Hollywood's Historic Buildings
Theaters and other architectural gems lined Hollywood's famous boulevards during its Golden Age and now hold restored star appeal
- By Laura Kiniry
- Smithsonian.com, March 01, 2010
The Egyptian Theater (Los Angeles Public Library)
6712 Hollywood Boulevard
Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks joined hundreds of fans in the Egyptian’s sandstone-colored courtyard to celebrate the theater’s 1922 debut and Hollywood’s first motion picture premiere, for the silent film Robin Hood. With thick hieroglyphic-covered columns, a ceiling sunburst, and a pair of sphinx figures guarding the auditorium’s orchestral pit, the venue ushered in a Hollywood wave of exotic-themed architecture. Over time it lost several original elements, including the 150-foot-deep courtyard and a stage where impresario Sid Grauman presented live prologues, and by the 1980s it was in full decline. The theatre reopened in 1998 as a showcase for revival and specialty films, resulting in one of Hollywood’s most successful adaptive reuse projects. The courtyard was restored with palm trees and towering pharaoh heads.