The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – Los Angeles, California - Atlas Obscura

Los Angeles, California

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Hollywood's oldest hotel is the site of the first Academy Awards, the birthplace of Marilyn Monroe's career, and the home of Montgomery Clift's ghost. 

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel was opened on May 15th, 1927 by a group that included mega-stars Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford along with MGM Chief Louis B. Mayer and developer Sid Grauman. It is the host of the first Academy Awards as well as a frequent location of the anti-Academy Awards—known as the Razzies—and has a storied history in Hollywood.

The 12-story hotel was built in a Spanish colonial style with elaborate chandeliers and wrought iron balconies. Hollywood is fundamentally a place marked by a need for glamorous spaces whether shooting locations, premieres, or awards ceremonies and the Hotel Roosevelt was an early attempt to capitalize on stars and glamour. 

Within two years of its operation, hotel investor Douglas Fairbanks hosted the first Academy Awards in a ballroom that is still in use today. The ceremony lasted approximately 15 minutes and the ballroom housed 270 people. The inaugural Academy Awards winner, Wings, is memorialized with a poster in the lobby.

Since then, guests, movie shoots, and Hollywood premieres have all taken place at this hotel. The Tropicana Pool on the hotel’s roof is a shooting location for Turner Classics Movies, and has been featured on I Love Lucy, Almost Famous, and Entourage. The famous piano scene in Fabulous Baker Boys was shot at the Cinegrill nightclub. The hotel is, overall, responsible for over 50 film and TV credits including more recently the drama series, The People vs OJ Simpson

In terms of ceremonies, the Razzies (honoring the worst in film) is frequently held here and one of the major Oscar auctions (for the art direction prize for Diary of Anne Frank) was held here before the practice of selling your Oscars for money was outlawed. Premieres such as Ghostbusters and Game of Thrones also took place here. More significant are the guests who stayed here for extended periods of time from Errol Flynn to Marilyn Monroe (who lived here for two years at the start of her career and had her first professional shoot on the premises) to Clark Gable and Carole Lombard who began clandestine encounters in the penthouse suite The rooms where Monroe, Gable, and Lombard stayed now bear the name of their famous former occupants. 

Some insist that the hotel is haunted by its former occupants who died tragically: particularly Monroe and Montgomery Clift who stayed here for a few months while filming From Here to Eternity and could be heard bugling through the hallways as he played the instrument in the film. There are reports that after his passing people heard trumpet sounds on the 9th floor (where he stayed) and some even checked out of the hotel complaining of music playing in the middle of the night.

Know Before You Go

The Roosevelt offers an exclusive cocktail lounge, a game parlor with vintage bowling lanes, a 24-hour burger joint, and more, which is free to non-guests. To stay at The Roosevelt, book a room at the hotel on their website

Community Discussion