Joan rented unit "D" in this small apartment building from 1960 to 1972. At the time Joan rented this apartment the building was owned by actress Loretta Young. The apartment building was located behind Young's own house located at 1308 N. Flores Street. Joan began renting this unit following the sale of her Brentwood house in 1960. The Fountain Avenue apartment served as a living quarters for Joan when she traveled to Los Angeles for film or television projects, and other various commitments.
This apartment is the location Joan resided at during the filming of "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte," and the apartment building where a private detective (hired by Robert Aldrich) monitored Joan's activities during her alleged illness which prevented her from working on the film. Below is an excerpt of the private detective's report from the book "Bette & Joan: The Divine Feud". For a more detailed itemization of Joan's experience on the film "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte", visit page 1964 of the website's chronicle.
Case No. 5229. Date Of Report: July 27th, 1964 Subject Joan Crawford, 8313 Fountain Avenue, Apt D
"In compliance with instruction from Mr. Aldrich, a stakeout and surveillance was maintained on the above location in an effort to determine if the named subject departs the premises over July 24-25, 1964"
According to the private detective, no activity of interest was reported on Joan's apartment house on Friday evening or all day Saturday, "except for the spotting of Loretta Young, who also resided in the building." On Saturday at 5:00 P.M. "a late model Rolls-Royce, two-tone brown, was observed to depart and proceed west on Fountain Avenue. Vehicle displayed License No 071-483 and was driven by a woman appearing to be the subject.
She wore a bandanna with her hair and dark sunglasses. There is little or no doubt that this was Miss Crawford."
According to Joan's friend and interior designer Carleton Varney, and by Joan's daughter, Christina Crawford, Christina lived in the Fountain Avenue apartment in the summer of 1970 following Christina's return to Los Angeles from New York. Varney cites the following situation regarding Christina staying at the Fountain Avenue apartment as the action which caused Christina to not speak with Joan any longer:
"The break in Joan's relationship with Christina came when Joan demanded that Tina leave the apartment on Fountain Avenue and shift for herself.
Joan told me she would not let Tina use her contacts any longer. "I'm through trying to help that girl." she said," and "I'm cutting her out of my will just like Christopher." (Source: Carleton Varney)
According to Christina's memoir "Mommie Dearest," she lived in this apartment only during the summer of 1970, until she was instructed, via telephone, by Joan's secretary, Betty Barker, to vacate the apartment for Joan's upcoming need to occupy it. Below is an excerpt from "Mommie Dearest" regarding Christina's residency in the Fountain Avenue apartment:
"Finally in June 1970, I mustered up the courage and decided to give Los Angeles another try. I discussed the plan at some length with Mother and she offered to let me stay for a while in the West Hollywood apartment she had maintained since selling our house years before." (Page 232)
"The Los Angeles secretary [Betty Barker] called me at seven thirty in the morning. She said mother was coming out to do a show, so I had two days in which to move out of the apartment." (Page 233)
"After I moved out of the apartment, Mother changed her plans. She didn't come back to Los Angeles for several more months." (Page 234)
According to several of Joan's friends, Joan wanted Christina out of the apartment after discovering that she was using drugs in the apartment.
On April 16th, 1972, Joan's secretary, Betty Barker, went to the apartment and discovered it has been burglarized. Shortly thereafter, Joan decided to end her lease because she no longer felt the apartment was safe.
Loretta Young and husband Tom Lewis bought the near 7,000 square foot house and property at 1308 N. Flores Street (located at the corner of Flores and Fountain) in 1952 from A&P grocery store heir Huntington Hartford.
Young and Lewis built the apartment building on a lot located behind the house in 1953 with four units in the building (identified as A, B, C and D. The units ranged in size, and number of bedrooms. Joan's unit "D" was a two bedroom, two-floor apartment.
The apartment building has a total of 4,545 square feet, with a total of 6 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms within the four units of the building.
Young obtained sole ownership of the apartment building following a contractual agreement dated April 30th, 1956 which agreed she and Tom Lewis would divide their joint property, with Young obtaining the Fountain Avenue apartment building.
It was on this site in 1966, that during a dinner in the house at 1308 N. Flores Street, Young's adult daughter, Judy Lewis, confronted her mother with the rumor that she was the illegitimate child of Clark Gable, and not adopted as Loretta Young had always claimed.
Young confessed that Judy was her biological daughter and the illegitimate daughter of Clark Gable and that the story of the adoption was a lie to the public. Young further claimed that Gable had 'date raped' her during the production of their 1935 film "The Call of The Wild."
Loretta Young and Tom Lewis divorced on August 20th, 1969. In June 1969, during the finalization of their divorce, Loretta Young sold her house and the Fountain Avenue apartment building to actress Alexis Smith and husband actor Craig Stevens. (Partial source used: "Hollywood Madonna: Loretta Young" by Bernard F. Dick")
Joan inside apartment D in July 1962 and August 1963
A floor plan and digitally created photos of apartment D's first floor, close to how it appeared during Joan's residency
Modern photos of the property. Taken by this Webmaster in August 2015, along with an interior photo taken in 2018
Blueprints of the Fountain Avenue apartment. A special thanks to Steven for supplying these blueprints.