History of a Hollywood Landmark
Designed in 1929 by architect Leland A. Bryant, the Sunset Tower (as originally called) was a trendsetter from the moment it opened. Its dramatic setting on the Sunset Strip and elegant Art Deco styling, together with its proximity to famous restaurants and nightclubs of the 1930s & ’40s, contributed to its landmark status. West Hollywood has always catered to celebrities wishing to draw attention to their star power. The Sunset Tower embodied these aspirations, counting among its former residents Howard Hughes, John Wayne, Billie Burke, Marilyn Monroe, Errol Flynn, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Paulette Goddard, Zasu Pitts, and even gangster Bugsy Siegel. Leland Bryant specialized in luxury apartments, but the Sunset Tower was his crowning achievement. His work was predominantly in Period Revival, but with this building he proved that he was equally adept with the then contemporary Deco style. To attract a demanding clientele, the Sunset Tower incorporated the latest in both technology and design. There were modern conveniences, like outlets in every bathroom for electric shavers, and the windows were made larger to take advantage of the spectacular views.
The Sunset Tower is a Hollywood landmark. Up to the 1950s it was as much a tourist attraction as the Hollywood sign itself. It has appeared in a number of films, including The Italian Job, Get Shorty, The Player and Strange Days. Its first literary mention was in Raymond Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely (1940). The film version of that novel, Murder, My Sweet, released four years later, was its first screen reference.