Hotel Knickerbocker served as a temporary home to Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Rudolph Valentino, Three Stooges, Francis Farmer and some still live there in spirit.
The Renaissance Revival bar was a popular spot for celebrities. Silent screen star Rudolph Valentino was known to ride his horse down from the hills and dance the tango to the live music in this bar. Marilyn Monroe used to sneak through the kitchen in order to meet up with Joe Dimaggio.
When making movies, Elvis Presley liked to stay in Suite 1016. In fact, the song “Heartbreak Hotel” was written about the Knickerbocker by Hoyt Axton’s mother. Some of his publicity shots were taken inside the hotel.
Frances Farmer, who had a brilliant career in the 1930s and 1940s, turned to alcohol and drugs. She was arrested at the Knickerbocker after getting into a fight and dragged out half-naked. She was taken to a sanitarium where she was abused and eventually given a lobotomy. (Actual pic below of the arrest!)
Famous film director D.W. Griffith died of a stroke in 1948. He was living on the 10th floor and collapsed in the lobby under the art deco chandelier. He had turned to alcohol and Hollywood disowned him. Later, he was remembered as a brilliant director and, in 1999, a plaque honoring Griffith was placed in the lobby at the Knickerbocker.
Irene Gibbons, who designed costumes for famous actresses such as Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlene Dietrich, committed suicide at the Knickerbocker in 1962. She went into a deep depression after the death of actor Gary Cooper, whom she loved.
Bess Houdini, widow of Harry Houdini, conducted annual séances on Halloween night on the rooftop of the Knickerbocker. She did this for 10 years until 1936. During the first séance, thunder and lightning began. It was believed that this storm was limited to the top of the hotel and was not seen anywhere else in the Hollywood.
“The Hollywood Knickerbocker Apartments, formerly the Knickerbocker Hotel, is a senior home located at 1714 Ivar Avenue in Los Angeles, California. Built in 1925 by E.M. Frasier in Spanish Colonial Revival style, the historic hotel catered to the region’s nascent film industry, and is the site for some of Hollywood’s most famous dramatic moments. Rudolf Valentino was a regular at the bar before his death in 1926.”