VIEW PDF - The Beverly Hilton

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VIEW PDF - The Beverly Hilton
a
HIS COMPANY
IN BANKRUP TCY,
RYAN KAVANAUGH,
RELATIVITY MEDIA'S
EMBATTLED CHIEF,
HITS BACK HARD AS
THE HIGH-FLYING
EXEC CLAIMS HE'S
THE VICTIM OF A $1B
FINANCIAL SCHEME
(HINT: NOT HIS OWN)
THE HOTEL THAT
TURNED INTO
HOLLYWOOD’S
TOWN SQUARE
Happy Birthday! The Beverly Hilton became the
power brokers’ place to party (not sleep) 60 years ago as
Peter Fonda, Jackie Collins and others recall when
Sidney Poitier came ‘dressed to the tens,’ Angelina Jolie
jumped in the pool in her Golden Globes gown and
Trader Vic’s was it BY CHRIS GARDNER
4
3
T
H E BEV ER LY H I LTON
a property boasting
569 rooms and a ballroom fit for 1,200 guests
— has always been a major hub
for Hollywood. Says Jack Gilardi
(who has represented Charlton
Heston and Shirley MacLaine in
his 60 years at ICM Partners)
of its exclusive L’Escoffier restaurant during the 1950s: “I remember
walking in and seeing Spencer
Tracy and Katharine Hepburn;
you’d see Sidney Poitier dressed to
the tens.” Over the years, the
hotel has been stalked not only by
glamour but also by political
infamy (Richard Nixon announced,
“You won’t have Nixon to kick
around anymore” at his last news
conference there); scandal (John
F. Kennedy was said to meet
Marilyn Monroe in the Presidential
Suite, while onetime owner Merv
Griffin tried to ban prostitutes from
the lobby bar); mischief (Angelina
Jolie famously jumped into the pool
after winning a Golden Globe for
Gia in 1999); and tragedy (in 2012,
Whitney Houston died in the tub
in Room 434, which remains closed).
Since Conrad Hilton first opened
its doors in 1955, the hotel that throws
—
200 red-carpet events a year has
stood in for Hollywood’s town
square, providing a large, conveniently located setting for
industry highlights. Nicknamed
“White House West” by the
actual White House, it has hosted
every U.S. president since it
opened, the first Grammys in 1958,
the Oscar Nominees Luncheon,
Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy fetes,
the Golden Globes since 1961
and the current TCA press tour.
The Hilton remains a draw on
Hollywood’s events calendar, thanks
to its in-house audio-video crew
and $5 million in tech embedded
in the International Ballroom
ceiling alone.
Ushering in a new era: The 2017
opening of next door’s Waldorf
Astoria Beverly Hills, also owned by
Beny Alagem, who has sunk nearly
$100 million into renovations since he
bought the Hilton and neighboring
plot from Griffin for $130 million in
2003. (Guggenheim Partners, THR’s
parent company, is lead investor
on the Waldorf project.) Peter Fonda,
who likes that he “can always park
myself,” isn’t concerned about the
changes: “It’s still groovy, and there’s
always something happening.”
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6
1 Before the Hilton
opened in 1955, the 9-acre
plot sat empty.
2 “I spent $100 on the
material and worked for
two weeks,” said Joanne
Woodward (with husband
Paul Newman) of her
gown in 1958. “I’m almost
as proud of that dress
as I am of my Oscar” for
The Three Faces of Eve.
3 From left: Matt Damon,
Harvey Weinstein
and Ben Affleck relished
the 1998 screenplay
Golden Globe for Good
Will Hunting. Says
Peter Fonda: “All these
young pups were winning,
and Jack Nicholson
said, “ ‘Ain’t looking good
for us, Fonda.’ ”
4 Elizabeth Taylor in
1950 with Nicky Hilton,
Conrad’s son, whom
she wed at age 17.
5 “Hollywood would be
there on Sunday night,”
says Jackie Collins of
Trader Vic’s, the Hilton’s
Polynesian-themed
club that closed in 2007.
6 Griffin, Hilton owner
from 1987 to 2003.
7 Henry Fonda, flanked by
his kids, Jane and Peter,
circa 1975. Says Peter:
“It was an easy walk into
Beverly Hills but still out
of the mess and mayhem.”
1
2
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EXTERIOR: BETTMANN/CORBIS. GRIFFIN: AP PHOTO/LUCY NICHOLSON. DAMON: STEVE COHN/BERLINER STUDIO/BEIMAGES. NEWMAN: J. R. EYERMAN/THE LIFE PICTURE COLLECTION/
GETTY IMAGES. TAYLOR: KEYSTONE PICTURES USA/ZUMAPRESS/NEWSCOM. FONDA: FRANK EDWARDS/ARCHIVE PHOTOS/GETTY IMAGES. VIC’S: COURTESY OF BEVERLY HILTON (2).
www.thr.com | THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
| 51

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