Clark didn’t bounce around as much as many of the other celebrities of his day. So many Hollywood stars of his time period moved around so often it is hard to keep track. For example,the friend who accompanied me on this trip is a big Katharine Hepburn fan and we learned early in the planning stages that visiting each of her houses would be virtually impossible! Clark’s residences aren’t as numerous but unfortunately they’re not all still standing either.
When Ria followed him to California after he made The Painted Desert, she rented them two apartments at Ravenswood Apartments, one for her and Clark and one for her two children, George and Jana. The Ravenswood still stands today near Hancock Park.
Soon after they were married in June 1931, Ria and Clark rented a mansion on pretty, ritzy San Ysidro Drive in Beverly Hills. It was just up the street from the legendary home of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, Pickfair. Unfortunately for us, both Clark and Ria’s house and Pickfair have been torn down. I had heard rumors that the original front gates of Pickfair still stood, but we drove up and down their street and I did not see them. Here’s the street sign, though.
In 1933, as his popularity swelled and swooning females were constantly on the lawn, Clark and Ria, stepchildren in tow, moved into another rental house, this time into the more secluded area of Brentwood. The house was described as a grand Colonial and Ria furnished it royally. How it looked then:
This house, too, has been torn down (is there no justice?) but here’s the street:
And the curb:
When Clark left Ria in 1935 (soon after he learned of Loretta Young’s pregnancy), he moved into the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, which at the time was a struggling hotel in the Beverly Hills business district. Clark paid $150 a month for a three room apartment.
Nowadays, it is at the end of the infamous Rodeo Drive and $150 wouldn’t even get you half a night’s stay.
Clark lived there for quite a bit as he had a private back entrance to his suite and could retain some privacy. It was while he lived there that he met and fell in love with Carole; she memorably tipped the bellboy to put “forgive me”doves in his room after the Mayfair Ball in 1936.
We wandered around the hotel for a while and took several photos:
The doors are apparently still original, or at least, match the original design (think that’s more accurate). The rooms have been re-numbered over the years so I have no idea where Clark’s room was but here’s a door at any rate.
That’s not all the places Clark lived…more coming soon!