9137 S. Figueroa Street, in south-central Los Angeles: site of the former Hacienda Motel (now called the Star Motel), where popular singer Sam Cooke ("You Send Me," "Wonderful World," "Another Saturday Night") was shot death in December of 1964 by a motel manager armed with .22 pistol. Cooke had taken a woman to the seedy motel, and after the shooting she claimed that he had tried to rape her. However, evidence suggests that she may have been a prostitute who may have tried to rob Cooke, leading to the chase. When Cooke broke down the door of the manager's office, where he mistakenly believed the woman had gone, the shocked manager shot him. *
Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles: the
Ambassador Hotel, where Presidential candidate Senator Robert F. Kennedy
was assassinated (in the hotel pantry) after he won the 1968 California
Sunset Blvd and Whittier Drive, in west Beverly Hills:
the story of "Dead Man's Curve," made famous in the Jan & Dean
song, ironically came true near this site (the home of Buddy Hackett),
on April 12, 1966, when singer Jan Berry
had a near-fatal car accident here. It left him permanently disabled.
Cielo Drive (now changed to 10066), Beverly Hills:
the house where the Manson
Family cult slaughtered actress Sharon Tate
and five others (including her unborn child, Paul Richard Polanski) on
August 9, 1969. The murders were the basis of the 1976 movie, "Helter
Skelter." Before the murders, this house had been the home of
and was the site where Cary Grant
& Dyan Cannon
honeymooned in 1965. (Since new buyers were reluctant to live there, in
1994, the owners tore down the original home and built a new 17,000 square
foot Mediterranean villa on the same site.)
off Santa Susana Pass Road west of Topanga Canyon Road, Chatsworth, CA: the Spahn Movie Ranch, a deserted former studio ranch (in the rocky hills of the northwest San Fernando Valley) where Charles Manson and his "family" lived before the Sharon Tate murders. Years before, Tom Mix movie Westerns were shot there. The remaining ranch buildings burned back in 1970, during the Manson trial.
The main buildings
of the movie ranch were roughly where the map says "Santa Susana
Pass Road". Between Santa Susana Pass Road and Stagecoach Road, the
land dips down into a bowl that stretches across to the main ranch area.
At last word, the Church of Rocky Peak was negotiating to buy the property,
where they planned to build a Christian day-care center and a small elementary
El Roble Lane, West Los Angeles: the home
where Nick Adams
(star of TV's "The Rebel") died of an apparent overdose
in 1968. However, there were no open pill bottles, needles, or any other
drug-related items found at the scene, so his death remains something of
W. Hollywood Boulevard, West Hollywood:
the home of controversial stand-up comic Lenny
Bruce, where he killed himself with an
overdose of drugs in 1966. His story was told in the 1974 movie "Lenny,"
starring Dustin Hoffman.
Blvd and Ivar Avenue: the corner where
actor William Frawley
dropped dead on the street of a heart attack in 1966. Frawley, who had
played neighbor 'Fred Mertz' in the classic TV show "I Love Lucy"
(and 'Bub' on "My Three Sons") had been out to see a movie,
and collapsed on his way back. A nurse dragged him into the lobby of the
but he was DOA. Ironically, his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located
just a half block away, on the south side of the street.
N. Sycamore Avenue (above Hollywood Blvd.), Hollywood:
the apartment of Bobby Fuller,
the singer who (as lead singer of 'The Bobby Fuller Four') gave us "I Fought
The Law (And The Law Won)." In 1966, just five months after
that song hit the Top Ten, Fuller died mysteriously from gasoline
asphyxiation in his car (at age 22), while parked outside his apartment,
just around the corner from Grauman's
Chinese Theatre. Police labeled it a suicide, but the possibility of
foul play has also been mentioned. According to his road manager at the
time, "Bobby was found in his mother's car on the vacant lot
north of the building, where there is now a small park - about 50' from
Franklin & about 50' from Sycamore and about 50' from the apartment
The corner of Beverly Glen Blvd and Santa Monica Blvd: the intersection where comic genius Ernie Kovacs died on the morning of Jan 12, 1962. He was coming home from a party for Milton Berle, driving his white Corvair south on Beverly Glen, when he tried to negotiate a left turn onto Santa Monica Blvd at 50 mph. He may have been trying to light one of his trademark cigars at the time, since one was found next to his body. Whatever, he lost control of the car on the rain-wet street and the driver's side of the car smashed into a utility pole, killing him instantly.
* locations marked by an asterisk could be located in a high-crime district. Exercise reasonable caution.
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