Jewel of the Desert

February 15, 2010

Have you seen Jenny’s video from Phoenix? If so, you may have been intrigued by the Arizona Biltmore, site of the latest WestlawNext preview breakfast. Jenny mentioned that Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe were among the many celebrity guests of the hotel, which got us wondering: Who else has stayed there?

A little digging turned up some famous names, including

Arizona Biltmore

  • A bunch of people Clark and Marilyn probably knew (Ava Gardner, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Spencer Tracy, to drop a few names)
  • Three big guys famous for throwing their weight around (Muhammad Ali, Evander Holyfield and Shaquille O’Neal)
  • Two real-life Mr. Foxes (President Vicente Fox of Mexico and Michael J. Fox, native son of Canada)
  • Almost every U.S. president since the hotel opened in 1929
  • The latest would-be president, John McCain, who conceded the 2008 election from the hotel’s ballroom

Marilyn Monroe said the hotel’s swimming pool was her favorite, and composer Irving Berlin apparently liked it too;  he wrote many famous tunes, including “White Christmas,” while sitting poolside at the Arizona Biltmore.

Harry Cohn, founder of Columbia Pictures, also liked to stay at the hotel, which is where he passed away in 1958. Cohn had ruled his movie studio with an iron fist, and there was such a large turnout for his Hollywood funeral that Red Skelton famously quipped, “It proves what Harry always said: Give the public what they want and they’ll come out for it.”

And on that note… Thanks to everyone who came out for our WestlawNext preview breakfast events in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Phoenix. And to those of you in New York City, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia – we’re looking forward to seeing your cities next!