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.
Visitors to Hollywood now see a vast parking lot at the corner of Selma and Vine where the Lasky Studios once stood.
Mae took a room at the nearby Hotel Hollywood at the corner of Hollywood and North Highland.
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.
In 1925, Mae starred in her biggest picture, The Merry Widow, at MGM. Check out this footage from a 1925 studio tour.
MGM took over the old Triangle film studios in 1924.
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!
Mae considered herself the Queen of Hollywood when she married Prince David Mdivani in June 1926.
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.
They motored to the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, where Mae said yes to becoming a princess.
Their vows spoken, the Mdivanis and the wedding party gathered at the Ambassador Hotel for 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.
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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Mae’s brother and family once lived in this modest house at 1124 Poinsettia Place in Beverly Hills.
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.
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 and Ann King rest at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
Mae was honored with a star on Hollywood Blvd. in 1960. Look for it at 6318 Hollywood Blvd.
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 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.
Following a stroke in 1964, Mae moved into the Motion Picture Country Hospital. She died there in March 1965.
The Motion Picture Relief Fund paid for her spot at Valhalla Cemetery in North Hollywood.
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!