Hollywood History – The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Roosevelt_Hotel_1Since we were in Hollywood to cover the movie cars participating in the parade it was only natural that we would do a little site-seeing as well. Cindy and Colin arrived early, giving them ample opportunity to capture some interesting landmarks. Since Cindy tends to have a fascination with the paranormal and things that go bump in the night, it was only natural that she would be drawn to the famous Roosevelt Hotel, located on the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Orange Drive.

On May 25th, 1926, the ground upon which the Roosevelt would eventually stand was christened with great fanfare. While the Black Falcon Squadron hovered overhead silent screen actress Constance Talmadge (pictured below), younger sister of actress Norma Talmadge, used a silver trowel to bury a piece of parchment where the cornerstone would be placed. Clara Bow was also present at the ceremony.



In 1927, the towering structure was finally erected by the Hotel Holding Company of Hollywood, of which Joseph M. Schenck was president. Also involved as associates were C.E. Toberman, Sid Grauman, Lou Anger, I.C. Freud, Joseph Loeb, Fred Niblo, W.B. Wollner, Louis B. Mayer and Marcus Loew. It has also been claimed that Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford were in some way involved as financiers or investors as well.

The Hollywood Roosevelt soon became a popular residence, both temporary and permanent, for movie stars and other celebrities. It also saw a lot of wild parties, weddings, convention meetings, and deaths.

The hotel has a reputation for being haunted by such former residents as Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, Carole Lombard, and Clark Gable.


However, considering the plethora of tragic deaths that occurred at the Roosevelt, the old place could very well be haunted by quite a few non-famous people, such as…

Victor Gamborino Gallardo, a male dance instructor who, in December 1962, was shot once in the head and killed at the hotel by an unknown assailant.

Helen Johnson, nightclub singer working at the hotel, was last seen alive at the hotel in May 1952. Police suspected that she may have met with violence or been murdered after her husband’s body was dragged into another nearby hotel and dropped in front of the clerk’s desk.

Harry Lee, motion-picture character actor, jumped to his death from a fire escape at the Roosevelt on December 8th, 1932, landing on the roof of the third floor wing, where he died.

Frank W. Libby, who shot himself in the head in one of the rooms at the Roosevelt in June of 1929.

Fred N. Baylies, who died of a heart attack in his residence at the hotel in September 1932.

Max Baer, father of Max Baer, Jr., who played the part of Jethro on the Beverly Hillbillies, died at his residence in the hotel in June 1968 from a massive heart attack.

If you ever have a chance to stay at this historic old hotel in the heart of Hollywood, keep your eyes and ears open for a few ghostly residents.

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