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Historic Mary Pickford Building Destroyed

Mary Pickford Building Pickford-Fairbanks Studios
Mary Pickford Building: The Lot aka Pickford-Fairbanks Studios

Los Angeles just got uglier.

Despite protests, the Mary Pickford Building on West Hollywood’s The Lot has been destroyed by its current owner, the CIM Group. (See video below.) The Lot, as previously reported on this site, was built in the 1910s, when it was known as The Hampton Studios. Silent-era superstars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks purchased the place, which they renamed the Pickford-Fairbanks Studios. That’s where Pickford’s and Fairbanks’ 1920s blockbusters — Robin Hood, Rosita, Sparrows, and The Thief of Bagdad among them — were shot.

Renamed the United Artists Studios, it also became the workplace for the likes of Charles Chaplin, D.W. Griffith, Norma Talmadge, Constance Talmadge, Gloria Swanson, and others.

Independent producer Samuel Goldwyn also worked on the lot, where he made most of his later films: Frank Tuttle’s Roman Scandals with Eddie Cantor, Titanic’s Gloria Stuart, and Lucille Ball in a bit part; William Wyler’s The Little Foxes with Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, and Teresa Wright; Wyler’s Wuthering Heights with Laurence Olivier, Merle Oberon, and David Niven; and Joseph L. Mankiewicz’ Guys and Dolls with Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, and Frank Sinatra.

Also filmed there were United Artists releases such as Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot, with Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis, and Robert Wise / Jerome Robbins’ multiple Oscar winner West Side Story, starring Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer.

In the ’80s, Warner Bros. temporarily set up shop at the studio, which became known as the Warner Hollywood Studios — to differentiate it from the larger Warners lot in Burbank. Since 2000, the studio has been known simply as The Lot. Among those who have worked there in recent years are Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, and Sharon Stone.

In a press statement, CIM Group claimed that it "respects the history of The Lot."

The Mary Pickford Building was erected in 1927. According to reports, the next building to go will be the Samuel Goldwyn Building, erected in 1932. Save Pickfair is trying to prevent further destruction on The Lot. Check out their website. The video below asks you to contact the West Hollywood City Council, where CIM Group received the go ahead to tear down some of The Lot’s buildings. Their phone number is (323) 848-6460.

And make sure to check out the recent fate of the Mary Pickford Institute.

Mary Pickford Building photo via Save Pickfair Facebook page.

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