacts on historic resources.


Both the Los Angeles Conservancy and Hollywood Heritage testified at the Planning Commission and the City Council hearings, focusing on the Supplemental EIR’s failure to consider alternatives to demolition. In May 2007, the West Hollywood City Council approved a revised development plan that included the demolition of some, but not all of the buildings at the site.


Any loss of a building which relates to community and industry leaders like Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford is a significant loss. In addition to the studio, Pickford and Fairbanks were also instrumental in the construction of the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel and the formation of the Motion Picture Academy and the Motion Picture Country Home.


For more information, please go to the Hollywood Heritage website which will be updated as the project develops: Hollywood Heritage. Information is also available on the Los Angeles Conservancy website at Los Angeles  Conservancy



Old United Artists Studio to be razed

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012


Storied West Hollywood studio buildings to be demolished




The studio lot, once owned by Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, has had many names and housed many productions over the years. Its new owner intends to raze and replace several buildings.


By Bob Pool
Los Angeles Times
March 26, 2012


Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks worked there. So did Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Clark Gable, Marlon Brando and practically everyone else. Soon, though, wrecking crews will be at work at the storied West Hollywood movie lot at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Formosa Avenue.


Once known as the Warner Hollywood Studio, it’s now called “The Lot.” Its new owner, CIM Group, intends to raze its aging wooden office buildings and sound-dubbing stages and replace them with glass-and-steel structures.


According to West Hollywood planning officials, the first phase of work involves the demolition of the studio’s Pickford Building — built in 1927 and remodeled in 1936 — and Goldwyn Building, which was built in 1932 and is used for sound editing. Later phases will involve the removal of the studio’s Writers Building, Fairbanks Building and Editorial Building and a block-long row of production offices that line Santa Monica Boulevard. Replacement buildings will rise to six stories.


The redevelopment plans have riled many in the entertainment industry, particularly those who know the studio from past film shoots and television programs. “A lot of people have a lot of affection for the place,” said Doug Haines, a film editor who has worked on movies there for two decades. “You really had a sense of history when you worked there. Another glass building — that certainly says ‘Old Hollywood,’ doesn’t it?” CIM Group executives declined to discuss details of their development plans.


Film and TV production companies that rent space at the studio say owners have let leases expire in buildings slated for demolition.


The studio was built in 1919 by silent-movie maker Jesse Hampton. A short time later, he sold the lot to screen stars Pickford and Fairbanks, who renamed the 18-acre place Pickford-Fairbanks Studio. It later became known as the United Artists Studio when the pair teamed up with Chaplin and D.W. Griffith to form United Artists. Over the years, the now-11-acre lot was also called the Samuel Goldwyn Studio and the Warner Hollywood Studio.


The studio’s old buildings are packed with tradition. Legend holds that a tunnel once connected the soundstages to a bar across the street — the Formosa Cafe — so that stars like Errol Flynn could slip off for drinks between scenes without being pestered by fans. Fairbanks had a steam bath and gym and is said to have had a private outdoor area where he could exercise in the nude. Eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, who kept an office at the studio during his movie-making days, had a secret garage he could wheel into from Santa Monica Boulevard and park without anybody noticing.


One studio building was said to be equipped with an ornate wooden door hand-built by Harrison Ford, who was working as a studio carpenter when he was “discovered” by filmmaker George Lucas. Director Sam Peckinpah not only worked at the lot but lived there as well in the 1970s. “Sam had a suite on the ground floor of the Writers Building right down the corridor from Mike Medavoy’s office,” recalled producer Katy Haber, who worked with Peckinpah on eight feature films at the studio. “He used one of the rooms as a bedroom.” Haber said Peckinpah loved the place. “Working at a studio like that, you always felt you were part of it. It was a creative environment. I’m sad to see anything with an historical heritage torn down. The walls there speak multitudes. It’s sad indeed: Developers aren’t into aesthetics or history.”


Although West Hollywood has described the studio as a landmark, officials have never taken action to formally designate it as one. A street sign on Santa Monica Boulevard in front of the studio calls it a “historic building.” But smaller print on the sign labels it “Potential Cultural Resource No. 60.”


West Hollywood senior planner David DeGrazia said that CIM Group intends to begin demolition in a few weeks and that construction will be done in six phases. The project will more than double the studio’s space to 671,087 square feet, he said. Three new soundstages will join the seven that are now mostly used for production of the HBO vampire series “True Blood,” according to plans filed with West Hollywood. DeGrazia said the development agreement expires in March 2013, although he said CIM Group’s position is that the agreement remains in place once construction of the first phase begins. Complicating things is that the West Hollywood-Los Angeles city boundary slices through several sound-dubbing buildings on the south edge of the studio lot.


A nearby bungalow that Frank Sinatra used when he worked on the lot is on the Los Angeles side of the boundary. It is out of West Hollywood’s jurisdiction, although the six-room structure is listed by DeGrazia as scheduled for demolition.


As part of the development agreement, CIM Group will preserve a wall-like facade that extends along Santa Monica Boulevard around Hughes’ secret garage entrance. Preservationists at the Los Angeles Conservancy said they have been asked to help get historic landmark status conferred on the whole studio to block the demolition. “We’ve gotten calls from people who are concerned. The problem is it’s an approved development. The West Hollywood City Council essentially has already approved the project,” said Adrian Scott Fine, the conservancy’s director of advocacy. “Saving a facade is not preservation.”



Val Kilmer as Mark Twain at The Masonic Lodge

Monday, March 26th, 2012


Val Kilmer as Mark Twain in Citizen Twain



 Written and directed by Val Kilmer 


The Historic Masonic Lodge at

Hollywood Forever


Tickets are $60 – PARKING IS FREE ON SITE

Student and Senior tickets are available!

Tickets are ON SALE NOW at:


Due to an unforeseen scheduling conflict, the opening weekend workshop performances of Citizen Twain have been rescheduled to alternate dates.


The updated confirmed dates for all the performances are as follows:


  • Friday, March 30th, 2012 – doors 7pm – show 8pm
  • Saturday, March 31st, 2012 – doors 7pm – show 8pm
  • Sunday, April 1st, 2012 – Matinee – doors 2pm – show 3pm
  • Sunday, April 1st, 2012 – doors 7pm – show 8pm
  •  Saturday, April 7th, 2012 – doors 7pm – show 8pm
  • Sunday, April 8th, 2012 – Matinee – doors 2pm – show 3pm
  • Sunday, April 8th, 2012 – doors 7pm – show 8pm
  •  Wednesday, April 11th, 2012 – doors 7pm – show 8pm


*** All performances will be followed by a Q&A with the artist! ***


Val Kilmer will present 8 workshop performance of his one man play, Citizen Twain, in a limited run at The Historic Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.


“The recent news of my death has been greatly exaggerated.” – Mark Twain


Created and performed by acclaimed actor Val Kilmer, and seen recently in development by sold out audiences in venues in Los Angeles such as Disney Concert Hall, Tim Robbins’ The Actors’ Gang, and The United States Veterans Artists’ Alliance Hall, Mr. Kilmer’s production delves into the heart and soul of Samuel Clemens and conjures forth the great spirit of Mark Twain, America’s greatest storyteller.


Deeply entertaining, with great wit, song and prose, the play weaves Twain’s biographical themes into a play that proclaims and takes joy in the marvel of words, which, as Twain says in the play, “Form the ladder to my heaven.”   Storytelling was a lifeline for Twain, and in Kilmer’s Citizen Twain, this lifeline continues into and after Twain’s death, making it an appropriate choice to perform the show within the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.


For more information on Val Kilmer please visit:

For more information on Hollywood Forever please visit:

If you have any questions and/or need photos please e-mail:


HOLLYWOOD FOREVER, 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90038



Grauman’s Chinese to celebrate 85th birthday

Sunday, March 25th, 2012


Grauman’s Chinese Theatre to offer 25-cent admission to celebrate their 85th birthday




HOLLYWOOD, (KABC) — Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is planning to offer 25-cent admission on select days in honor of the theater’s 85th birthday.


On Mondays, starting April 2, admission to the theater will only cost a quarter. That’s the same as it was on opening day in 1927.


On those Mondays, Grauman’s will show classic films which premiered there over the past eight decades. Locals and visitors alike should come and celebrate!


Thelma Todd’s Last Ride

Saturday, March 17th, 2012


The Last Ride of Thelma Todd




On Monday, December 16, 1935, the body of actress Thelma Todd was found in her car inside a garage she used near her house. After an autopsy was performed, it was determined that she died due to carbon monoxide poisoning. She spent the previous Saturday night at the Trocadero, a popular night spot on the Sunset Strip. At the inquest two days later, details of her last automobile ride was given by Ernest O. Peters, her chauffeur that evening.


“I arrived at the Trocadero at 8:55 p.m., but Miss Todd did not come out until 3:15 a.m.,” Peters told Coroner Nance.


“What was her physical condition,” Nance asked.


“She was quite sober,” Peters said. “But she was not a bit talkative. Usually she had quite a lot to say; in fact, every other time I had driven her she had conversed with me in a very friendly fashion. But on Sunday morning, after saying, ‘Let’s go home Ernie,’ she did not say another word until we reached the café.”


“Did you drive rapidly?” he was asked.


“Very fast. She always wanted to go fast. We drove between sixty-five and seventy miles an hour.”


For the first time since he had been driving Todd, she refused to have him escort her to her apartment, Peters told the Coroner’s jury.


“When Miss Todd got out of the car—I had opened the door her her—I asked her if I could escort her to her door, as had been my custom to do. But she said definitely that she did not want me to do that. I turned the car around, waited a minute until she had disappeared, walking up the driveway toward the side entrance through which she reached her apartment, and then drove on. There was no one around. Had there been I would have insisted on escorting her to her door.”


En route to the party from her beach home, Peters said she had given him a dollar to purchase a camellia. He said she took the money from her purse but did not notice whether or not there was other money in the purse. When found on her body the purse contained no money.


He said he had driven her to her beach apartment at least five times in the early morning hours in the last year and had always, until the last occasion, walked with her to the door of her apartment. He was at a loss to explain her death, he told Coroner Nance. Peters fixed the time of his arrival at her beach café with Todd at 3:45 a.m. Sunday. 



Malcolm McDowell gets Star on Walk of Fame

Saturday, March 17th, 2012


Malcolm McDowell honored with Walk of Fame Star





Malcolm McDowell was honored with the 2,465th star, outside Hollywood Boulevard’s British pub The Pig n’ Whistle, to celebrate his lengthy career, and he posed with his wife Kelley and their eldest son Beckett, eight, as the plaque was unveiled.


Speaking about his honor, McDowell told reporters, “For a lad that grew up in Liverpool (England), Hollywood was this notion of everything that was incredible in the movies, and Hollywood has meant so much to the rest of the world – we take it, because we live in LA, sort of for granted.”


And McDowell is delighted about the location of his star, adding: “My father ran a pub in Burscough in Lancashire, just outside Liverpool, so I feel that from the Bull and Dog to the Pig and Whistle (sic), it’s not that far.”


McDowell’s pal Gary Oldman was also on hand to pay tribute, revealing that the 68 year old’s performance in 1971’s The Raging Moon inspired him to become an actor.


The Harry Potter star explains, “It was like the lights went on in my life, in much the same way that John Lennon saw Elvis on screen and said ‘That’s a good job, I’d like to do that for a living’. I saw Malcolm in this film and I thought, ‘This is what I want to do’.”


Gloria Lloyd’s Obituary

Sunday, March 4th, 2012


Gloria Lloyd: Actress who had a gilded life as Harold Lloyd’s daughter




Kevin Brownlow
London Independent
February 27, 2012


The daughter of the great silent film comedian Harold Lloyd and his actress wife Mildred Davies, Gloria Lloyd had an enchanted childhood.


The first thing her father constructed, when he built a 44-room house called Greenacres in Beverly Hills in 1929, was a fairytale thatched cottage, specially for her, copied from the playhouse built for Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret Rose in England.



“I was only five when we moved to Greenacres,” she recalled, “and I was still an only child. I was overwhelmed with the whole place. But the following year, when my sister arrived, I began to get things in better perspective.” The sister, Peggy, was adopted and a brother, Harold Jr, was born soon thereafter.


“The odd thing about my brother was that he became the funny man of the family,” she said. “He had terrific wit and my father wasn’t a funny man off screen – he was more intellectual. He was a happy person with an almost childlike enjoyment of living. I think he could have lived until he was 200 and still found many interests. He had a desire to learn and enjoy. I love that quality in people and I loved it in him.’


The children were kept away from Lloyd’s film work until they were older. “That was really a treat. We’d get all dressed up and they gave us little chairs and we’d sit and watch him – and really, I didn’t believe it was my father playing a scene. It was somebody entirely different. The first film I saw of his, it scared me so much that I stood up in the theatre and said, ‘Don’t you hurt my daddy!’ They took me home and I ran into the library and threw myself into his arms, because I couldn’t believe that he hadn’t been hurt.


“Eventually, I enjoyed his films. They were a little scary but I liked them. When we were six or seven, he began to have Sunday-night movies. He’d run all the first-run releases from Paramount, MGM and Fox and we’d come down in our nightclothes and sit on our parents’ laps – and interspersed were the home movies.”


Family home movies were occasionally shot by the crew making the current Lloyd comedy – sometimes in full sound. Several were filmed at the Olympic-size pool just before the Lloyd family’s European trip in 1932. In one of them, Harold Lloyd asks tiny Harold Jr, “What kind of actor is your daddy?” and the baby blows a raspberry.


The trip was the first time Harold had been abroad, let alone the family. Lloyd had come from a poor background; his father sold sewing machines and his mother made hats.


“My dad and I were very good friends,” said Gloria. “We had a lot of fun together and he was so understanding of your personal problems. He was a very determined, positive person and rather over-protective. We locked horns a few times, because I’m determined too, but there was a great deal of love.”


In the 1930s, a spate of kidnappings transfixed Hollywood. “That was a scary time because we were old enough to know what was going on. We had two guards outside of our room with guns in holsters. Nice guys – they made fun for us children. But they used to go with us wherever we went, even to thetennis court. One taught me how to rollerskate. We weren’t allowed to go many places. So it was a very sheltered childhood.”


According to the historian Annette d’Agostino Lloyd, “As parents, Harold and Mildred were generous to thepoint of overindulgence. The children even had a private zoo.” But Harold insisted they learn the value of money. At 13, Gloria and her friends had a lemonade stand on Benedict Canyon Drive. They charged a dime a glass, but Mildred made sure they gave the profits to the church.


Gloria’s relationship with her mother, Mildred, was tense. “She was a very beautiful woman, and a very strong lady in many ways. She was like the iron fist in a velvet glove. I always wanted her to be more like a sister to me.”


Gloria was educated at Miss Barnett’s School in Cannes and Westlake School for Girls in Los Angeles, and she and her sister were students at UCLA. Lloyd ran the family on strict Victorian lines. Drinking was forbidden. Pocket money was limited to $30 a month while the girls were at college, and they were expected to travel there by bicycle.


“As we grew up we had to be heavily chaperoned. It seems a little strange now, but we went out on dates with the chauffeur and the governess. Boyfriends came to the estate and were screened by Clementine, our housekeeper for 45 years. We felt like a Hollywood royal family.”


Extremely attractive, with long blonde curls, Gloria became a successful model. Although Paramount cast her in Temptation (1946) with Merle Oberon, her film career was short-lived. She worked in radio in the 1940s. She also became a prolific painter.


In 1950, Gloria’s wedding took place by the fountain on the great lawn at Greenacres. The marriage didn’t last, and with Gloria spending longer and longer times abroad, her daughter Suzanne was brought up by Harold and Mildred. Suzanne grew up to oversee the Harold Lloyd Trust and Harold Lloyd Entertainment. Gloria had been in poor health for three years, and died on her parents’ wedding anniversary.


Mildred Gloria Lloyd Guasti Roberts, actress and model: born Los Angeles 22 May 1923; married 1950 William Guasti (marriage dissolved; one daughter), secondly John Roberts (marriage dissolved); died Santa Monica, California 10 February 2012.