Many of today's Hollywood stars don't live in Hollywood, or Beverly Hills or any of the other neighboring areas. Some live up in Malibu, or down in Orange County, but many others have homes thousands of miles from Los Angeles. The ones who do have homes treasure their privacy, often erecting tall fences and planting dense hedges to shield their homes from prying eyes, and you can't really blame them. Who wants some paparazzi, or even a tourist from East Chabip taking their picture when they're trying to relax?
To satisfy visitors' curiosity, tour operators and map-makers may highlight the places where a star used to live or in some cases, they either make things up or rely on unsubstantiated "facts." I've even heard a tour guide claim that Beverly Hills' fire hydrants are platinum-plated.
Given that you are unlikely to see a real stars' home and even less likely to see the stars themselves, we think most of the Hollywood movie star tours are a waste of your hard-earned money. Nevertheless, we also realize that at least some of you won't listen to us, so we've outlined the ways you can see the stars' homes and we've listed two tours that we can recommend.
Maps to the Movie Stars HomesIn Beverly Hills, Brentwood and on Sunset Strip, you'll find dozens of vendors hawking maps that purport to show you where the movie star's homes are, their hand-lettered signs boasting "Maps to the Stars Homes."
Before I knew better, I bought one of these maps and ran around Beverly Hills sticking my camera out the car window. Then I did some research and found that their information is woefully out of date, if it was ever accurate to begin with. Don't fall for it. If you're the type this kind of joke appeals to, just drive around taking pictures of nice houses, make up who you think lives there - the folks back home will never know the difference.
Movie Star Homes Tour CompaniesAny number of companies offer movie star home tours in Hollywood and Los Angeles. They make claims like "see where the stars actually live" or "tour of all your favorite Hollywood movie star homes," but unfortunately, the reality of these tours can be much different than their promise.
The tour companies don't fare any better than the map-sellers in terms of accuracy, and they'll cost you even more. However, there are a couple of tours we can recommend:
- Beverly Hills Trolley Tour runs regularly from Rodeo Drive. They tell you up front that they're going to respect current residents' privacy, but they do dish up generous helpings of tales about those who used to live there.
- Dearly Departed Tours is run by Scott Michaels, who prides himself on backing up everything with facts. This entertaining tour will take you to lots of interesting spots and stars' homes and despite what the name might make you think, it's more gossipy than creepy.