Tag1443 N. Hayworth Ave.

Schwab’s Drug Store: Where Lana Turner Was Not Discovered

Sweater girl: Lana Turner

Sweater girl: Lana Turner

In its five decades at the epicenter of the movie industry’s comings and goings on the Sunset Strip, Schwab’s Drug Store was a lot of things — a movie industry meeting place, restaurant, soda fountain, liquor store, tourist attraction and, oh yeah, a pharmacy.

But there was one thing Schwab’s was not. Despite the persistent myth otherwise, it was not where Lana Turner was discovered.

Here’s the myth: In January 1937, 16-year-old Judy Turner ditched high school to grab a Coke at Schwab’s. Mervyn Le Roy, the famous movie director, happened to be seated at the counter that day. He couldn’t help noticing the attractive young lady. Sure, she was wearing a tight sweater but what really got the director’s attention was Judy’s wholesome beauty. The director introduced himself and offered her a screen test. The test was boffo, and the studio offered her a contract on the spot. Judy changed her name to Lana and, after making a movie or two, she was Lana Turner, one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.

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1940: Death of F. Scott Fitzgerald

The building at 1443 N. Hayworth Ave. where Scott Fitzgerald died in 1940 s it appears today; inset: Fitzgerald and Sheilah Graham

The building at 1443 N. Hayworth Ave. where Scott Fitzgerald died in 1940 s it appears today; inset: Fitzgerald and Sheilah Graham

On Dec. 21, 1940, the winter solstice, Scott Fitzgerald suffered a fatal heart attack in the apartment of the British-born gossip columnist, Sheilah Graham, at 1443 N. Hayworth Ave. [map], just south of Sunset Blvd.

In his prime, Scott and his wife Zelda were part of the Lost Generation of literary set and spent time in Paris in the 1920s, along with with Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. He died in Hollywood, however, in Graham’s apartment, a fact which proved to be awkward because he was still married to Zelda.

Scott and Sheilah had been in love and sharing digs for three years, although Scott also maintained an apartment a block east, at 1403 N. Laurel Ave. [map] (where his next-door neighbors was another couple living in sin, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz).

Fitzgerald had a history of heart problems. In November 1940, Scott suffered a nonfatal heart attack earlier at Schwab’s, reportedly while he was standing in line to buy cigarettes. He died a month later in Sheilah’s living room.