22 May 2012

What's the Beverly Hills Collection?

Earlier in the month, this photo of Marlene Dietrich in the Beverly Hills Hotel Polo Lounge began making the rounds online, the highest-quality and most detailed copy of which is at the Vanity Fair website.

While other so-called news sites list the image as "undated," Vanity Fair pinpoints it to 1937, which her Angel-esque eyebrows seem to corroborate and which was before Dietrich called the hotel home. In fact, I suppose she was still at the Countess di Frasso's and just visiting the Polo Lounge socially. The furriers among you may enjoy this image, but I can't get over that contraption on her head. You can't blame folks for gossiping that she had work done when she covered her hairline like a bedazzled babushka.

Anyway, the Beverly Hills Collection has furnished this photo, but what exactly is the Beverly Hills Collection? They've got a site. They've also got a book by Robert S. Anderson called The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows: The First 100 Years, which costs a dollar for every year of the hotel's existence. Still, these facts don't give me many clues about the corporate entity known as the Beverly Hills Collection, nor did the press contact, and--as usual--professional journalists don't provide much insight either.


  1. Hello Joseph,

    Very beautiful picture, as ever with Marlene !

    I love and admire your blog since a while. I'm a Marlene's French lover and the trouble is that my English is quite French too...
    I created a Google account and a blog about my obsession to share it (

    France celebrates Marlene this month:
    -a new book by her friend Louis Bozon
    -2 CDs : her French interviews (1963), 2h30.
    -documentary on the French TV on thursday
    -a book about the story of the song Lilli Marlene.

    I hope it will help to make her more famous because she'is quite forgotten here and it's a shame, she was a great friend of France.

    Regards, Fabrice.

    1. Fabrice, I have always found English a la francaise quite alluring. Sadly, French with an American accent lacks the same appeal.;)

      Thank you for letting me know about your blog. I will add it to our list because I am always thrilled to see the international Dietrich community grow online.

      Even though Dietrich may not be getting much attention in France, she is at least getting some thoughtful attention. Most Anglophone journalists only write superficial cliches. Frankly, they are probably too stupid to write more than listicles (list-articles).

  2. Just discovered online that before moving west Joseph von Sternberg lived in Kingswood Road,Weekhawken,NJ. Paul

    1. Paul, I found a tidbit about V.S. having a home built at 63 Kingswood Road, Weehawken, NJ in the '40s. I would be curious to know when he lived there because he did end up back in L.A., teaching at UCLA. Another skim through Fun in a Chinese Laundry is in order! It makes me wonder whether V.S. preferred to live just beyond the hubbub because that address is pretty much over the Lincoln Tunnel to Manhattan and his Valley home was hidden from Hollywood by the Santa Monica Mts.

  3. Marlene's hat/scarf contraption and her gloves (the one on her left hand looks like a long if somewhat elegant workman's glove) seem just a bit strange.

    1. Those gloves are indeed strange, but they probably spared Marlene from splinters. All that bulky woodwork belongs in a biergarten, not Beverly Hills.

  4. Hello,
    i am writing you from France where they aired yesterday night the documentary on Marlene to commemorate her passing 20 years ago; i had already seen her private home-movies (with young Kennedy in 1939, and Joe Carstairs, Fairbanks...), what was new and pretty moving and sad were the phone messages she left on Louis Bozon answering machines: i am glad he saved them but appaled also he used them. Some were really sad...others funny about the guy from California who wanted to have sex with her "at christmas", or her comments on Madonna and Chirac.
    New also the interview of her neighbor and the anecdotes she told.
    Does anyone know if Norma Bosquet is still alive? she wasn't around which isn't surprising as in her book Marlene the last secrets she dished Maria and the family, implying Marlene committed suicide.

    1. Stephane, to answer your question about Norma Bosquet, she died last year. David Bret brought that to our attention, and the official Marlene Dietrich Facebook page acknowledged her passing as well.

      I greatly appreciate you giving us the details of this documentary. Do you know whether it is available online? It will re-air on 27 May at 7:55, but I'm not fanatical enough to fly to France and catch that.;)

  5. That looks like a 1940s Marlene to me!


    1. Do you think it was taken when she was living at the hotel? That thing on her head wouldn't have looked out of place in The Lady Is Willing, and her eyebrows are more in that movie's style. Also, I fast-forwarded through the film and now believe that the fur on the chair is perhaps the one that she wears when she's weeping about the baby's health. I know it photographs darker in the below screen captures, but the pattern of fur (about which I know nothing) looks similar.

      screen cap 1
      screen cap 2