Oakwood Apartments


Seeing Stars: The Hotels of the Stars..

3600 Barham Blvd.,
Los Angeles (Toluca Hills), CA. / (323) 851-3450

The Oakwood, a cluster of 1,151 apartments in the Toluca Lake district of North Hollywood, is conveniently located between Warner Bros Studios and Universal Studios, and is less than two miles away from Walt Disney Studios. Oakwood specializes in temporary furnished apartments, usually rented for a month or two. There is a 24-hour security guard in a kiosk at the entrance, to protect the privacy of the residents inside.


Stars who have stayed at the Oakwood Apartments include TV's "Dexter", Michael C. Hall, director/actor Neil Patrick Harris ("Doogie Howser", "How I Met Your Mother"), Kenneth Branagh ("Othello") and his ex-wife Emma Thompson ("Sense and Sensibility"), Lou Gossett Jr. ("An Officer and A Gentleman"), Dean Stockwell ("Quantum Leap"), Ossie Davis ("Evening Shade") and his wife Ruby Dee, Kim Novak ("Vertigo"), and Conan O'Brien, as well as rock singers such as Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, Queen Latifah, and Guns & Roses. (One of the heavy metal boys lost his pet snake down the toilet, but it popped up later in the toilet of an adjoining room.)


Although the Oakwood caters to the show biz crowd, the majority of the residents at this Valley complex aren't long-term tenants, and most aren't A-list stars. For the most part, the celebrities who stay here (or at least the business managers who book their lodgings) are attracted by the relatively low rents and by the apartments' location next to the Hollywood studios. So, even though the principal stars of a motion picture might choose to stay at a posh Beverly Hills hotel, studios often reserve blocks of apartments here for the supporting cast and crew of their productions.


In the past, this apartment complex has housed the cast and crews of "Forrest Gump," "Batman," the "Star Trek" movies, "Congo," "Beverly Hills Cop," and "Sister Act," plus the casts of such Broadway plays as "Phantom of the Opera," "Les Miserables" and "Grand Hotel," not to mention the staff of musical performers on concert tours, such as Janet Jackson.

You can sometimes see the Oakwood on "The Tonight Show", as Jay Leno tapes some of his "Jaywalking" segments there.

(A while back, an Oakwood resident told me that he thought he saw Brad Pitt driving out of his apartment complex as he was driving in - smoking a cigarette... and here's the weird part--driving an old brown station wagon... Hmmm... Brad did smoke, and then-wife Jennifer Aniston did tape "Friends" just around the corner at Warner Bros...)

Jessica Stroup, who plays 'Erin' on "90210" told Jimmy Kimmel she lived at the Oakwood when she moved to Hollywood at age 17, and referred to it as "a cesspool of everybody who wants to act in this entire industry - but it turns out that everybody is 30, and in a soap opera".

The Oakwood had once been called "the largest singles complex on earth," but in 1991, its corporate owners decided to concentrate on the entertainment industry, and started offering special rates for those in show biz. Their slogan: "A Home, Not a Hotel."

The apartment complex also offers special amenities such as a rehearsal hall, a clubhouse, two swimming pools, two fitness centers, three satellite dishes, tennis courts (with a tennis pro), a basketball court, beach volleyball, a conference room, hair salon, convenience store, dry cleaner, and even a Hertz car rental office. Most two bedroom apartments there, go for around $1,800-$2,100.

From January to April (during the pilot season for new TV shows) these apartments are a Mecca for would-be kid actors, a home-away-from-home to as many as 500 young actors and their parents, all hoping to land roles in the new shows the studios are putting together. When Hilary Duff and her sister Haley first got the acting bug and nagged their parents to take them to L.A., where did they stay?  At the Oakwood, of course. Some of the other young stars who have passed through Oakwood include Emmanuel Lewis of "Webster," Jennifer Love Hewitt ("Party of Five"), Jessica Biel ("7th Heaven"), Keshia Knight Pulliam of the "Bill Cosby Show," Neil Patrick Harris ("Doogie Howser") and Fred Savage of "The Wonder Years."

 Getting there: from Warner Bros. Studios, just drive south down Barham Blvd., about half a mile.

[For more information about this subject, you can access the Oakwood's official website at: http://www.oakwood.com.]

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