The Hollywood Athletic Club is founded by Charlie Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino and Cecil B. DeMille. Meyer & Holler, the architectural firm famous for both Grauman’s Egyptian and Chinese Theaters, are commissioned for the project. The tower is the tallest structure in Los Angeles when it opened on New Years Eve in 1924.
During the studio era, the H.A.C. was the stomping ground for Hollywood royalty. It’s where the screen stars trained and also frequently served as a social retreat. The tower had hotel rooms, and in the garden were a series of bungalows. It housed an indoor, Olympic-sized swimming pool, a full gymnasium with a running track, steam rooms, saunas, restaurant, library, a cigar lounge, barbershop, a haberdashery, squash courts and various game rooms.
ORIGINAL H.A.C. MEMBERS INCLUDE CHARLIE CHAPLIN, CECIL B. DE MILLE, RUDOLPH VALENTINO, BELA LUGOSI, ERROL FLYNN, JOHN WAYNE, MARY PICKFORD, CORNEL WILDE, HUMPHREY BOGART, CLARK GABLE, JEAN HARLOW, JOHNNY WEISSMULLER, WALT DISNEY, JOHN FORD, DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS SR AND JR, FRANCES X. BUSHMAN, HOWARD HUGHES, GILBERT ROLAND, JOAN CRAWFORD, MAE WEST, BUSTER CRABBE, TYRONE POWER, JOHN BARRYMORE, AND GROUCHO MARX.
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences holds the first Emmy Awards at the Hollywood Athletic Club. It was hosted by Walter O'Keefe, who substituted for Rudy Vallee at the last minute.
Gary Berwin purchases the building and rebrands it as the Gary Berwin Entertainment Complex (BEC).
Chris Blackwell, the man responsible for turning the world onto reggae, establishes the new headquarters for Island Records at H.A.C.
The squash courts are converted into a state-of-the art, full-service recording facility known as Baby’O Studios where Joe Strummer (The Clash), the Beach Boys and George Clinton (Parliament) all frequently record.
The Nourmand family acquires ownership of the property in an effort to revitalize the Hollywood landmark.
Joe Strummer shows the Hollywood Athletic Club to his girlfriend’s father, Tom Salter (who runs Chelsea Billiards in N.Y.). In partnership with David Gilmour, Salter becomes operator of the newly opened H.A.C. billiards hall in 1990. It enjoys a renaissance of popularity among Hollywood’s elite and is voted by Billiards Digest “America’s Best” in 1996 & 1997.
Peter Famulari reimagines the H.A.C. Olympic pool space into the destination nightclub Boulevard3.
Jeffrey Chodorow of China Grill opens Social Hollywood within the halls of the illustrious Moroccan and Venetian rooms.
Social Hollywood is re-branded Citrus in collaboration with world-renowned chef Michel Richard.
Today The Hollywood Athletic has experienced a major restoration, an homage to it’s original design. It is available for creative office space, special events, restaurants, and as a filming location.