Friday, 19 September 2014

A Landmark Lost - Remembering 'The Ambassador Hotel'- Los Angeles

I want to tell you about the much loved, (and much missed), 'Ambassador Hotel' in Los Angeles.

I began researching the hotel, after I read about it, in the mid 1990's. To me, it was, (and still is), fascinating on many levels.

Not only was it an abandoned, decaying building, with unique, and beautiful features, but it held so much history, so much mystery, glamour, drama, and ghosts, of an era, long gone. 

My imagination was set on fire by the place.

The hotel opened in December 1929. It became popular with many of the Hollywood stars, of the 'golden age'.Anyone who was anyone, in L.A at that time, stayed here - from Presidents to actors, writers to artists. They stayed there, lived there, partied, romanced, - and died there.

The first Oscar ceremony took place in the ballroom, as did many afterwards.

Many Hollywood movies were filmed, within its walls, including, The Graduate.

Marilyn Monroe got her first modelling job here, when she was simply, Norma Jean Baker. Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand were just a few of the greats who performed at the world famous 'Coconut Grove' nightclub, within the hotel.

Much later, it was there, (in the pantry of the hotel), that Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy, was assassinated, in June, 1968.

After those tragic events, the hotel struggled, and that was compounded, by a sharp decline in the surrounding neighbourhood.

The hotel, with its beautiful art deco features, staircases, and ever present echoes of Hollywood's history, finally closed its doors, at the end of 1989.

Between then, and its demolition, it continued to be used as a filming location.In fact, the last thing to be filmed here, was 'Bobby' - a film about the lives of (fictionalised) hotel staff, and Robert Kennedy's last campaign .The hotel was already being demolished, as the last scenes were shot.

I wish it was still standing, and I wish I could've gone there, to soak up the atmosphere, and explore the halls.

As with many places, this was so much more than just a building, and it should have been treasured, and looked after.

History is valuable, and I think sometimes, when money is involved, it is easy to forget that, and by the time you've remembered, it's often too late.

Images: Various - From 'The Ambassador Hotel - Los Angeles' (Facebook page). See link below:



1 comment:

  1. Man that place must have reeked of smoking . Wonder how many died from smoking there'mm

    FYI- I think the movie " swat " was there too