Deadly Hotels

by Ralph Martin


The two-story 1950s cast-concrete building, the palm trees and bougainvillea surrounding the big pool, the empty bottles lying around, the unemployed actors hoping for a big break—the former Landmark Motor Hotel was the perfect stage for a celebrity's last act. And on October 4, 1970, Janis Joplin provided just that, dying of an alcohol-and-heroin overdose in the wee hours of the morning. Joplin obtained some startlingly strong heroin, injected herself, went to the lobby to buy cigarettes, returned to her room, and keeled over from her bed into an end table. She was found the next day, dressed in a blouse and panties, by her road manager. Change from the lobby's cigarette machine was still in her fist, and a bottle of Ripple wine left on the nightstand. Joplin was thus a founding member of the "27 club," the dubiously honorable circle of musicians who expired at that tender age, along with Brian Jones, who died the previous year, and Jimi Hendrix, who preceded her by a mere two weeks. The Landmark Motor Hotel has been renamed the Highland Gardens Hotel, and is still home to up-and-coming actors attracted by its central location just off the Sunset Strip—though it is doubtful at this point if any of them know that the singer of Me and Bobby McGee (a posthumous #1) spent her last moments there.

Highland Gardens Hotel
Tel: 323 850 0536

NEXT: A mob scene—but not the kind most hoteliers hope for >

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