Mae Murray’s Hollywood

A very young Mae Murray.

About the time Mae Murray came to Hollywood.

Mae Murray was working in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1915 in New York when she signed with Lasky Studios and boarded a train for Hollywood.

She reported to work at Lasky Studios at the corner of Vine Street and Selma Avenue in Hollywood.

Layout of Lasky Studios in the mid-1910s

Layout of Lasky Studios in the mid-1910s

Visitors to Hollywood now see a vast parking lot at the corner of Selma and Vine where the Lasky Studios once stood.

Corner of Selma and Vine

Corner of Selma and Vine

Mae took a room at the nearby Hotel Hollywood at the corner of Hollywood and North Highland.

1916 census showing Mae living at Hotel Hollywood.

1916 census showing Mae living at Hotel Hollywood.

Hollywood Hotel

Hollywood Hotel

In 1918, Mae married her director, Robert Z. Leonard. They lived in a house at 1542 North Martel Avenue.  High rise condos now stand on the site.

1542 North Martel Avenue

1542 North Martel Avenue

In 1925, Mae starred in her biggest picture, The Merry Widow, at MGM.  Check out this footage from a 1925 studio tour.

MGM studios in 1925.

MGM studios in 1925.

MGM took over the old Triangle film studios in 1924.

The old Triangle studios

The old Triangle studios

While in the middle of one of her tirades during the filming of The Merry Widow, Mae was asked, “Just who do you think you are?”

“The Queen of MGM,” she snapped!

The Queen of MGM.

The Queen of MGM.

Mae considered herself the Queen of Hollywood when she married Prince David Mdivani in June 1926.

All smiles at the Mdivani-Murray wedding

Rudolph Valentino, Pola Negri, Mae, and her Prince were all smiles at the wedding of the season.

Their big day began with breakfast at Falcon Lair, Rudolph Valentino’s estate overlooking Beverly Hills. On a personal note, no trip to Hollywood was complete until I drove up the winding Bella Drive to  Falcon Lair.  Since learning the famed home of Valentino was razed in recent years, I can’t bear to see the site.  It’s heartbreaking to lose this piece of history.

Falcon Lair

Falcon Lair

They motored to the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, where Mae said yes to becoming a princess.

Church of the Good Shepherd, 505 N. Bedford Drive, Beverly Hills.

Church of the Good Shepherd, 505 N. Bedford Drive, Beverly Hills.

Their vows spoken, the Mdivanis and the wedding party gathered at the Ambassador Hotel for the reception.

The Ambassador in its heyday.

The Ambassador in its heyday.

Valentino, Mae, and David Mdivani at the reception.

Valentino, Mae, David Mdivani, and Pola Negri at the reception.

While Mae believed she had ascended to the top echelon of filmdom, she was actually in a teetering position that would soon spiral downward.

Mae sunk money into a grand home at 13047 San Vincente Blvd.

Mae and the "House that Jack Built."

Mae and the “House that Jack Built.”

It was designed and built by the infamous architect and sometime actor Jack Donovan. Mae came to her senses when she realized the structure had many flaws.  Equally as humiliating was the realization that she had bought rooms of fake antiques. Mae and the Donovans (Jack and his mother) spent years and years in court over this one!

Mae's home at  13047 San Vincente Blvd., from a bird's eye view.

Mae’s home at 13047 San Vincente Blvd., from a bird’s eye view.

Street view of the entrance to 13047 San Vincente Blvd. today.

Street view of the entrance to 13047 San Vincente Blvd.

In 1927, Mae built a castle on the sands in Playa Del Rey.  Some said it resembled a mosque.  Mae found herself in court when the city of Los Angeles said she had built the mansion too close to the water.

Mae's castle on the sands in the distance.

Mae’s castle on the sands in the distance.

Looking south.

Looking south.

When her finances were siphoned off and her career and marriage were in shambles, Mae’s beloved house was auctioned off.  The sea threatened to retake its ground.

The sea was a constant threat to Mae's seaside mansion.

The sea was a constant threat to Mae’s seaside mansion.

The house was eventually moved back from the beach. It became a dorm house for Loyola University.  It was later razed. I found the location (6300 Ocean Front Walk, Playa Del Rey) in 2012.

A view of the spot where Mae's beachfront house once stood, 2012.

A view of the spot where Mae’s beachfront house once stood, 2012.

Hollywood knew the marriage of Prince and Princess Mdivani was in trouble when he knocked Mae to the floor at the fashionable Embassy Club at 6763 Hollywood Blvd.

The Embassy Club and Café Montmartre in the 1920s.

The Embassy Club and Café Montmartre in the 1920s.

The Embassy Club is long gone. Today, the Hollywood Wax Museum occupies the building. At least the building has been preserved.

The Embassy Club is long gone. Today, the Hollywood Wax Museum occupies the building. At least the building has been preserved.

Mae long denied the existence of any immediate family. She kept  brother William quiet by providing money for the support of his family. A family blowup occurred in the late 1920s when Mae’s sister-in-law confronted the actress on the street in front of the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles, where Mae was appearing in a vaudeville act.

The Orpheum Theater in the late 1920s, 842 S. Broadway,  Los Angeles.

The Orpheum Theater in the late 1920s, 842 S. Broadway, Los Angeles.

The Orpheum Theater in modern times.

The Orpheum Theater in modern times.

Mae’s brother and family once lived in this modest house at 1124 Poinsettia Place in Beverly Hills.

Mae's brother William lived at 1124 Poinsettia Place in 1930.

Mae’s brother William lived at 1124 Poinsettia Place in 1930.

After losing her castle in Playa del Rey, Mae and her son, Koran, lived for a time at the Lido Apartments at 6500 Yucca Street in Hollywood.

Lido Apartments in Hollywood.

Lido Apartments in Hollywood.

William King, Mae’s brother, was living at 1967 N. Wilcox Avenue in Hollywood when he got into a scrap with police.  He died from his injuries in February 1948 at County General Hospital.

William King's apartment in 1948.

William King’s apartment on N. Wilcox.

William and Ann King rest at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

The marker for Mae's brother and sister-in-law.

The marker for Mae’s brother and sister-in-law.

 

 

Mae was honored with a star on Hollywood Blvd. in 1960.  Look for it at 6318 Hollywood Blvd.

Once a star, always a star!

She was living at this apartment house at 628 S. Ardmore Avenue, Los Angeles, in 1960, when she suffered a stroke. Hollywood thought it had lost its Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips.

Mae's home in 1960.

Mae’s home in 1960.

Mae is carried from her apartment after suffering a stroke in 1960.

Mae is carried from her apartment at  628 S. Ardmore after suffering a stroke in 1960.

 

Mae was living at the Garden Court Apartments at 7021 Hollywood Blvd. when she was discovered wandering the streets of St. Louis, Missouri, in 1964. The Motion Picture Relief Fund paid for her airfare back to Los Angeles.

Garden Court Apartments, Mae's home in 1964.

Garden Court Apartments, Mae’s home in 1964.

Mae lands in Los Angeles after her sad adventure in St. Louis (1964).

Mae lands in Los Angeles after her sad adventure in St. Louis (1964).

 

Following a stroke in 1964, Mae moved into the Motion Picture Country Hospital. She died there in March 1965.

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The Motion Picture Relief Fund paid for her spot at Valhalla Cemetery in North Hollywood.

Mae's marker at Valhalla.

Mae’s marker at Valhalla.

After having studied her life and career, I’m rather sad I never got to meet the Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips. Guess this is closest I’ll ever come!

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Mae, in living color.

Mae, in living color.

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8 thoughts on “Mae Murray’s Hollywood

  1. Yes, absolutely fantastic photos, and I took the MGM tour of 1925! Also did not know that Falcon Lair was razed…was there a movement to stop it?? So glad I got to see it before it was torn down! Michael thank you for always imparting your Hollywood knowledge~~

  2. I’ve been surfing online greater than 3 hours as of late, yet I never discovered any fascinating article like yours. It’s beautiful value enough for me.

    Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the net can be much more useful
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