Sara’s Apartment Building from “L.A. Story”May 2nd, 2013 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
After tracking down the location of the “talking” freeway sign and Now! clothing store from fave movie L.A. Story (which I blogged about here and here, respectively) a couple of weeks ago, I embarked upon a mission to uncover all of the unknown locales from the 1991 flick. And with a lot of help from the usual suspects – fellow stalkers Mike, from MovieShotsLA, Owen, from the When Write Is Wrong blog, and Geoff, from the 90210Locations website – I managed to do just that! One location that I actually found all on my own, though, was the unique sloped-roof building where Londoner Sara McDowel (Victoria Tennant) stayed while visiting Los Angeles in the movie. So I ran right out to stalk it while in SoCal this past weekend.
Thankfully, this one was quite the easy find. I had an inkling that Sara’s building was located in the West Hollywood area, where a considerable amount of L.A. Story was lensed. So I did a Google search for “West Hollywood apartment building” and “butterfly roof” and, sure enough, one of the results was a WeHo.org page that included a write-up about the historic Hollywood Riviera building located at 1400 North Hayworth Avenue, which turned out to be the right spot. (Although it actually houses condominiums, not apartments.) Woot woot!
The Hollywood Riviera was designed by prolific Los Angeles-based architect Edward H. Fickett in 1954. The extremely unique, 38-unit, post-war-modern-style building features a sloped butterfly roofline, louvered windows, floating exterior staircases, canted (yeah, I had to look that one up, too) balconies, and a central courtyard with a swimming pool.
It also has a pretty cool retro-style sign.
Incredibly, of the 37 West Hollywood apartment buildings that Fickett designed during his lifetime, only five are known to remain standing to this day. Most were demolished to make way for larger, more modern structures. Due to this sad fact and the building’s unique architecture, the West Hollywood Historic Preservation Commission designated the Hollywood Riviera a Historic Cultural Resource in 2010.
In L.A. Story, Sara, the love interest of Harris K. Telemacher (Steve Martin), stays at the Hollywood Riviera while in town to write an article about Los Angeles for The London Times. The building shows up numerous times throughout the movie.
The areas of the Riviera that appeared in the flick include the front exterior;
the front door of one of the units (I am guessing that the unit’s real life apartment number was used in the filming);
and the courtyard and pool.
I am fairly certain that the real life interior of one of the units was utilized in the shoot as well, although Sara’s homestead was two stories, while all of the Hollywood Riviera condos that I have found real estate listings for online consist of only one story, so who knows. You can check out a real estate listing for an actual unit here to see how it compares.
I am also fairly certain that Sara’s balcony was a real Hollywood Riviera balcony.
The Hollywood Riviera was also where Elaine (Lesley Ann Warren) lived in 1999’s The Limey.
And while several websites (including this one and this one) state that the building has appeared in numerous movies and television shows, I could not find the names of any of the other productions that filmed on the premises.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: Sara’s apartment building from L.A. Story, aka the Hollywood Riviera, is located at 1400 North Hayworth Avenue in West Hollywood.