Happy 100th Birthday Bevery Hills
Beverly Hills just celebrated its 100th birthday in typically over the top style with a ten foot tall chocolate cake that was cut into 15,000 slices and served to tourists and locals on ritzy Rodeo Drive.
That street has been made famous in films like Pretty Woman, Beverly Hills Cop and Clueless – all of which feature on my Celebrity Insider Movie Locations Tour with Tourific Escapes.
But then celebrity has played a big part in Beverly Hills pretty much from the start.
Douglas Fairbanks was the first film star to move into the area, much to the annoyance of his Summit Drive neighbours who made it clear they didn’t want actors there as they felt it lowered the tone and affected property prices.
But instead of moving out, Fairbanks persuaded all his celebrity friends to move into 90210 as well and they did so en masse. Soon, stars like Harold Lloyd, Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino so dominated the neighbourhood that one of the newly arrived stars, screen cowboy Will Rogers, became the city’s mayor, famously saying of his rise to power: “A fool and his money are soon elected.”
The place is still packed with the rich and famous today and Beverly Hills is the richest city in America where the cost of living is 163 per cent higher than the national average.
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All that money will come in handy for shopping at the most expensive store in the world, Bijan, on Rodeo Drive. It requires a reservation to shop at this favorite clothing shop of presidents and princes. The average customer spend is $10,000-per-visit and I hear the cheapest thing on sale there is a pair of socks for $50.
You can take my Saturday afternoons tour for a little less than that and it will certainly bring you more memories and laughs than any pair of socks!
Beverly Hills was started by oilman Burton Green who originally bought the many acres of bean fields there hoping to strike black gold. But when he found only water, he instead decided to build an elite Los Angeles enclave and sell off plots for luxury housing.
The curved streets, based on the torso of silent movie sexpot Theda Bara, and tree lined boulevards, landscaped by Englishman John L Reeves, proved immediately popular – and remain so today where Beverly Hills is home to 35,000 people.
Among the residents are plastic surgeons, movie stars, millionaires and even little old me. There’s no place like home.
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By SANDRO MONETTI