Runyon Canyon Park from “The Hills”Mar 8th, 2012 | By Lindsay | Category: The Hills Filming Locations
A few years ago, after my good friend Nat happened to spot Runyon Canyon Park pop up in an episode of fave reality series The Hills, she sent me an email asking if I had ever stalked the place. And while I had long known that the locale was not only a big-time celebrity hangout, but also a popular filming location, because I am not a fan of hiking (or working out in general, if we are really being honest here), I had never added it to my “To-Stalk” list. But I assured Nat, who is very much into calisthenic-type activity and who, unlike me does not actually consider walking to Starbucks a form of exercise, that the next time she came to visit, we would definitely hit the place up. Which is how, bright and early a few Sundays ago, the Grim Cheaper, Nat and I found ourselves in Hollywood about to embark upon a morning hike at Runyon Canyon Park. I even bought some new workout pants for the occasion! (Now, shopping – that is definitely a type of exercise that I can get behind!) Unfortunately for Nat, though, because there did not seem to be any restrooms on the trail and because I had downed a Venti iced latte shortly before arriving there, our trek was pretty short-lived. See what I mean? I was just not made for the outdoors. The GC made fun of me relentlessly while we were hiking, by the way, due to the fact that I was carrying my Louis Vuitton purse. Men! I mean, what the heck else was I supposed to do with it? Leave it in the car? As if!
The 160-acre parcel of land that now makes up Runyon Canyon Park was originally named “No Man’s Canyon”. It came to be known by its current moniker thanks to one of its early owners, coal baron Carman Runyon, who used the sprawling site as a hunting and riding venue. In 1929, the grounds were purchased by Irish tenor John McCormack, who had a large mansion built on the premises which he dubbed “San Patrizio”, in honor of St. Patrick. When A&P Supermarket heir Huntington Hartford bought the estate in 1942, he renamed it “The Pines” and commissioned architect Frank Lloyd Wright to build a pool house on the site. Hartford’s friend Errol Flynn was a frequent guest at the pool house and is rumored to have thrown some wild parties there. Sadly, when Jules Berman, a wealthy liquor importer, purchased the property in the late 1960s, he demolished “The Pines”. The Lloyd Wright-designed pool house was subsequently destroyed by a fire in 1972. All that remains of the two historic structures are some ruins located near the Fuller Avenue entrance to the park. So incredibly sad! In 1984, the City of Los Angeles stepped in and acquired the vacant acreage, subsequently turning it into a public park, as it remains to this day.
Thanks to Runyon Canyon Park’s proximity to Hollywood and the stunning views that it boasts (which you can see above), the place has long been a stomping ground of the rich and famous. Just a few of the stars who have been spotted working out there include Gilles Marini, Famke Janssen, Eriq La Salle, Josh Hartnett, Hayden Panettiere, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, Matthew McConaughey, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kathy Griffin, Scarlett Johansson, Josh Duhamel, Kellan Lutz, Ryan Gosling, Dane Cook, Orlando Bloom, Sheryl Crow, Ashley Tisdale, Haylie Duff, Anne Hathaway, Ali Fedotowsky, Amanda Bynes, Matthew Perry, Ali Larter, Joe Jonas, Amanda Seyfried, Adrian Grenier, Natalie Portman, and Chris Pine. And while we did not see any celebs during our hike, when fellow stalker Lavonna was in town this past November, she spotted B.J.Novak, aka Ryan Howard from The Office, walking the trails.
In the Season 3 episode of The Hills titled “With This Ring . . .”, Whitney Port had a one-on-one training session/date with her personal trainer, Jarett Del Bene, at Runyon Canyon Park.
And in the Season 4 episode of The Hills titled “Who To Choose?”, Lauren Conrad and Audrina Patridge discussed Audrina’s love life while on a hike at Runyon Canyon. And I could swear that the park showed up in yet another episode of the series in which Lauren and Whitney were shown working out, but I cannot seem to find it anywhere.
In the Season 4 episode of Seinfeld titled “The Trip, Part 2”, Jerry Seinfeld (who played himself), George Costanza (Jason Alexander), and Kramer (Michael Richards) visited Runyon Canyon Park immediately after Kramer was released from jail, where he was being held as the supposed “The Fog Strangler” serial killer.
In the 2009 flick Funny People, Runyon Canyon Park was where Ira Wright (Seth Rogan), Leo Koenig (Jonah Hill) and Mark Taylor Jackson (Jason Schwartzman) discussed the illness of fellow comedian George Simmons (Adam Sandler).
Thanks to fave book Hollywood Escapes: The Moviegoer’s Guide to Exploring Southern California’s Great Outdoors (and I just figured out how to write in color on my blog, by the way! In heaven!!!!), I also learned that in the ultra-weird 2001 flick The Anniversary Party, Runyon Canyon was where Joe Therrian (Alan Cumming) and his wife Sally (Jennifer Jason Leigh), along with their friends Skye Davidson (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Levi Panes (Michael Panes), searched for their missing dog, Otis.
Hollywood Escapes also states that 1983’s Breathless and 2005’s Undiscovered were filmed at Runyon Canyon Park, but, unfortunately, I could not find copies of either movie with which to make screen captures for this post.
Some filming locations are also visible from the various Runyon Canyon trails, including the abandoned Solar Drive mansion from Law & Order: Los Angeles that I blogged about last December;
and the John Lautner-designed Garcia House from Lethal Weapon 2, which I blogged about way back in February of 2008. And there is a also private home known as Runyon Ranch located inside of the park that has been featured in countless movies and television shows over the years, including my fave, Beverly Hills, 90210, but I am saving that location for a different post.
Big THANK YOU to my good friend Nat for forcing me to suggesting that I stalk this location.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!