The list is long, impressive, reliably star-studded and makes the hearts of veteran fans pound faster even from a distance: Hollywood celebrities such as Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, Lucille Ball, Cary Grant, Marilyn Monroe, Sammy Davis Jr., Liz Taylor, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Kirk Douglas all resided in Palm Springs – or paid frequent visits to it – at some point during their remarkable careers. Especially dearly remembered is Frank Sinatra – ol’ blue eyes – whose 100th birthday the destination is celebrating this year. Reason enough for the city to concoct a host of events surrounding the historic anniversary of its still much-revered former resident.
Another sounding name associated with Palm Springs is Albert Einstein’s; the great physician’s attention had not merely been directed at perishable stars on a twinkling cinematic firmament – but at the entire universe created to outlast time.
Palm Springs: Hollywood’s desert playground
Since the 1920s, Palm Springs has been Hollywood’s preferred desert playground for celebrities to relax and escape from the hustle and bustle of showbiz. Favourably located only hours from Hollywood studios and its established “Two-Hour Rule”, the destination became the perfect getaway – and hideaway? – for actors and singers seeking well-deserved recuperation remote from the crowds.
Possibly the most famous among them, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball, have left a legacy on Palm Springs more substantial than others. As part of the Frank Sinatra centennial celebrations and focussing on the three buddies and their activities, the city has initiated three all-inclusive itineraries for visitors to trace their favorite star’s footsteps by. Tales – true or not – are dotted throughout Palm Springs’ history with places they partied at, people they met with, infamous retreats they frequented and favourite restaurants they dined at.
Down memory lane with Frank, Elvis and Lucille
Frank’s trace leads to the Twin Palms Estate, where he spent time with Ava Gardener and to The Purple Room where he proposed to his fourth wife, Barbara Marx. Or to the “Sinatra Corner” at Melvyn’s inside The Ingleside Inn, where owner Mel Haber narrates fascinating stories about Ol’ Blue Eyes.
Elvis’s path passes the Honeymoon House where he spent a full year with his new wife Priscilla and a property by the name of Graceland West. His love for Hawaiian Tiki culture can be shared at Caliente Tropics, whereby a glimpse of his once-secret wine cellar should not be missed.
Lucille’s favorite spots in Palm Springs are worth a visit no less: sitting next to America’s famous red-head on The Lucy Ricardo Bench outside Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf or playing a round at Indian Canyons Golf Resort Lucy helped to open or perhaps renting The Lucy House, Groucho Marx’s home Lucy vacationed in, are all part of the diversified itinerary down memory lane.
Frank’s grave site at section B-8-151
Frank Sinatra was buried at The Desert Memorial Park in 1998. Time magazine lists his grave site among the top ten of the most visited ones, and hundreds of fans pay their respects every year. The plot at section B-8-151 is said to be lead-lined to deter grave robbery. The plain in-ground marker reading “The Best Is Yet to Come” is often bedecked with tokens like Sinatra’s favourite brand of cigarettes, miniature bottles of his preferred booze, and dimes: Frank used to readily distribute them as reminders of the times when straits were dire. www.pscemetery.com
All images are at the courtesy of ©Visit Palm Springs