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by Allen J. Sheinman | January 13, 2017

rooseveltIn this season of awards shows (still to come: the People’s Choice Awards, Jan. 18; the SAG Awards, Jan. 29; the Grammys, Feb. 12; the Film Independent Spirit Awards, Feb. 25, and the Academy Awards, Feb. 26), The List offers some colorful facts about the storied Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which hosted the very first Oscars ceremony on May 29, 1929, and recently underwent a $25 million guest-room renovation (the 300-room property has more than 25,000 square feet of flexible meeting space).

  • The hotel, named after former president Theodore Roosevelt, opened on May 15, 1927.
  • Celebrities in attendance on opening day included Will Rogers, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Clara Bow, Greta Garbo and Gloria Swanson.
  • On that first Oscar night in 1929, hosts Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Al Jolson took all of five minutes to give away 13 statuettes, including for best actor (Emil Jannings), best actress (Janet Gaynor) and best picture (Wings). Warner Brothers won a special award for its pioneering work on talking pictures.
  • During Prohibition, a young Errol Flynn mixed his notorious gin recipe in the back room of the hotel’s barber shop.
  • Cute moppet Shirley Temple took her first tap-dancing lesson from Bill “Bojangles” Robinson on the hotel’s ornate tiled stairway.
  • When Clark Gable and wife Carole Lombard stayed in the penthouse in the late ’30s, it cost them $5 per night. The same suite today will run you $6,000 per.
  • Budding starlet Marilyn Monroe posed for her first-ever ad (for suntan lotion) on the diving board of the hotel’s pool.
  • The ghost of actor Montgomery Clift (1920-1966) is said to haunt the ninth floor (suite 928), where he used to pace the halls in 1953 memorizing his lines while making From Here to Eternity.
  • Over the years, many TV shows have filmed scenes at the hotel, ranging from I Love Lucy to Curb Your Enthusiasm.
  • Prince and Angelina Jolie are among modern-day stars who have stayed at the property.