Bela Lugosi lived in the Los Angeles area from 1928 until his death in 1956. Our new feature “Lugosi in Los Angeles” takes a closer look at some of Lugoi’s LA homes.
Bela Lugosi’s first Los Angeles residence was the Ambassador Hotel, where he lived during the 1928 LA theater run of Dracula.
The Ambassador opened in 1921 in the center of Los Angeles’ Mid-Wilshire district. The Cocoanut Grove opened at the Ambassador a few months later, and quickly became one of the city’s hottest night spots. The Grove was host to six Academy Award ceremonies, including the 1930 awards in which the gold “Oscar” statue was introduced and the ceremony for Hollywood’s “Golden Year” 1939.
During his residency, Lugosi was said to have greatly enjoyed the hotel’s many amenities, which included a golf course, tennis courts, and a swimming pool with a real sand “beach.”
In 1968, Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated in the Ambassador kitchen. This event, along with the decline of the surrounding neighborhood, was the beginning of the hotel’s demise. The Ambassador was closed to guests in 1989, but continued to be available for filming up until its demolition in 2005.
Bela Lugosi continued to live in LA until his death in 1956. Look for regular “Lugosi in Los Angeles” posts here.