Seeing Stars: Where the Stars are Immortalized


9650 Sunset Boulevard.,
Beverly Hills, CA / (310) 285-2536

Don't confuse this Will Rogers Memorial Park with the much larger Will Rogers State Historic Park. Although both are located along Sunset Blvd., the two are six miles apart, and are vastly different.

The former is a sprawling hilltop estate which was Rogers' ranch home, and is located high atop the Santa Monica Mountains. This smaller park is simply named in honor of the of the cowboy philosopher, and is located in the flatlands of Beverly Hills, right across the street from the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel, at the north end of Rodeo Drive.

In fact, the land for this five-acre park was a gift to the city from the Beverly Hills Hotel, back in 1915, when it became the city's very first park. (Before that, it used to be part of the Hotel's front lawn.)

This park is also located only a few blocks away from Will Rogers' old Beverly Hills home (where he lived before he moved to the ranch.)

It was here that Will Rogers was named Honorary Mayor of Beverly Hills in 1926. The park was named in his honor in 1952, 17 years after his death in a plane crash.

It's a beautiful little park, boasting lush landscaping, bubbling fountains, and a pool of colorful koi-fish.

A bronze commemorative plaque near Sunset Blvd. features a portrait of Will Rogers and a dedication to him.

And being at the center of Beverly Hills means that this park has had its share of celebrity visitors.


Actor Michael Caine tells of seeing John Wayne land in a helicopter in this park, then watching the Duke head across the street to the Beverly Hills Hotel - while wearing his cowboy duds! (Caine was surprised that John Wayne recognized him, but apparently he had just seen Caine's hit movie, "Alfie.")

This is the park where rock singer Rod Stewart proposed to his wife, model Rachel Hunter back in 1990. They were later married at the nearby Good Shepherd Church. (Unfortunately, as of this date, Rachel has dumped Rod, and was actually seen picnicking on the lawn at this very park with her new beau in early 1999.)


Alas, the park made the news in an unfavorable light on April 7, 1998 when former Wham! singer George Michael was arrested for performing a lewd act in front of an undercover policeman in the park's public restroom. He pleaded no contest to the charges, and was fined $810, ordered to do community work and banned from the park. Michael claimed the cop entrapped him, and later made a video making fun of the incident.

 


Click here to buy books about Will Rogers

[Click here to see the separate webpage about the Will Rogers Ranch.]



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Copyright  2014-Gary Wayne
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