Archive for the ‘Hollywood News’ Category

Hollywoodland signs stolen

Saturday, April 30th, 2011


Another mystery beneath the Hollywood sign


 Two historic monument plaques, as shown in a book, are missing from a stone gate in Beachwood Canyon. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)


First it was directional signs for tourists that vanished, and now 1923 bronze ‘Hollywoodland’ plaques marking the stone gateway to the community have disappeared. Theories abound.


By Bob Pool
Los Angeles Times
April 27, 2011


Residents living on the narrow lanes beneath the Hollywood sign have quarreled for months over small directional signs pointing tourists to a place where the iconic Tinseltown symbol can be viewed and photographed.


The road signs benefited homeowners on the street that dead-ends at the locked fire road that leads to Mt. Lee and the Hollywood sign. Unfortunately, the signs funneled sightseers and tour buses onto other nearby streets. Then the signs mysteriously disappeared. Whether that’s a crime depends on which street you live on.


But now real thieves have stolen two signs that nearly everyone in the hillside neighborhood mourns losing: the historic 1923 “Hollywoodland” bronze plaques that marked the stone gateway to the community.


Click here to continue reading the above Los Angeles Times article



Hollywood Forever offers to buy Grandview

Sunday, April 24th, 2011


Hollywood Forever Cemetery makes an offer on Glendale’s Grand View


 Grand View cemetery


The Hollywood facility’s executives say they have the expertise to turn around the troubled Grand View Memorial Park, where state officials in 2005 found 4,000 bodies improperly buried.


By Mark Kellam
April 25, 2011


The owners of Hollywood Forever Cemetery say they are interested in buying Glendale’s troubled Grand View Memorial Park, which fell into scandal in 2005 when investigators discovered that 4,000 people had been improperly buried.


The sale of Grand View — where public access has been limited for years since the facility fell into a state of disrepair — is required under the terms of a $3.8-million settlement of a class-action lawsuit against the cemetery’s operators.


The lawsuit came in the wake of a 2005 state investigation that found the remains of 4,000 people who had not been properly buried. The cemetery shut down a year later. It reopened with a new operator but closed again due to financial struggles.


Now, a $500,000 restoration of the cemetery grounds — including a new irrigation system and the removal of dilapidated buildings for additional grave space — is about 85% complete, said Paul Ayers, the attorney for the plaintiffs’ families who was appointed to oversee the restoration.


Several potential buyers have expressed interest in the property, but Ayers cautioned that a sale could take several years as final settlement details are worked out.


“I think there are bona fide people interested in the cemetery,” he said. “But I’ve been around this end of the cemetery business for a long time, and it’s very slow.”


Hollywood Forever officials on Monday said they have a list of ideas for making Grand View a viable business again, citing their experience in turning around the Hollywood cemetery, which was on the verge of closure when they bought it in 1998.


“We have made a formal offer,” said Hollywood Forever President Tyler Cassity. “The offer is with the ownership interests; we can do nothing further until they resolve their interests.”


Hollywood Forever, the final resting place for a long list of celebrities, is now an active cemetery and regularly hosts community events, including summer movie screenings.


“It was a bankrupt cemetery,” said Yogu Kanthiah, Hollywood Forever’s chief executive. “We took over the cemetery and turned it around, and now it is a cultural landmark for the community.”


The state will have to sign off on any buyer.


“I think the state is going to be extremely discerning about who they allow to purchase that property,” Ayers said. “They’re going to want to see someone who has expertise in this field.”


In the meantime, family members will continue to be confined to limited openings at Grand View, with the first of the year scheduled for Memorial Day.



Land around Hollywood Sign saved!

Monday, April 26th, 2010


Hugh Hefner is final donor, land around Hollywood Sign saved!



April 26, 2010


The Trust for Public Land (TPL) today announced it has raised enough money to buy and protect the 138 acres behind the world-famous Hollywood Sign, as Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner stepped forward to close the gap with a $900,000 donation toward the $12.5 million needed.


“Today, we have the Hollywood ending we hoped for and now Cahuenga Peak will be forever protected by adding it to Griffith Park,” said Will Rogers, TPL President. “We want to thank the thousands of donors worldwide who so generously helped us, and we owe a particular thanks to Hugh Hefner, who stepped forward at the end to close the final gap.”


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, an early supporter of the effort, said, “Of all the iconic landmarks in the world, the Hollywood Sign is truly one of the most recognizable symbols of the California dream and land of opportunity. It called to me when I left Austria and made my way to the U.S., with a few dollars in my pocket and the dream of becoming an actor. I am proud we were able to come together and create a public-private partnership to protect this historic symbol that will continue to welcome dreamers, artists and Austrian bodybuilders for generations to come.”


“This is a great day for all of us,” said Los Angeles Council Member Tom LaBonge. “I have climbed Mt. Hollywood every morning for over 30 years and look forward to hiking Cahuenga Peak with anyone who wants to join me. This would not have happened without The Trust for Public Land, the Hollywood Sign Trust and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. And a very special thanks to a man who, like me, loves nature, loves people and provided great strength to bring us to this point, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.”


Hefner’s gift capped a year-long effort, which began with $1 million gifts each from The Tiffany & Co. Foundation and Aileen Getty. At the original April 14 deadline, TPL still had $1.5 million to raise. TPL received a fundraising extension to April 30, and The Tiffany Foundation and Ms. Getty stepped forward again with a $500,000 matching grant, which TPL would receive if the remaining $1 million was raised. Hefner’s gift closed that final gap and enabled TPL to realize the Tiffany and Getty challenge funds.


“My childhood dreams and fantasies came from the movies, and the images created in Hollywood had a major influence on my life and Playboy,” said Playboy founder Hugh M. Hefner. “As I’ve said before, the Hollywood sign is Hollywood’s Eiffel Tower and I am pleased to help preserve such an important cultural landmark.”


Chris Baumgart, Chair of the Hollywood Sign Trust, said, “The Sign you see today exists because Hugh Hefner raised the money in 1978 to re-build it. Now, 32 years later, the Sign’s number 1 fan has come forward again with the closing gift to ‘Save the Peak’ and thus the view of Mt. Lee and the Hollywood Sign. It is a view that is recognized around the world as the icon of the entertainment industry and the postcard of the Southern California lifestyle. The Hollywood Sign Trust and admirers from around the world thank Tom LaBonge for believing and not giving up, and Hugh Hefner for carrying our efforts across the finish line.”


“I thank Hugh Hefner and Aileen Getty for their critical contributions, along with everyone whose generous spirit moved them to join the campaign to save one of America’s most famous urban spaces,” said Michael J. Kowalski, chairman and CEO of Tiffany & Co. “The threat to its existence underscores the need for partnerships like ours with TPL who can work together to protect our cultural assets for future generations.”


Ms. Getty, a long-time Hollywood resident, said, “I’m proud to support TPL’s efforts in conserving this magical place. With all of the needs facing our urban communities today, this successful effort reminds us that we also need beauty, green spaces, trails and parkland to prepare our communities for a healthy, more livable future.”


Joseph T. Edmiston, Executive Director of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, said, “The protection of this land is something which will provide an enormous benefit to people in Los Angeles, both now and for generations to come. And it wouldn’t have happened without Gov. Schwarzenegger’s leadership, and with help from TPL. This project has shown a welcome spotlight on the need to protect open lands in Los Angeles.”


John Donnelly, Executive Director of the Wildlife Conservation Board, said, “The permanent protection of Cahuenga Peak is a significant addition to Griffith park that will greatly enhance recreation opportunities for visitors and residents of Los Angeles and enhance wildlife corridors throughout the region.”


Hollywood leaders donated $3.2 million, including major donations from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, CBS Corporation, The Entertainment Industry Foundation, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, the Lucasfilm Foundation, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Steven Spielberg, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Time Warner Inc., and The Walt Disney Company Foundation. Other Hollywood contributors include Creative Artists Agency, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, and Norman Lear.


There was a groundswell of support for the project in Los Angeles, with local residents holding rallies, bake sales, and fund-raising concerts on the Sunset Strip. On Facebook, more than 27,000 supporters have signed up. Viral videos have chronicled the partnership’s efforts.


In April, 2009, TPL signed an option to buy the 138 acres behind, and to the left, of the sign’s “H”, stretching west to Cahuenga Peak. The land was originally bought in 1940 by industrialist Howard Hughes who intended to build a home for his girlfriend, actress Ginger Rogers. But the relationship ended and after Hughes died, his estate sold the property in 2002 to a group of Chicago investors. They put the property on the market two years ago for $22 million. It is zoned to build four luxury homes.


TPL is a national, nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural places. Since 1972, TPL has completed 4,500 projects in 47 states, protecting 2.8 million acres. Visit


Save Cahuenga Peak



Save the Hollywood Sign

Thursday, February 11th, 2010


Welcome to Sallywood? Iconic LA landmark gets facelift




Los Angeles Times
February 11, 2010


LOS ANGELES (AFP) — One of the world’s most recognizable landmarks — the giant Hollywood sign in Los Angeles — was undergoing a facelift Thursday as activists ramped up a campaign to preserve the iconic symbol.


An environmental group bidding to raise around 12.5 million dollars to purchase a 138-acre (55-hectare) parcel of rugged land surrounding the sign had begun draping bright red letters over the popular tourist attraction.


The Trust for Public Land will shroud each of the sign’s 45-foot (13-meter) high letters in blankets so that the slogan “SAVE THE PEAK” becomes visible for miles around the sprawling Californian city.


By 5:30pm Thursday, the first two letters of the sign had been covered, leaving the landmark to read “SALLYWOOD.”


Activists will remove the slogan next Tuesday, Trust for Public Land spokesman Tim Ahern said. “Everybody in the city will be able to see the message ‘Save the Peak,'” Ahern told AFP.


The Hollywood sign, which was initially created as an advert for a real estate development in 1923, is owned by the city of Los Angeles.


However the mountainous land surrounding the famous white letters is owned by a Chicago-based consortium who have acquired rights to build four luxury mansions along the ridgeline.


Activists protested the plans, saying the sign would be blighted if the properties were built, and sought to buy the land from the consortium, which agreed to sell it for 12.5 million dollars if the money was paid by April 14.


“So far we’ve raised about seven million dollars. We’re hoping that what we are doing this week will help us raise the other 5.5 million,” Ahern said.


One of the City of Angels’ most beloved attractions, the Hollywood sign had fallen into disrepair until it was restored in the 1970s after a campaign which saw nine donors pay 27,777 dollars to “adopt” one letter each.


Although members of the public are forbidden from accessing the area around the landmark — a sophisticated alarm system including motion sensors has been set up to deter trespassers — the sign has a grisly history.


In 1932 British actress Peg Entwistle infamously committed suicide by throwing herself off the top of the letter H.


Click here to read article at the Los Angeles Times



Hollywood Wax Wars

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009


Is Hollywood big enough for two wax museums?


Wax war on Hollywood Boulevard


Some locals and observers worry that business will melt away for the aging Hollywood Wax Museum with the opening of a Madame Tussauds. But representatives of both play down any rivalry.


By Hugo Martin
Los Angeles Times
July 22, 2009


 A wax war is heating up on Hollywood Boulevard.


For 44 years, the Hollywood Wax Museum has been Tinseltown’s only wax attraction featuring celebrities, a monopoly that has kept it open through wars, recessions and riots.


But that all is changing with the opening of Madame Tussauds, Hollywood Boulevard’s newest multimillion-dollar attraction, next to the historic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.


The 40,000-square-foot building officially opens to the public Aug. 1, but visitors can get early admission starting today. Inside, they’ll see 115 wax figures, including representations of President Obama, Samuel L. Jackson and Marilyn Monroe.


Click here to continue reading



Paving on Sunset…

Saturday, April 18th, 2009


Sunset Boulevard gets a face-lift


Sunset Blvd paving


By Allan R. Ellenberger
April 18, 2009


FINALLY! The well-travelled strip of Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard — between La Brea and Highland — is getting a much needed repaving. For as many years as I can remember, this section of the boulevard, in the heart of Hollywood, has been a disaster.


For some reason, travelling on this two-city-blocks of roadway was like maneuvering through land-mines. Years of patching created un-even bumps and the pot holes were large enough to swallow a Volkswagen.


Hollywood High on Sunset


For those not familiar with this area, the one landmark here is Hollywood High School (above) at the corner of Sunset and Highland.


Even though I live one block from this section, I’ve always tried to avoid it — now I can drive freely though the traffic jams just like other Angelenos. However, be warned that Susent Boulevard will be closed between these two intersections most of the weekend. So, as Bette Davis always advised, “Take Fountain!”


Sunrise over Hollywood

Sunrise over Hollywood



Hollywood Convent in Danger…

Thursday, April 9th, 2009


Supporters band together to save Hollywood convent famous for pumpkin bread


Hollywood Convent

Sister Mary Raymond, left, monastery prioress, laughs with Sister Mary Raphael as they join visitors. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times) April 3, 2009


Monastery of the Angels has seen declines in its donations, gift shop revenue and investment income. A five-member panel of finance experts is helping it create a rescue plan.


By Bob Pool
Los Angeles Times
April 9, 2009


They’re being forced to live on crumbs, so nuns at a Hollywood convent famous for its pumpkin bread are warning that they may have to slice up the place for development.


The threat of a shutdown of the 75-year-old Monastery of the Angels below the Hollywood sign has prompted neighbors and supporters to mount a campaign to save the four-acre religious retreat.    (Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)



Hollywood Wax Figures for Sale…

Friday, April 3rd, 2009


Hollywood Wax Museum to auction 200 celebs



Bring Marilyn Monroe home, help preserve historic Walk of Fame


The Associated Press
Thurs., April. 2, 2009

LOS ANGELES – Want to permanently share your home with James Dean, Marilyn Monroe or all four Beatles?


The Hollywood Wax Museum is offering wax representations of these and nearly 200 other celebrities at the first auction in its 44-year history, set for May 1.


Fans can bid on political figures, such as George Washington and Bill Clinton, and athletes like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan. Musicians such as Cher, Stevie Wonder and the Fab Four will be available, along with TV and film stars including Lucille Ball, Johnny Carson, Will Smith and Charlie Chaplin.


The auction will be administered by Profiles in History and a portion of the profits will support efforts to preserve Hollywood’s historic Walk of Fame.



Hollywood Developer Files for Bankruptcy…

Thursday, February 19th, 2009


Hollywood’s First Ghost Building? Madrone Developer Files for Bankruptcy


By Dakota
Curbed LA
February 19, 2009


2009.02.constmad.jpg This one was coming: Southern California homebuilder John Laing, which has been pretty mum amid plenty of damning reports, has filed for Chapter 11. Bloomberg News reports that WL Homes LLC, which owns John Laing Homes, filed Chapter 11 documents today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware. Via the newswire: “Irvine, California-based WL Homes, which also does business as John Laing Homes, traces its history to 1848, when its predecessor was a homebuilder in the U.K. WL Homes was formed in 1998 when John Laing merged with Watt Homes, according to court documents.” According to the filings, the company blamed the collapse of the real estate market and listed assets of more than $1 billion and debt of $500 million-$1 billion. Last month, the company stopped work on the Hollywood Madrone, that 180-unit condominium development at the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and La Brea Ave.  


The company is behind the Element (pictured) and Indigo in the Marina Del Rey arts district, both of which are completed. According to John Laing’s web site, there are three units left in Indigo. Element also has sold some units, but it’s not clear to us how many have moved.


Additionally, the company is behind Icon project in Playa Vista. Stopping by Icon last weekend, we were told by a sales rep that only four units are left for sale in the development. The sale agent doesn’t keep regular hours and is available by appointment only.


Additionally, Emaar Properties owns Beverly West, that under-construction luxury condominium rising on Wilshire Blvd. Last month, real estate agent Brian Adler, who is representing the project, told us that Emaar Properties directly controls that project, rather than John Laing. It’s not immediately clear what’s going on with that project.



A Job for Superman?…

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009


Costumed characters on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame allege attacks by music vendors, seek officials’ help


Hollywood Blvd. characters


Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times
Actors dressed as Cleopatra, Tinker Bell and Batman hang out on Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Hollywood & Highland shopping complex. Dozens of costumed characters work a short stretch of the street, charging passersby who want to snap photos. There is said to be increasing tensions between the characters and music vendors who work the same area.

A series of assaults near Grauman’s Chinese Theatre has led to a plea for a city licensing system that costumed actors who pose for photos hope will protect them.

By Bob Pool
Los Angeles Times
February 11, 2009


Holy Hollywood ending, Batman! Maybe this is a job for Superman!


That’s what Robin was probably thinking after the superhero sidekick was attacked and pummeled as he strolled in his mask, cape and tights among tourists on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.


A series of assaults near Grauman’s Chinese Theatre has led to a plea for a city licensing system that costumed characters who pose for visitors’ photos hope will protect them.    (Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)