LOS ANGELES (CNS) — With fanfare, cake and even a Marilyn Monroe impersonator, a party commemorated the 95th birthday of the TCL Chinese Theatre, hailed as the world’s most famous cinema, on Wednesday.
“On this day 95 years ago, Sid Grauman opened this historic movie palace of stars with the gala world premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s ‘The King of Kings,'” said Levi Tinker, the venue’s theater manager, during the ceremony.
“During those 95 years, the TCL Chinese Theater has hosted the star-studded red carpet premieres of some of the biggest and most important films of all time and has become the most celebrated cinema in the world,” he said.
Known worldwide for its famous forecourt featuring hand and footprints of dozens of cinema’s most memorable names – including Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, George Burns, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks – the theater is also known for its iconic architecture and ornate interiors .
Tiffany Nitsche, president of the Los Angeles Historic Theater Foundation, called the venue “undeniably the most famous theater in the world.”
Grauman was “a masterful showman who was truly a visionary of what theater could be,” she said. “…He always understood the escapism that audiences were looking for.”
The theater “is a tangible representation of Hollywood,” she said. “It’s the first stop on a visitor’s journey to Hollywood, the idea of a place that was once the playground of Hollywood’s favorite actors, writers and directors. It’s a connection to the past and to the future.”
Wednesday’s celebration included a cake cutting by a Marilyn Monroe impersonator, who also twirled her white dress in the forecourt where her character is immortalized.
Greg Schreiner, president of the Marilyn Remembered Fan Club, said theater “played a big part in Marilyn Monroe’s early life.
“As a young girl living with a foster family in Hollywood, she would spend her weekends watching every movie that came out in that theater and dream of one day being a movie star herself,” he said. “On June 26, 1951, that dream came true when she officially placed her footprints and handprints in the forecourt of this theater.”
A plaque honoring Grauman was also unveiled to mark the occasion and will be placed in the Chinese Theater multiplex adjacent to the famous venue.