With camera lenses capturing their every move, it’s understandable that celebrities based in La La Land want to get away from it all and let rip away from the paparazzi. Many seek refuge at the Chateau Marmont on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, which has had a reputation for hellraising since the 1930s.
Harry Cohn, head of Columbia Pictures from 1924 until his death of a heart attack in 1958, once famously remarked to two of his young stars: “If you must get in trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont.”
The major movie studios can rest assured that the antics of their charges at the Chateau will remain out of the newspapers. For starters, Twitter is forbidden on the premises. Anyone who violates this rule and tweets about any shenanigans they witness can expect to be banned. Blogger Jenn Hoffman learned the hard way when she tweeted about model Rachel Hunter’s drunken behaviour and was handed a one-year ban.
Because so much is hidden behind the Chateau’s castle-like fort and incredibly thick walls, our list is sure to be missing some of the most scandalous stories. After all, many don’t reach the public domain until decades later. However, here are seven of the most incredible tales from the hotel’s history that have been revealed.
- James Dean’s wild stunt
- Jim Morrison fell off the roof
- Dennis Hopper’s 50-woman orgy
- Billy Idol behaved like a true rock star
- What did Scarlett Johansson and Benicio del Toro get up to in the lift?
- Heath Ledger filmed doing drugs
- Lindsay Lohan racked up a five-figure tab
James Dean’s wild stunt
James Dean auditioned for his iconic role in Rebel Without a Cause at Chateau Marmont, and allegedly jumped through a window to impress director Nicholas Ray. The stunt clearly worked as Dean wound up getting the part, and the rest is history.
Dennis Hopper’s 50-woman orgy
Dennis Hopper took full advantage of the anonymity provided by the Chateau, allegedly partaking in orgies with up to 50 women. His Easy Rider co-star Jack Nicholson is unlikely to have been far away…
Jim Morrison fell off the roof
Frontman of The Doors Jim Morrison claimed his time at Chateau Marmont used up “eight of my nine lives”. One of these is said to have been when, in a state of intoxication, Morrison climbed onto a roof or onto his terrace and tried to swing into his room, only to slip and fall on his back, injuring himself in the process and failing to, err, break on through to the other side (sorry).
Billy Idol behaved like a true rock star
In 1982, right after the release of his most famous song White Wedding, eccentric rock star Billy Idol moved into a bungalow at the fabled Chateau Marmont. He later admitted in his autobiography that he smashed the posh walls of his apartment one morning, and then waited for the police to arrive while completely stark-naked with their sirens wailing in the distance. It was only later that Idol discovered the law enforcers were on their way to the hotel because of the death of John Belushi. The Blues Brothers star died in the Chateau’s infamous Bungalow 3 after a drug overdose.
Heath Ledger filmed doing drugs
Back in 2008, star of The Dark Knight Heath Ledger was caught on camera at a party in the hotel snorting cocaine that someone handed him. A few months before the Joker actor’s death, a video of the incident ended up on the internet.
What did Scarlett Johansson and Benicio del Toro get up to in the lift?
A young Scarlett Johansson was apparently so keen on her acting colleague Benicio del Toro back in 2004 that she pounced on him in one of the Chateau’s lifts after that year’s Oscars ceremony, ripping his clothes off in the process. Of the steamy situation, she later said, “We were making out or having sex or something.”
Lindsay Lohan racked up a five-figure tab
Now, it takes a lot to get banned from the Chateau Marmont, as this list demonstrates. However, thanks to excessive use of the hotel’s room service and mini bar, Hollywood wild child Lindsay Lohan was handed an invoice for $46,000 in 2012 after a two-month stay at the Chateau and asked to leave the premises immediately. In an official letter by director Philip Pavel, Lohan was banned from the hotel until the bill was paid.