07 March 2009

The Movie Colony's Most Prestigious Address

The painted backdrop seems perfect for simple living in the heart of Hollywood, doesn’t it? Problem is, when it comes to the billboards, window dressings, and advertisements of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, identifying fact or fiction can be complicated. Sure, we all know Hess is a real gas company and that Maroon Cartoons doesn’t really exist, but what about J.J. Tapps’ Dance Studio? As for Sunset Hills, it really is a home to the stars.

Situated in West Hollywood, with Laurel Canyon, Sunset Plaza Drive, and Sunset Boulevard serving as its borders, the billboard offers one misleading bit of advertising when it comes to Sunset Hills… the price. Lots may have, at one time, been available for nine thousand dollars, but today, the average house in the area is worth well over three million dollars. In fact, even though housing values have fallen all over the country, including Los Angeles, prices here have seen inclines for the past couple of years. Although, living in such a small community would include neighbors such as Jeff Goldblum, Sandra Bullock, and Cameron Diaz and homes that were built by the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Perhaps one of the most notable, and longstanding, citizen of Sunset Hills is the Chateau Marmont Hotel. Built in the 1920s by Fred Horowitz, the hotel is modeled after the Château d'Amboise in France's Loire Valley. With as storied a history, and as elite a guest list, as Hollywood itself, the Chateau Marmont has hosted Greta Garbo, Led Zepplin, Natalie Wood, Humphrey Bogart, and Harry Cohn, founder of Columbia Pictures, to name a few. Chateua Marmont has also had it share of tragedies, as F. Scott Fitzgerald suffered a heart attack while staying here and one of the garden bungalows was the site of John Belushi’s untimely death.

Sunset Hills is a home to celebrities and a playground for the stars. A view here is to gaze down upon the real world of make believe. While lots may not be available for the going rates of the 1920s any longer, this billboard on Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Sunset Blvd. serves as a reminder of that bygone day. Another thread in the tapestry of creating the Hollywood that never was, and always has been.

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