Seeing Stars: Churches of the Stars..
 


6657 W. Sunset Boulevard,
North Hollywood, CA / (323) 462-6311



In the heart of old Hollywood, right next door to the famous Crossroads of the World center on Sunset Boulevard, is an impressive structure, the Blessed Sacrament Church. Established back in 1904, it was the first Catholic church in the Hollywood area.

During Tinseltown's heyday, this was the primary parish church for many of Hollywood's Catholic celebrities, including actresses
Irene Dunne ("Life With Father," "Anna and the King of Siam," "The Awful Truth") and Loretta Young (who won an Oscar for "The Farmer's Daughter" and was nominated for "Come to the Stable").




This is the church where Bing Crosby got married to his first wife (Dixie Lee), back in September of 1930. Bing wasn't a rich man then, and the couple couldn't even afford to go on a honeymoon after the wedding.


In September of 1934, Russ Columbo (the fiancé of actress Carole Lombard, and a popular singer of stage, screen and radio fame) accidentally shot himself while cleaning one of his guns. His funeral was held at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament; the pallbearers included Bing Crosby, Gilbert Roland and Zeppo Marx. (Columbo was buried at Forest Lawn Glendale.)



In 1944, actress Kim Hunter was married at Blessed Sacrament. The event had a big spread in LIFE magazine.  It was the first wedding  that Shirley Temple ever attended (Shirley was just 15 at the time).

In 1956, John Wayne attended his daughter Toni's wedding at Blessed Sacrament (along with Bob Hope & Loretta Young). He later attended the wedding of his other daughter, Melinda, at this same church.

In October of 1957, the then-widowed Bing Crosby was married for a second time. But by then Bing was a multi-millionaire, and when his second wife (Kathy Grant) took pre-wedding instructions for becoming a Catholic, she didn't take the classes here, but at the more upscale Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills.

Likewise, as the Hollywood neighborhood around the church has deteriorated, most of its celebrity parishioners have moved on to other parishes. Today, this portion of Sunset Boulevard is a somewhat seedy area, brightened only by the adjacent Crossroads center.

The church still has one unique claim to Hollywood glamour, though: on the evening of the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade, the police horses and the parade's equestrian units are stationed in the church's parking lot.

An episode of "ER" (with guest star James Cromwell as a bishop) was filmed at Blessed Sacrament.

Getting there: The church is located on Sunset Boulevard, between Highland Avenue (on the west) and Cahuenga Boulevard (on the east), right next door to the Crossroads of the World center. / From Hollywood and Vine, go south (two blocks) on Vine Street to Sunset Boulevard, and turn right (west). Go half a mile west on Sunset, and the church will be on your right (north) side.

[You can see video of Blessed Sacrament's weekly services online at the church's official website, at
http://www.catholic-tv.net/blessedsacrament.]




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