A star is Born (1937)
A continuation of my visit to film and television locations in the Los Angeles area as a means to “walk the walk” of my novel’s characters and bring realism to my storytelling. This week, The Biltmore.
The Millennium Biltmore Hotel
The Biltmore is a luxury hotel located at Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles. It will play a role in my upcoming sequel to Anything Short of Murder – a novel which is due to be released mid- 2013. The hotel had its grand opening in 1923, and was then the largest hotel west of Chicago. Designed by the architectural firm of Schultze and Weaver, it incorporates Spanish- Italian, Mediterranean Revival, and Beaux Arts styles.
Side entrance at Biltmore for those special guests
The interior has frescoed mural ceilings hand painted in 1922 by Italian artist, Giovanni Smeraldi. I was taken by these, as I was by the marble fountains, oak paneled walls, tapestries, and exquisite crystal chandeliers.
A Closer look at the frescoe ceiling
What was the main lobby is now used for afternoon tea, and the current lobby can be found by entering in at Grand Avenue. This new lobby has travertine walls, oak paneling, and if you were to wander off to a sitting room across from the desk you’d discover a beautiful mural influenced by either Roman or Greek design.
Rendezvous Court (original lobby)
Returning to the original lobby, known today as the Rendezvous Court, you will find a beautifully carved fountain, Italian chandeliers, a ceiling painted with 24 carat gold accents, and a staircase that can be recognized from numerous television, feature film, and T.V. ad productions.
A Look at the detailed ceiling
Owned by Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, the Biltmore was designated in 2009, a Historic- Cultural Monument by the City of Los Angeles.
A Hall at the Biltmore
The Los Angeles Biltmore was the location of the Academy Award Ceremonies in 1937, held as a luncheon banquet in its Crystal Ballroom March of that year. A hallway displays photographs from that and other similar events where you can pick out such noted individuals as Walt Disney, Gracie Allen, and Louis B. Mayer. Bob Hope hosted the banquet for the Academy’s 50th Anniversary here as well.
The 1937 Academy Award luncheon
Other events of note:
At the Biltmore, John F. Kennedy gave his presidential acceptance speech in 1960, and the Beatles occupied the President’s Suite during their tour in 1964.
To mention just a few feature films shot here:
Jennifer Garner as Elektra in 2003’s Daredevil
The original A Star is Born(1937) with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March; Daredevil(2003)* with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Bugsy(1991) with Warren Beatty and Annette Bening; and Chinatown(1974) with Jack Nicholson.
Poster from Chinatown (1974)
* Another Marvel Comic Book character, Spider-man (2002 ) also filmed here.
To mention some television shows:
The original Charlie’s Angels (1976)
There was Columbo (1968-2003) with Peter Falk; Charlie’s Angels (1976-1981) with Jaclyn Smith, Farrah Fawcett-Majors, and Kate Jackson; and 24 (2001-2010) with Kiefer Sutherland.
My friend, Peter Falk as Columbo
Walking through this magnificent hotel was like visiting the Vatican. Filled with awe inspiring murals, beautifully carved marble fountains, and detailed bronze work; how could an author walk away without being moved enough to include it in his manuscript?
Author Tony Piazza and wife Susan in original lobby
My detective, Tom Logan will definitely pay it a visit in his newest adventure. Hope you’ll read it and see the Biltmore through his own eyes when the novel is released next year!
Look for the new Tom Logan mystery coming in 2013
Tony Piazza is author of the 1930s Hollywood murder mystery novel, “Anything Short of Murder,” which had its roots on the TCM fan website. His next novel, “The Curse of the Crimson Dragon” was released early 2012 and is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. He was an actor/extra during the 1970s and worked with such legends as Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and Karl Malden. His non-fiction e-book “Bullitt Points” is an in depth look at the making of “Bullitt” from a person who was there. Look for it where fine books are sold, or at the link posted below. All profits go to the Boys Republic charity: www.bullittpoints.com.