Despite the fact that the Beverly Hilton is currently in the news for being the site of Whitney Houston’s tragic death , the historic hotel has been making headlines for 57 years — the vast majority of those being positive news stories — ever since its opening in 1955. The Who’s Who in Hollywood hot spot has played host to the most A-list guests and star-studded events for nearly six decades by holding more than 175 red-carpet events annually.
The Hotel’s first major event was coincidentally the first-ever Grammy Awards in 1959. Best Female Vocalist Ella Fitzgerald took home two awards that year, along with Domenico Modugno, Henry Mancini, and Ross Bagdasarian (made famous by “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)”).
In July 1960, then-presidential hopeful John F. Kennedy held a gala fundraiser for which his friend Frank Sinatra helped gather the “Jack Pack,” a group of celebs that included Milton Berle, Janet Leigh, Tony Curtis, Judy Garland and Mort Sahl.
The Hilton was host to the first-ever Golden Globe Awards in 1961, where Stanley Kubrick’s “Spartacus” took home the top prize of Best Picture. The Globes returned to the hotel in 1971 and have not left. The annual event draws an international audience of millions, in addition to the ceremony itself, multiple viewing parties and afterparties, all staged at the Hilton.
Other notable events include Richard Nixon’s so-called final press conference in 1962 following his loss to Pat Brown in the California gubernatorial election. The hotel hosted the one-time-only tribute to screen legend Cary Grant in 1988, which raised funds for Grace Kelly’s Princess Grace Foundation. In 2004, former First Lady Nancy Reagan made major news by speaking out against the Republican Party and publicly announcing her support for stem-cell research while being honored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Also for the past thirty years, the Hilton has hosted the prestigious Oscars nominee luncheon.
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