Hollywood Beat: 1817 Hillcrest

The place Jim Thompson was living at the time of his death — check out a reputable source, but my understanding is that he died in this building — is roughly ten or twelve blocks from Musso & Frank. To get to 1817 Hillcrest from the front doors of M&F, go west to the major artery North Highland Avenue, north a few blocks to Franklin Place, left a block and right on Hillcrest. After a series of strokes Thompson stopped eating, and even lost interest in booze and cigarettes (and in this bleak noir universe, if you lose interest in booze and cigarettes, that’s it).

While you could walk from Hillcrest to M&F, my assumption is that Thompson wasn’t really up to it by the time his family moved to this address, and that it was the years spent on Whitley Street that made him a fixture in the grill, whether anyone there really knew who he was or not.

For me, Thompson is now the one writer, out of no doubt thousands of writers, I associate with M&F above all the others. What better ghost to haunt the bar?

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