From left to right: Hollywood sign, Yvette Vickers, Yvette Vickers Home, Dorothy Stratten, Sharon Tate, Lana Turner
In the western section of metropolitan Los Angeles sits the famous city of Hollywood, California known almost exclusively as the global center of movie studios and film stars. Though the district is now called home to an estimated 300,000 people, it began around 1853 with nothing more than one adobe hut. However, by the 1870s, an agricultural community had grown in the area. In the 1887 Harvey Wilcox, who had made a fortune in real estate, relocated to the area from Kansas along with his wife Daeida and soon bought 160 acres of land west of where Hollywood would soon be born.
Hollywood, now represents not just a city, but also an industry, a lifestyle and, increasingly, an aspiration, was officially crowned when the “Hollywoodland” a sign was erected in 1923. Built by Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler as an epic $21,000 billboard for his upscale Hollywoodland real estate development, the Sign soon took on the role of giant marquee for a city that was constantly announcing its own gala premieres.
This episode is about what The City of Angels gives back when you come here seeking fame and fortune and includes a death tour among the Hollywood Hills with a visit to a particularly macabre destination at the end.
- The Wikipedia entry on Yvette Vickers.
- A People Magazine Article on Yvette.
- HuffPo on Yvette’s cause of death.
- A good blog entry on Yvette.
- Another article.
- An amazing intimate portrait with Yvette as told by someone who knew her personally.
Interesting Facts: Paul Newman’s wife, Joanne Woodward was none too pleased with Yvette’s on set chemistry with Newman during the filming of HUD and saw to it that she was nearly cut out of the film entirely. This happened to Yvette more than once, who herself confessed to being flirty, but most certainly not a tramp and completely monogamous when she was with someone. Jealousy in Hollywood can be a true monster and it’s fair to say that it contributed to the death of all of the starlets featured in this episode of our show.
Connections: Max Baer was friends with and briefly dated Sharon Tate. Sharon Tate was murdered in the house that Cary Grant and Dyan Cannon lived in after they got married. Cary broke up with Yvette Vickers to marry Dyan.
On Dorothy Stratten:
- A fan site dedicated to Dorothy.
- The Wikipedia entry on Dorothy.
- An interview with Peter Bogdanavich from People Magazine in 1989 about Dorothy.
- Dorothy on Johnny Carson in 1980.
- Pictures of Dorothy and Paul Snider, the loser pimp and her murderer.
- More on Dorothy and Paul and her Death.
Interesting Facts: Sleaze-ball Paul Snider had to get Dorothy’s mom to sign a waiver so he could have her professionally photographed nude when he ‘discovered’ her in Canada because she was underaged. Paul, strangely, was also friends with Max Baer (Jethro on The Beverly Hillbillies), and Max, at one point dated Sharon Tate.
On Sharon Tate:
- 10050 Cielo Drive, the infamous house
- The Wikipedia entry on Sharon Tate.
- This day in History (History Channel) Sharon Tate.
- Find-a-death on Sharon Tate.
Interesting Facts: Trent Reznor was the last resident of the house before it was torn down and the address was changed. He recorded ‘The Downward Spiral’ here in fact, in a studio he named ‘Le Pig’ as an homage(?) to the murder. He reportedly had not thought much of being in the house past it being a part of ‘American Folklore’, in his words, until he met Tate’s sister by chance and she asked him point blank if he was trying to capitalize on her death. He ultimately moved out before the house was torn down, but he took the front door with him and uses it at the new version of his recording studio to this day.
On Lana Turner and Johnny Stompanato:
Episode 001 – ‘Hollywood Ending’ Produced by Scott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess with Special Guest Marc D’Andre, Ryan McCullough Sound Design, Scott Philbrook Editing. Copyright Scott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess 2014, All Rights Reserved.