This photo of Carole Lombard with Cesar Romero is said to be from 1937, but the key here isn't when it was taken, but where. It was snapped at the Beverly Hills Hotel, a place that figures in Lombard lore -- and a hotel celebrating its centennial this year.
It's possible Jane Alice Peters accompanied her mother, Elizabeth Peters, to some social functions at the hotel in the years after the family moved to southern California in 1914, and as Carole Lombard she likely attended some public events there. But it's probable that most of Lombard's time at the Beverly Hills Hotel was spent in relative seclusion...and that's just the way she wanted it.
For it was here that Carole and Clark Gable spent some intimate days (and nights) together before Clark was able to legally free himself from second wife Ria Langham. And they did it in one of the hotel's many trademarks...its bungalows.
Back in the day, before the hotel grounds grew quite so verdant, they probably more resembled this:
Gable and Lombard are said to have used bungalow No. 4 as their preferred hideaway. Marlene Dietrich spent several months at No. 8, and Marilyn Monroe is said to have been a regular at both No. 1 and No. 9, the latter during the filming of "Let's Make Love" in 1960. She was married to Arthur Miller at the time, and spent a lot of time at the next-door bungalow of Yves Montand and his wife, Simone Signoret...and Monroe and Montand wound up having a highly publicized affair (which Signoret never blamed her for).
For proof of the bungalows' seclusion, check out this aerial shot:
Yes, the Beverly Hills Hotel has figured prominently in Hollywood history -- in fact, for several years in the 1940s, Loretta Young and Irene Dunne were among its owners. Dietrich waged a successful battle for the right to wear slacks at what eventually became known as the Polo Lounge (so named because Will Rogers would take his celeb-laden parties there after polo matches). The hotel's Hollywood ties are played up in this collection of photos (double-click to see the images at full size):
And the hotel, nicknamed the "pink palace" (something Lombard would not have called the place, as its famed pink exterior didn't come into being until a late 1940s remodeling by famed black architect Paul Williams) is celebrating its centennial in appropriate style. This month, a book about the hotel's history, its ups and downs (it was closed briefly during the Depression) is being released, written by the hotel's official historian, Robert S. Anderson (great-grandson of the hotel's founder, Margaret Anderson); it's said to be chock-full of never-before seen photos of the famed place. You can order it at http://www.thebeverlyhillscollection.co
In mid-June, a weekend celebration to benefit the Motion Picture & Television Fund (the charitable organization that looks after so many in the entertainment community) will be held, featuring stars ranging from Bill Cosby and Warren Beatty to Mary J. Blige. Find out more at http://www.beverlyhillshotel.com/Celebr
The Beverly Hills Hotel is indeed a special place, though if you aren't financially equipped to rent a room, much less a bungalow, try the Fountain Coffee Room, where a meal costs about $30, including tip -- expensive, but at least you can say you ate there. See you at the pool!