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History of the Biltmore in Los Angeles
By:Adam Dawson

The Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles and is one of America's older and most legendary hotels. It was famous when it opened just for being the largest hotel to be built west of Chicago. It became an institution in California and in 1969 the city proclaimed it a cultural landmark. As of 2010 it is run by Millennium and Copthorne Hotels.

The Biltmore was opened in 1923 and featured, as it still does in 2010, a Spanish Renaissance-style interior designed by the architectural firm Schultze and Weaver. The hotel opened with 1,500 guest rooms over 11 floors and was decorated with frescoes, marble fountains, columns and crystal chandeliers. Italian Giovanni Smeraldi led a team of artists who hand painted the Greek myth-inspired frescoes that cover the ceiling of the Crystal Ballroom. It took them seven months to complete the job.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded in the hotel's Crystal Ballroom in 1927. Movie industry guests assembled there to discuss the possibility of organizing a new awards ceremony which was to become known as the Academy Awards, or the Oscars. The Biltmore was host to the ceremony eight times between 1931 and 1942.

Death Scene
In 1952 famous Indian yogi Paramahansa Yogananda died at the Biltmore. During a banquet given for the Indian ambassador to America, Yogananda was reading a poem when he suffered a heart attack. Since then the hotel has become a holy site for his followers who believe it to be the place where his soul left his body.

Famous Guests
John F. Kennedy accepted the Democratic presidential nomination in 1960 at the hotel. He also used its Music Room as his campaign headquarters. Four years later The Beatles made a trip to visit the Presidential Suite during their first U.S. tour. Huge numbers of fans on the sidewalks forced them to get in through an unusual way: The band's helicopter had to land on the hotel roof.

Events and Films
In 1984 the Biltmore was the headquarters for the International Olympic Committee during the Los Angeles Olympics. It has also been used as the backdrop or location in many famous movies including "The Poseidon Adventure," "True Lies," "Ghostbusters," "The Italian Job," and "Ocean's 11."

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