Ambassador Hotel Theatre

3400 Wilshire Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90010

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Fox Circuit

Architects: Myron Hunt

Styles: Italian Renaissance

Nearby Theaters

The Ambassador Hotel Theatre was located inside the west end of the famed 1,000-roomed Ambassador Hotel, designed by Pasadena architect Myron Hunt in 1920. The hotel opened on January 1, 1921. The Ambassador Hotel Theatre was opened February 5, 1921 with Pola Negri in “Passion” which was preceded by a prologue on the stage. It was equipped with a 12 pipe theatre organ.

Initially the Ambassador Hotel Theatre leased by Mike & Abe Gore (the Gore brothers of West Coast Theatres) and Sol Lessor Enterprises. In an LA Times article dated December 11, 1920, Herman Gore is being sued for divorce, and his ‘wife of 16 days’ says that he has an ‘interest in the new Ambassador Theatre’. Mike & Abe Gore put all of their brothers in positions of management of their theatres. Jake Gore, Israel Gore, Herman Gore & Samuel Gore were all involved in some way in the theatres - either management, concessions etc. By the 1930’s the Ambassador Hotel Theatre was a favorite theatre in Los Angeles to hold trade show previews of the latest films and movies such as “Smiling Through”, “Pinnochio”, “This Gun For Hire”, “Pride of the Yankees”, “Random Harvest”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, “Anchors Away” and “Citizen Kane” all had their first screenings at the theatre. The Ambassador Hotel Theatre was closed around 1954.

The Ambassador Hotel was also home to the Cocoanut Grove nightclub, which became the playground of anyone famous in Hollywood. It also hosted the 1940 Academy Awards ceremony. The hotel was the location of the assasination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy on June 5, 1968.

In 2000 the shuttered Ambassador Hotel was taken over by the Los Angeles Unified School District and in the fall of 2005, the Ambassador Hotel was demolished despite great protest.

Contributed by William Gabel, Cheryl Berlow

Recent comments (view all 24 comments)

kencmcintyre on January 26, 2006 at 10:44 am

The Ambassador is now gone. Part of the pantry was taken to storage somewhere due to its historical value. The rest of the hotel has been razed.

kencmcintyre on July 17, 2006 at 3:19 pm

The Robert Winter site mentioned above is still dysfunctional, 18 months after Joe first discussed it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 17, 2006 at 5:22 pm

Ken: I found that they’ve given the Winter-Hunt site a new URL, but it’s to no avail. The text pages display, but clicking on the thumbnail photos still brings up nothing but the same thumbnails on individual pages.

kencmcintyre on August 6, 2007 at 8:14 pm

I drove by the Ambassador the other day. There’s still part of the old building standing. I thought they had razed it all by now. Tbey did remove Sammy Davis Jr’s Now Grove signage off the post out front, so now it says Ambassador as it used to.

kencmcintyre on September 8, 2007 at 6:38 pm

Here’s a 12/25/50 ad from the LA Times:

EJFarhood on January 29, 2008 at 10:04 am

if this theatre went by the name of the Mirror Theatre for a period of time, there is an I Love Lucy episode filmed when they were in Los Angeles and a sign for the Mirror Theatre appears a couple of times in the background from their hotel room balcony – the episode is the one when Lucy gets stuck on Cornel Wilde’s balcony while trying to see him….

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 20, 2008 at 9:07 pm

EJHouston: The Ambassador was never called the Mirror. The Mirror Theatre discussed in my comment of Dec. 31, 2004, above was the playhouse in Hollywood originally called the Vine Street Theater and now known as the Ricardo Montalban Theatre. The Montalban was called the Mirror from 1931 to 1936.

The 1955 episode of I Love Lucy you saw was filmed in a studio, and the backdrop outside the rooms at the fictional “Beverly Palms Hotel” was a photograph. It would not be surprising if the Montalban Theatre, during its Mirror period, was in that photo. Using an old photo from the 1930s as the backdrop would have saved the cost of making a new one.

kencmcintyre on December 29, 2008 at 7:38 pm

Here is an item from Boxoffice magazine in October 1947:

LOS ANGELES-Dick Pritchard has resigned as entertainment director of the Ambassador Hotel and manager of that hostelry’s theater, effective October 15. He will join Fox West Coast. He had been with the Ambassador for eight years. August V. Tozzi will succeed Pritchard at the hotel.

kencmcintyre on January 19, 2009 at 10:09 pm

I had lunch across the street from the Ambassador a few days ago. Sad to see the old hotel gone, not to mention the Brown Derby hat on the other side of Wilshire painted silver and hidden in a mini-mall.

seymourcox on April 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Architect Myron Hunt may well have also designed the downtown Regent Theatre as the two auditorium designs was so very similar.
Regent auditorium images:
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Ambassador auditorium;
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