1926: Hollywood, California. It was considered the Golden Age of Hollywood for the film industry. Cinemas were popping up in almost every city and town nationwide as the country was thriving in a decade of economic prosperity. Films that were once silent were being revolutionized by sound and song. The City of Angel’s star-studded, glitz and glam reputation became the desire of many who longed to become the next silver-screen star or starlet. This was where an idea was formed.
Two of Hollywood’s biggest names at the time, Douglas Fairbanks along with his wife Mary Pickford, decided to invest in creating a luxury hotel for the elite right in the heart of it all. Thus the Roosevelt Hollywood Hotel was created. Named after president Roosevelt, the hotel was considered a marvel of it’s time with 12 floors, 300 rooms, and 63 suites.
The hotel opened its doors officially on May 15th, 1927, just three days prior to the opening of the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, residing directly across the street. From the start, the hotel was considered a hot spot for not only first-class A-list stars, but also the aspiring starlets hoping to get their ‘big break.’ The hotel’s reputation for luxury only grew in the following years when it became the location for the first ever Academy Awards in 1929. The ceremony (unlike the today’s grandeur spectacle) was hosted as a dinner banquet on May 16th in the hotel’s Blossom ballroom with only 270 in attendance. The brief presentation of awards was nothing compared to today’s yearly event, but the star-studded presence brought the hotel to a whole new level of prestige.
So how exactly could a hotel with such an opulent past become one of the most well-known haunted hot spots in Hollywood? Well it’s no surprise that a building with such a rich history would end up with a few spirits that simply refuse to check out. But who exactly resides within the walls of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel? Let’s find out.
With a view of the hotel’s pool from the balcony, one room on the second floor is said to be inhabited by a well-known starlet who resided on property during what could be considered her break-through contract. Marilyn Monroe resided within the Cabana Suite for two years while working with 20th Century Fox, and was even said to visit the suite multiple other times throughout her successful career. Thus the Suite has been deemed ‘The Marilyn Monroe Suite’; but of course that’s not the only reason as to why the suite has been given such an icon name.
It is said that the star loved the suite so much that even after death she still chooses to visit the hotel to this day. Those who have stayed in the cabana believe she spirit never truly left and have even seen her reflection looking back at them from a mirror on the suite’s wall. The mirror has since been dubbed ‘Marilyn’s Mirror’ and has even been removed from the suite itself (now located in the lobby) in fear that it may be stolen due to just how many people have claimed to see her hazy form gazing out from it.
The Bugle Player
In 1953, the movie From Here to Eternity was being filmed. During filming, Montgomery Clift occupied a suite on the 9th floor of the Roosevelt. For the film, Clift was responsible for learning and playing the bugle. In order to perfect the skill, it was said he would often times practice by pacing the hallways of the ninth floor with the instrument. Even after death it is believed his lessons have never truly ended, for the sounds of a bugle playing can still be heard throughout the ninth floor hallways to this day. He is also known to touch some guests in an endearing manner as well as staff even claiming to feel as if they are being watched while working on the 9th floor.
The Girl In Blue, A Secret Love Affair & The Blossom Ballroom
Although the hotel is claimed to be haunted by numerous spirits, some named and others of unknown origins, certain ghosts tend to be more popular than others. While many have claimed to see other late celebrities roaming the hotel’s halls, it seems to be that of the unnamed ghosts who have the upper-hand claim to fame.
Many have claimed to see a girl in blue, sometimes named ‘Caroline’, roaming around the hotel. Legend has it her and her brother drowned in the hotel pool decades ago. It is said that Caroline can be seen wandering and even making contact with hotel staff in the desperate search for her father.
One haunting comes from the top floors of the penthouse suite where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard had a whirlwind romance in the late 1930s. The pair first met while filming the early 1930’s movie ‘No Man of Her Own.’ After a few years of separate marriages, they would meet again and pay a whopping 5$ a night for their secret affair on the 12th floor. When the pair finally went through divorces on both ends, they married only to have Lombard die tragically in a plane crash just years later. Due to the tragedy, it is believed that Lombard spends her afterlife where some of her favorite memories were held. Many have claimed to see her ghost roaming near and within the penthouse.
The last key hot spot of the hotel is the Blossom Ballroom, where the famous Academy Awards dinner took place. It is said that many will hear the faint noise of a piano playing while the room is vacant. Others have said the entire room grows cold upon entering; And some have even insisted they’ve seen a fleeting shadow of a man in tuxedo out of the corner of their eyes.
And there you have it folks, a brief history of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and the ghosts that live within its walls. Thank you so much for tuning in to Day 1 of the 31 Days of Halloween 2020! Keep checking back every day for new spooky and festive posts that’ll get everyone into the spirit!