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.”
Actress Eleanor Parker – perhaps best-known for her role as the scheming baroness in the 1965 musical, The Sound of Music – has died aged 91.
Born in Ohio, Eleanor Jean Parker made her screen debut at 18, in They Died With Their Boots On (1941.) However, her scenes were cut. Signed to Warner Brothers, she played Mildred Rogers in Of Human Bondage (1946); and starred in the 1948 adaptation of Wilkie Collins’ mystery novel, The Woman in White.
In 1950, Parker was nominated for an Oscar for her role as a teenage convict in Caged. She was nominated again in 1951, for another Noir role, in Detective Story. Her third nomination was for Interrupted Melody (1955), a biopic in which she played Marjorie Lawrence, an Australian opera singer stricken with polio. She also starred alongside Frank Sinatra in The Man With the Golden Arm (1956), a harrowing look at heroin addiction; and in another Maugham story, The Seventh Sin (a 1957 remake of Garbo’s The Painted Veil.)
Parker had three children, and found lasting happiness with her fourth husband, Raymond N. Hirsch, whom she married in 1966. Her last screen role was in 1991. An unusually versatile actress, Parker was known as the ‘woman of a thousand faces’.
What movie fans may not know is that Eleanor Parker was also a friend of Marilyn Monroe. They met during the late 1940s, when they were both living at the Hollywood Studio Club, a hostel for aspiring actresses – as Marilyn later revealed in ‘I Want Women to Like Me!’, a signed-by (or approved) article, published in Photoplay magazine’s November 1952 issue.
“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.”
My review of Keith Badman’s The Final Years of Marilyn Monroeis featured in the latest issue of Mad About Marilyn magazine, which also includes a vintage magazine article penned by Marilyn’s one-time roommate at Hollywood’s Studio Club, Clarice Evans, and a profile of photographer John Bryson.
If you are interested in joining the Mad About Marilyn Fan Club, please contact Emma Downing Warren.
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.