Issue: Winter 2017

Why I Love Hollywood

By Lee Purcell
As I was slogging through rush-hour traffic recently, I was frustrated at how slow it was just to get from Point A to Point B. As my car crept around yet another curve, the Hollywood Sign suddenly appeared right in front of me in all of its giant white alphabetical glory! Bang! It was as if the heavens had parted, and the angels had begun to sing. My mood was instantly uplifted and I thought to myself, “I LOVE HOLLYWOOD!”

Hollywood has given me so much-an enduring career as an actress, countless fond memories, and so many friends. Coming here alone as a blissfully naïve teenager with no money, support or resources, except my ability to dream big, was a huge risk-or so I was told. I didn’t see the risk, only the opportunity to have the life I wanted- in Hollywood. When the legendary movie star Steve McQueen personally chose me to star in his film ADAM at 6 A.M., opposite Michael Douglas, I felt that my life had finally begun.

Today, as an experienced actress with a long list of film and television credits, Primetime Emmy nominations, the honor of being selected as a voting member of both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and as a member of the SAG-AFTRA Local Board, I know how truly fortunate I am.

When visiting relatives here as a child, I was awed by the vivid colors of the exotic flowers everywhere, and the fruit that grew in everyone’s yards that you could eat right from the tree! And there was the ocean, the mountains, the perfect weather, the fascinating diversity of people, languages, architecture, clothing, attitudes, opinions, dreams-- everything. The sheer audacity and eccentricity of a place where you could become whatever you could envision was intoxicating. I wanted to be a part of all of that.

There is always something interesting to see and do in Hollywood. I love the classic theatres like the Egyptian and Grauman’s, the historic places such as Griffith Observatory, Hollyhock House, Walk of Fame, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood Museum, Capitol Records Building, Magic Castle, American Film Institute, Pantages Theatre, the iconic restaurants such as Musso and Frank’s, Yamashiro, Philippe’s, Tam O’Shanter, and The Pantry.

And, of course, I love that we make movies and television here. I love Hollywood and am very grateful that I found home here. Viva Hollywood!