The Chateau Marmont: A Brief Cultural History

Any project with both Aaron Sorkin and John Krasinski behind it has our attention. But we were especially intrigued to learn last week that the pair are working with HBO on a miniseries about Hollywood’s most famous (and perhaps its most notorious) hotel, the Chateau Marmont. With its lavish bungalows and soundproof rooms, it’s long been a haven for celebrities behaving badly. Built in 1929 as an apartment complex and transformed into a hotel in 1931, the Chateau’s racy reputation was set by 1939, when Columbia Pictures honcho advised his talent,”If you must get in trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont.” In anticipation of Sorkin and Krasinski’s miniseries, we’ve put together a brief cultural history of the hotel, from funny stories to tragic deaths.

Nathanael West writes The Day of the Locust (1939)

The Chateau Marmont was a haven for Hollywood types from the beginning, so it makes sense that Nathanael West checked into the hotel to write The Day of the Locust, his novel about eccentric wannabe stars during the Great Depression. Donald Sutherland and Karen Black starred in the 1975 big-screen adaptation.