Marilyn’s Studio Club Days


The Hollywood Studio Club was a home for young actresses where Marilyn lived in 1946-47 (and again in 1948.) Her roommate was Clarice Evans, and fellow residents included another star-in-waiting, Eleanor Parker. The photo shown above, taken in 1948, was published in the Greater Los Angeles Press Club brochure, and  inscribed by Marilyn to Clarice’s sister, Louise Evans.

The illustrious history of Marilyn’s ‘forgotten Hollywood sorority’ is traced in a fascinating new article for the Messy Nessy Chic website. (Although Marilyn later claimed to have posed nude to pay the rent, her famous calendar shoot actually occurred in 1949, after she left the Studio Club. She needed the fifty dollars to get her car repaired. However, she had frequently posed for cheesecake artist and photographer Earl Moran during the lean years.)

“It was described as a Hollywood sorority, a chaperoned dormitory and one newspaper article in 1946 even called it a rescue home for wayward girls. The club was founded in 1916 when a Mrs. Eleanor Jones began noticing groups of young women hanging around at her library until closing time, clearly with nowhere else to go.

The Hollywood Studio Club got a fancy new home in 1926, a grand renaissance revival building designed by the same architect who did Hearst Castle. Warner Brothers, Metro Goldwyn and even Howard Hughes helped fund its construction.

The club provided residents with accommodation, two meals a day, sewing machines, hair driers, laundry equipment, typewriters, theatre literature, practice rooms, stage and sundeck. Performing arts classes were also available and the club regularly hosted industry-related events.

There was always a long waiting list for the club, but the only qualification needed was for an applicant to be seeking a career in the motion picture business. Some would make it as actresses, writers or designers, others would settle as a studio secretary.”

Thanks to Jackie Craig

‘Marilyn Was Just Like the Other Girls’

Montage by Marilyn Mexico

Writing for the McLeansboro Times-Leader, Helen Sue Johnson remembers her residency at the Hollywood Studio Club for young actresses in the 1940s:

“Looking at a picture of Marilyn Monroe in Parade magazine reminds me of my short time in Hollywood, when I was making singing commercials. ‘Get fresh today, and you will see how really fresh can be’ was one of them.

I stayed at the Hollywood Studio Club, where Marilyn Monroe, Donna Reed and others also stayed while trying to get into the movies. At the time, Marilyn was not famous, but after she left, I got her room with another girl who had been Marilyn’s roommate.

Her roommate, Clarice Evans, later told me Marilyn was just like the other girls, but when she put on make-up, she dazzled everyone!”


Remembering the Studio Club

Collage by Sergio Serrano

Writing for the McLeansboro Times-Leader, Helen Sue Johnson remembers her stay at the Studio Club, the hostel for young actresses where Marilyn once lived:

“Back in the 1950s, when I was an aspiring actress and singer, I stayed at the Studio Club, a place for young ladies wanting to go into the theater.

Though Marilyn was famous later, she was there for a while and then left to move somewhere else; I got her room and roommate, Clarice Evans, whom I ran into after Marilyn was famous. We talked about Marilyn at the Studio Club; Clarice said she was just like the other girls, pretty, but she got lucky.

Believe it or not, Marilyn attended the Christian Science church, and so did Elizabeth Taylor, during their younger years.”

Marilyn at the Hollywood Studio Club

Photo by Laszlo Willinger

Marilyn Monroe, as a virtually unknown 22 year-old, lived at the Hollywood Studio Club, 1215 North Lodi Place, a hostel for young actresses, between 1946-47, sharing room 307 with Clarice Evans. She returned for a second stay in 1948.

The Studio Club closed in 1975, and the building is now owned by the YMCA. Other famous alumni include Kim Novak, Ayn Rand, Peg Entwhistle and Sharon Tate.

Vintage interview with roommate Clarice Evans at The Pittsburgh Press

Mini-documentary on the Studio Club, posted by The Actors’ Workshop on Youtube

Thanks to Megan at Everlasting Star – more information here