August 2, 2012

Legends of the Chateau Marmont

High above Sunset Boulevard looms a stately Gothic castle, looking like something out of medieval times or Medieval Times. There's no knights in this castle, though - not unless you count poor Sir John Gielgud, who lies in the basement where Laurence Harvey dumped his corpse. (Allegedly.)

No, we speak instead of the fabled CHATEAU MARMONT. Glamorous, sexy and dangerous, for 85 years the Chateau Marmont has been where the Hollywood elite meet to stay in a hotel. The biggest names in show business (Paul Newman, others) have passed through its walls, and the Chateau is as notorious for its star-studded clientle as it is for that clientele's outlandish behaviour. It's the place where Billy Idol once trashed a suite because room service had poured the truffle oil over his french fries instead of putting it in a separate thing. For many stars, it's a home away from home, family and responsibilities. And for an unfortunate few, it's where they meet an untimely demise. (Sir John Gielgud. Do the research.)

Oh, how we could go on. But while the "old Hollywood" mythology of the Chateau Marmont is exciting, it's important to remember that some of the Chateau's legends are merely that - legends, like that of the mighty Pegasus. That's why we've taken the time to help you sort the fact from the not fact.

There's always someone you know staying at the Chateau Marmont.
This is true. Celebrities are regular visitors to the Chateau. It's guaranteed that you'll see at least one famous face during your visit. As a back-up, the Chateau keeps Daniel Baldwin in the lobby at all times.

The Eagles' hit "Hotel California" is about the Chateau Marmont.
This is true. Like the rest of the Eagles' discography, "Hotel California" was devised and commissioned by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. 

Led Zeppelin rode their motorcycles through the hotel lobby.
This is false. Nobody from Led Zeppelin has ever owned a motorcycle.

Breakfast is like forty bucks per person, without tip.
This is true and it's bogus.

Billy Wilder once slept in the bathroom of his Chateau suite to avoid an overbearing and unstable roommate - Peter Lorre.
This is true. Wilder remained in the bathroom until he passed away some 30 years later.

The Chateau Marmont is built out of Errol Flynn's bones.
This is false and I don't know how this rumor started.

The Chateau Marmont is built out of Clark Gable's bones.
This is true.

While a guest at the Chateau, Dennis Hopper staged and filmed wild, drug-fuelled orgies, some of which had almost 50 participants.
This is false, and it's offensive. Hopper was a deeply moral and devout family man. The "Speed" star was also an avowed teetotaler and even has a co-writing credit on Minor Threat's seminal anthem "Straight Edge."

The Chateau Marmont is haunted.
This is true.

Roman Polanski stayed at the Chateau Marmont before fleeing the United States to avoid sentencing on charges of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.
This is true. It's said that Polanski left behind a series of devilish riddles that would lead the police right to his doorstep. To date, the United States authorities have been unable to solve these riddles.

James Dean famously hopped through a window at the Chateau to audition for "Rebel Without A Cause."
This is patently false. There are no windows at the Chateau.

It is customary to tip the hotel staff.
This is false.

John Belushi died of a drug overdose at the Chateau.
This is false. John Belushi died in a Culver City Burger King. The cause of death was loving Burger King too much.

F. Scott Fitzgerald suffered a heart attack at the Chateau Marmont.
This is a common misconception. Fitzgerald actually caused several heart attacks by lurking under guests' beds and seizing their ankles. Fitzgerald was well known for his pranks.

Be careful - the walls of the Chateau have ears.
This is true. In 1971, Elliot Gould was forcibly plastered into a wall by his "MASH" co-star Robert Duvall. Duvall also loved a good prank.

Howard Hughes once occupied the hotel attic. From this vantage point, he would spy on women undressing outside through binoculars.
This is true. He loved pranks!!!

Christian Bale is at the Chateau Marmont right now.
Yes, in suite 57.

Photography is not permitted.
This is true.

Cocaine, heroin, speed, ketamine, LSD, acid, mushrooms, bath salts, stalking, mail fraud, the production of pornography, suicide, assault, sexual assault, exploitation and obstruction of justice are not permitted. 
This is false.

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