Take Fountain! Just Don’t Take It for Granted

The "take Fountain" mural across the street from the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood.

When Johnny Carson asked Bette Davis for advice on “the best way an aspiring starlet could get into Hollywood,” Ms. Davis replied without hesitation, “Take Fountain.”

Fountain Avenue is a local favorite for many people who use it to cut across Hollywood quickly. It runs parallel between Sunset Boulevard to the north and Santa Monica Boulevard to the south. Only 6 miles in length, Fountain Avenue runs from Silverlake Blvd in the East all the way to La Cienega Blvd in the West with a break between Van Ness and Bronson streets for La Conte Middle School. As you zip along Fountain Avenue, on your way to your next big Hollywood meeting or audition, you’ll see a few notable buildings.

El Mirador apartment building.

In the late 1920s, The Mirador apartment building was built on the corner of Fountain and Sweetzer by renowned theatre architect S. Charles Lee. Mr. Lee is an American architect, born in Chicago, recognized as one of the most prolific and distinguished motion picture theater designers on the West Coast. Lee also designed the Max Factor building, The Los Angeles Theatre and The Bruin Theatre, to name only a few.

In 1930, Cedar-Sinai was moved from Whittier Boulevard to Fountain Avenue where it was renamed Cedars of Lebanon. In 1976, after having merged with the Westside’s Mt. Sinai Hospital, Cedars of Lebanon moved out of its building on Fountain and into a new hospital complex near Beverly Hills and became the world-famous Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Today, the old Cedars of Lebanon building now belongs to the Church of Scientology.

La Fountaine

Also around the same time period, architect Leland Bryant designed La Fountaine,  a replica of a château he had seen in Europe, on the corner of Fountain Avenue and Crescent Heights. Leland Bryant is also responsible for the designs of several other landmark buildings in Los Angeles, including the Argyle HotelSunset Tower, Savoy Plaza and the Trianon – a grande apartment building tucked away from major streets in Hollywood, near Thai Town.

Villa Primavera Apartments

The Villa Primavera Apartments at the corner of Fountain Avenue and Harper was used for the shooting locations of several movies, including In A Lonely Place (1950) starring Humphrey Bogart.

Humphrey Bogart outside the Villa Primavera Apartments.

Joan Crawford lived in Apt D

Movie star Joan Crawford lived in this Fountain Avenue apartment after the death of her husband, Steele, through the early 1970s. It was in a building owned by Loretta Young.

El Palacio Apartments

Actress and singer Dorothy Dandridge lived in the El Palacio Apartments on Fountain Avenue and Crescent Heights. She  committed suicide there in 1965 at age 42, overdosing on prescription barbiturates.

The Patio Del Moro

The Patio Del Moro is a complex of Spanish apartments on Fountain Avenue and was once the home of Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard.

And, of course, there is The Fountain Theatre (5060 Fountain). Founded in 1990 by Co-Artistic Directors Deborah Lawlor and Stephen Sachs, the Fountain Theatre has been an operating theatre for over 50 years. In the 1960’s it was known as The Evergreen Stage. A charming two-story building, tales are told that decades ago the bottom floor was once a liquor store, the upper floor held apartments. Today, the Fountain main stage holds 78 seats and the second floor includes a cafe, offices, a full kitchen, balcony and studio apartment. In addition to the award-winning caliber of work presented on its stage, the warm feeling of the venue makes the Fountain Theatre a favorite “home” for LA audiences.

The Fountain Theatre

For 22 years, Fountain Avenue has been our happy home and our road to success. Take a stroll or car ride down the Avenue and see for yourself!

One response to “Take Fountain! Just Don’t Take It for Granted

  1. Lovely research on Fountain Avenue! and great photos and posts about the development and cast of CYRANO. That new little camera you have is very busy. I love it!

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