Robby Cress at Dear Old Hollywood has written a concise but comprehensive profile of Colonial House, a 1930 apartment building adjacent to the Sunset Strip that has been home to many stars over the years, but that may be best known as Bette Davis’ final home — she was living there when she died in Paris in 1989.
Colonial House was adjacent to the Garden of Allah Hotel, the former estate of Broadway superstar Alla Nazimova, which reopened under new management the same year that Colonial House was built. The Garden of Allah was the place to stay for the New York intelligentsia when they were slumming in the Movie Colony. Colonial House next door was probably a quieter and certainly more luxuriously appointed option.
From Dear Old Hollywood:
Built in 1930 and designed by noted Los Angeles architect Leland Bryant (Harper House, Savoy Plaza, Sunset Tower), the Colonial House has long been a home to celebrities. According to The Movieland Directory, some early Hollywood residents have included Clark Gable, Carol Lombard, Myrna Loy, Eddie Cantor, William Powell, and Norma Talmadge. Cary Grant, Bette Davis and Joan Blondell have also called the place home. Earlier this year even pop singer Katie Perry purchased a place in the Colonial House, continuing the building’s legacy for being a home for stars.
Bette Davis had many places around Los Angeles she called home at different points in her life. The Colonial House would be the last home she would live in. In the late 70s, according to the Roy Moseley memoir Bette Davis, the actor Roddy McDowall helped find her a place in Colonial House. Davis liked the apartment because it overlooked the La Ronda apartment house, where Bette and her mother first stayed when they arrived in California from New York. Bette wasn’t a movie star then, but just a young woman ready for her big break.
Bette’s apartment was on the fourth-floor and had large spacious rooms with twelve-foot high ceilings. She decorated the place with framed pictures nailed to the walls and with art books and family photographs on the tables. On the floor, on each side of a lattice doorway that led to the dining room, Bette placed her two Oscars which she won for Best Actress: one for Dangerous (1935) and another for Jezebel (1938).
November 6, 2013 at 10:33 pm
My great aunt and uncle lived in the Colonial House in the middle 30’s Gypsy Rose would often bath in the nude! Nigel Bruce very polite, I’m told, would be met in the elevator at times. Heda Hopper lived nearby. Gossip al around! William Powell and Carole Lombard’s penthouse was rented by my aunt and uncle They lived there renting an additional penthouse on the top floor for yrs. finally leaving in the 1970’s my uncle died in 1964 and my aunt stayed until the 1970’s then moved to Santa Monica until 1999. My great uncle was a doctor primarily OB Gyn but was very well trained and taught at USC John Barrymore needed surgery and asked Jack to do the procedure Jack first refused then agreed He normally did not do other surgeries that were not confined to his practice. The Colonial House has had over the years very interesting and famous tenants. We still have the old crackle white over tourqoise baby grand piano that was in the Powell Lombard apt! Thanks for the opportunity to comment