Classic Hollywood #55 – Party At The Cocoanut Grove 1937

Bennett, Roland, Davies and Fairbanks Party at The Cocoanut Grove -1937


Looking at this picture the first thing you notice is, “It sure looks like these elegant people are having a lot of fun.”

The date is February 10, 1937 and the place is the Cocoanut Grove nightclub located inside the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. The people partying were at the time among the biggest stars of Hollywood, past and present. From left to right, Constance Bennett, Gilbert Roland, Marion Davies and Douglas Fairbanks.

Who the party was for I could not find out, but almost every night there was a party at the Cocoanut Grove. In 1940 the Academy Awards ceremony was held at the Cocoanut Grove. The Ambassador Hotel closed to the public in 1989. Amid outcries from preservationists, the hotel was demolished in 2006 with the promise that portions of the hotel would be retained for the future, including the Cocoanut Grove. But due to the poor structural condition of the Cocoanut Grove most of the nightclub was eventually demolished leaving behind just one wall that still stands.

A brief note about the people in the photograph. Constance Bennett was a major film star, with her most famous role as a ghost in the classic Topper. During the height of her popularity in the 1930s, Constance was frequently on the list of the annual Best Dressed Women in Hollywood.

Gilbert Roland starred in films from the 1920s until the 1980s. Roland was in over 110 movies co-starring with actors Kirk Douglas, Jane Russell, Charles Laughton and Cary Grant.

Marion Davies was a star in the 1920s until the early 1930s. She was the longtime companion of publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst.

Douglas Fairbanks was one of the founders of United Artists and at one time married to Hollywood’s Sweetheart, Mary Pickford. Fairbanks was among the most popular of the silent stars, often playing swashbuckling heroes. By 1937 he had essentially retired from making films. The Fairbanks name continued to be known to moviegoers for decades afterwards through Douglas Fairbanks Jr.. Doug Jr. starred in such blockbusters as The Prisoner of Zenda, Little Caesar and Gunga Din.

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