318 East 48th Street, New York, NY
This building was recently torn down to make way for the Singapore Mission to the U.N.; Singapore bought the property in 2009 for $3 million and groundbreaking for the new building was in January 2012. The photo shows the building in the mid 2000s when the building which formerly housed the studios run by Joseph Schenck was in its final incarnation as a parking garage. The Norma Talmadge Film Corporation was on the bottom floor, the Constance Talmadge Film Corporation was on the second floor, and occupying the top floor was Comique, where Roscoe Arbuckle and later Buster Keaton worked. Though the address did not show from the street, the license posted near the office inside the garage did give that address. Comique operated here in 1917 but moved to California in 1918, Norma and Constance moved to Hollywood in 1922, though apparently their offices stayed in New York, moving to the State Theater Building, while Selznick rented the studio building.
From Richard Koszarski's book "Hollywood on the Hudson," I gleaned further informtion on the studio's history. When Schenck moved distribution of the girl's films from Selznick to First National, he used some of the money to upgrade the studio, and to lease the building next door, known as the Oliver Studio, and moved all the dressing rooms into that building. Anita Loos described the place as "ramshackle." However, by 1920, Goldwin is reported to be using the Oliver Studio. By the end of 1921, Selznick had abandoned his Fort Lee studios and consolidated productions into the vacated Talmadge Studio. Two years later he ran into financial troubles. The studio became known as Tec-Art and was a full service rental studios for independent filmmakers. Will Rogers' The Headless Horseman was among the films made here. In September of 1922, Lee De Forest moved his Photophone operations here and tried to get his sound system off the ground. In December 1927 he sold Phonofilm to I.W. Schlesinger who founded General Talking Pictures studio. This lasted only a year, but it was a very busy rental facility during that time. The Weiss Brothers then took over, shooting their own films (including Snub Pollard comedies) and continuing to rent out the facilities. The last feature made at he De Forest studio was an independent production from Windsor Picture Plays, Her Unborn Child. There was a disastrous fire at the Pathé Studio on December 10, 1929. All the New York studios had to shut down until they met new fire codes. Like many of the older studios, the Talmadge/De Forest studio never reopened. It is not clear at what point it became a parking garage.
This view also shows the adjoining building which was part of the garage. I do not know if they ran continuously in the 1920s. The site is across the street from the present building housing the Libyan mission to the U.N.
Read more about it in Daniel Eagan's Smithshonian Blog article.
126 W. 46th St. New York City
Photoplay May 1917 gives this address for Lewis Selznick Enterprises, which is listed under studios and is given as the address of both Clara Kimball Young Film Corp. and Norma Talmadge Film Corp. According to Richard Koszarski's "Hollywood on the Hudson," the Biograph Studio at 807 East 175th St. in the Bronx, built 1913, was rented by Selznick. He he made films with Norma Talmadge and Clara Kimball Young, as well as renting space to Arbuckle and Keaton for their production of Comique two-reelers (including His Wedding Night and Oh, Doctor, both 1917)
United Studios. Norma and Constance rented space at the United Studios on 5341 Melrose Ave., Hollywood, and Photoplay magazine gave this as the address of the Norma and Constance Talmadge Studios. The studio was purchased in 1925 by Famous Players-Lasky and became the home of Paramount Studios.
United Artists Studios. By 1926 Norma and Constance were filming at the United Artists Studio, also known as the Pickford-Fairbanks Studio, at 7200 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood. They were still releasing films through First National at that time, but Norma's husband Joseph Schenck had become a partner and chairman of the board of United Artists in 1924, so it seemed the logical place to set up shop. Apparently the address is later given as 1041 North Formosa Avenue. Several buildings on this lot are slated for demolition. Read more about it in Daniel Eagan's Smithshonian Blog article.
On East 15th St., Brooklyn, N.Y. Vitagraph Studios. Talmadge came to this studio on the streetcar from her Flatbush home. The studio is just south of Avenue M. in the Midwood section of Brooklyn (formerly the village of Greenfield in Flatbush), bounded north and south by Locust Avenue and Elm Avenue, on the west is East 15th Street. The smokestack can be seen to this day from Locust Ave.; the letters VITAGRAPH are still visible from the area around the bridge, though they are usually blocked by tree leaves. The site is now a girl's school. There is a short video tour on YouTube, and pictures of the smokestack if you scroll down here
181 Belmont Ave., Jersey City, New Jersey. This is listed as Norma's birthplace on her birth certificate. I do not know if this was a house or a hospital.
258 59th Street, Brooklyn, New York. The Talmadge family was living here in 1900.
414 St. Marks Ave., Brooklyn, New York. The Talmadge family was living here in 1905, with four other families at the same address.
231 Fenimore Street, Brooklyn, New York. The Talmadge family was living here in April 1910, about the time Norma went to work for Vitagraph.
1125 (East?) Fourteenth Street, Brooklyn, New York. An article from Motion Picture Magazine (date unknown but between 1913 and 1915) gives this as the address of the Talmadge family. Robin Martin checked the address and said that this would have to have been East Fourteenth St., which is only two blocks from Vitagraph. Thanks for the info!
The Hollywood Hotel. north side of Hollywood Boulevard between Highland and Orchid Avenues in Hollywood. Norma and Constance, and then Peg and Natalie, lived here when Norma and Constance came out to work with National Film Company and then Triangle. They subsequently moved to The Kendall Apartments, Sixth Street, Los Angeles
3515 223rd Street, Bayside, Long Island, New York. This lovely large 2.5 story colonial house with 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, with a large enclosed porch, was built around 1905 and is still standing. It has a fine view of Little Neck Bay. It was here that sister Natalie married Buster Keaton; the wedding of Anita Loos John Emerson was also at this home. In 1917 she was reported to have an ocean view home in Beechhurst, but it's not clear if that is referring to the same or a different house, since it is a nearby but distict district of Long Island.
649 West Adams Street, Los Angeles, a house with other famous occupants (courtesy of Silents Are Golden) (early 1920s). This is now called Randolph Huntington Miner House and is a L.A. Historic Cultural Monument. Below are some clippings with interior views (the last 2 courtesy of Joan Myers, from the British journal Picturegoer , November 1923). Despite the magazine spreads, they cannot have lived here for long, if at all. According to the County Assessor's records, Joe Schenk took the deed in October 1921, and sold it to Edward Doheny, Jr. on January 9, 1922, who either sold it or donated it to the Catholic church in 1925 (thanks to Joan Myers for this info too!)
1805 Pass-A-Grille Way, St. Pete Beach, FL (1928)
7269 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood (also known as the Cudahay Mansion.) A 1925 report said that Norma and her husband had "reopened their home on Hollywood Blvd.", and she was reported as living on Hollywood Blvd. in 1927. It was torn down in 1933. Click thumbnail for a larger view. Here is an interesting article on the house by Allen Ellenberger
1038 Ocean Front Avenue, Santa Monica, CA (Formerly 1018 Pacific Coast Highway, now Palisades Beach Road) (late 1920s). This house was featured in the Architectural Digest April 1996 issue. Cary Grant and Randolph Scott, as well Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski, later lived here. On Margaret Talmadge's death certificate, Norma gave the address as 1020 Ocean Front, Santa Monica, and gave the same address for her mother.
1334-1336 North Harper Ave. Harper House, in the Harper district of West Hollywood. The 1930 census shows Norma (as Norma Schenck), as well as Ben Lyon and Joe E. Brown, at 1334, and Peg, Gilbert Roland and Edward and Ann Brophy, and Jeannette Loff at 1336 with numerous other tenants. It was designed in 1929 by architect Leland Bryant. iamnostalker.com has a nice page on Harper House noting its use as a movie location
9514 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills. This is the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Norma had an apartment her according to maps of 1932 and 1937. Constance was living here at the time of her death.
1716 Angelo Drive, Beverly Hills. This is probably the house that George Jessel was referring to in his autobiography, were he said that Norma "had built a tremendous estate just off Benedict Canyon, six minutes from Beverly Hills by car." They still lived there near the end of their marriage, and Hedda Hopper reported in 1945 that Norma had sold it to Cornel Wilde. The LA Times of February 17, 1932 reported that Peg Talmadge was living at 1737 Angelo Drive.
1416 Havenhurst Drive, West Hollywood (1935). This is the Colonial House Apartments (currently condos)
704 North Arden Drive, Beverly Hills (purchased 1946, Talmadge and Dr. James lived here until in 1952) This home was built in 1927 and designed by architect Wallace Neff. This home was featured on an AMC program on the homes of the stars.
4320 Cedarhurst Drive, Los Feliz district of Los Angeles, CA. 90027. (and more here) Now known as "Villa Talmadge," it is sometimes used as a film location. It is not clear when she may have lived here, so it apparently was not for long.
603 North Alpine Drive - Beverly Hills (1940s?)
439-441-441A Roosevelt Way in San Francisco. This house is between Buena Vista Park and Twin Peaks. This property was left to nephew Robert Talmadge in her will. It is said to have had a large ballroom downstairs, but the building is now divided into 3 apartments. Given the way the addresses are presented in her will, that may have already been divided before her death. It was was sold in 1959
2047 W. Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas. This is where she was living at the time of her death. This building no longer exists, but the site is now a complex of dental offices
1610 Ocean Drive, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Norma willed this property to Carvel James, along with the Las Vegas house.
A house, apparently in Palm Beach, given to her by George Jessel in 1933. After her death, he complains in his autobiography that Carvel James inherited it, but in her will it states that that house was in Fort Lauderdale. I don't know if this is the same house with some confusion about the location or two different houses.
The Talmadge Apartments (and more here). This lavish apartment building is aat 3278 Wilshire Boulevard, and was an anniversary present from her husband Joseph Schenck in 1924. They are said to have used the penthouse apartment. The front of the building served as Buster Keaton's mansion in Battling Butler.
Residential property at 1413-1421 1/2 N. Crescent Heights Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. Norma left this property to Natalie in her will.
9000-9006 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, California. The Norma Talmadge Building on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, a 3-story French-Norman style office building, built circa 1937, torn down in 1963. This property was inherited by her nephew Joseph Talmadge. After its demolition, its shutters ended up in the Magic Castle in LA--they are mentioned here and there is a YouTube video which includes a picture of the building (about 12 seconds in.)
658 South Bonnie Brae, Los Angeles, California. This was was apparently commercial property willed to Carvel James. It is very run down now, and it looks like the building dates from after her death.
P.S. 92, 601 Parkside Avenue, Brooklyn. Now called P.S. 92 Adrian Hegeman School, Norma went to this grammar school. It is only two blocks from their 231 Fenimore St. home. Thanks to Robin Martin for checking this out.
Pierce Bros. Mortuary, Beverly Hills, 714 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015. Norma Talmadge's funeral was held here. Among the 30 or so attendees at the private service were husband Dr. Carvel James, Constance and Natalie Talmage, Gilbert Roland, George Jessel, Marion Davies and her husband Horace Brown, Mae Murray, Orry Kelly, Antonio Moreno, Ed Brophy. Dr. William S. Meyer of the Emmanuel Presbyterian Church delivered the funeral sermon. The building is now L.A. Historic Cultural Monument 574
Norma Talmadge's grave is in the Talmadge family alcove at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (formerly Hollywood Memorial Cemetery) in Hollywood
Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. (Now Mann's Chinese Theatre) Norma Talmadge turned the first spade of dirt at the groundbreaking ceremony in 1926 (which was captured for newsreel cameras), and legend has it that she accidentally stepped in some wet cement. That gave Sid Grauman the idea for the stars' footprint that have been the theatre's hallmark ever since. Norma's formal footprints and signature were the third official footprints, after Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. Click thumbnail for a larger view of Norma's footprints and signature (shown for comparison with a size 7 1/2 shoe from the 1930s).
Thanks to Tony Scott, Larry, Bryan Tinlin, Ronald Spayde, Lynn, Chris Snowden, Shannon Lyn, Allen Ellenberger, Lisa Burks, and Todd Miller for most of these addresses.
©1999, by Greta de Groat . All Rights Reserved
Last revised, March 29, 2014