is a canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles
. It was first developed in the 1910s, and became a part of the city of Los Angeles in 1923 (prior to then, it was an unincorporated
part of Los Angeles County
Much like Topanga Canyon, community life is focused on its central thoroughfare, Laurel Canyon Boulevard. Unlike other nearby canyon neighborhoods, Laurel Canyon has houses lining one side of the main street most of the way up to Mulholland Drive. There are many side roads that branch off the main canyon, but most of them are not through streets, reinforcing the self-contained nature of the neighborhood. Some of the main side streets are Mount Olympus, Kirkwood, Wonderland, Willow Glen, and Lookout Mountain Avenue. The zip code for at least part of the neighborhood is 90046.
Laurel Canyon is an important transit corridor between West Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley, specifically Studio City. The division between the two can roughly be defined by the intersection of Laurel Canyon and Mulholland Drive. In early 2005, the first section of the road on the Hollywood side was partially washed away in a heavy rainstorm, and traffic was redirected to a normally quiet residential side street.
Prior to the arrival of the Spanish, the area of Laurel Canyon was inhabited by the local Tongva tribe of Native Californians. A spring-fed stream that flowed year-round provided water. It was that water that attracted Mexican ranchers who established sheep grazing on the hillsides in the late 1700's and early 1800's. After the Mexican government was ejected, the area caught the attention of Anglo settlers interested in water rights. Around the turn of the century, the area was subdivided and marketed as mountain vacation properties.
Between 1912 and 1918, a trackless electric trolley ran up the canyon from Sunset Boulevard to the base of Lookout Mountain Road where a road house served visitors. Travel to the newly subdivided lots and cabins further up in the canyon was at first made on foot or by mule. As the roads were improved, access was possible by the new automobiles of the era
Around 1920, a local developer built a hotel at the summit of Lookout Mountain and Sunset Plaza roads. The Lookout Mountain Inn burned completely just a few years after it opened.
Among the famous places in Laurel Canyon are the log cabin house once-owned by silent film star Tom Mix that later became home to the Zappa clan, and another (directly across the street) that legendary magician Harry Houdini may or may not have lived in.
Laurel Canyon found itself a nexus of counterculture activity and attitudes in the 1960s, becoming famous as home to many of L.A.'s top rock musicians, such as Frank Zappa, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and Love. Joni Mitchell, living in the home in the Canyon that was immortalized in the song, "Our House", written by her then-lover, Graham Nash, would use the area and its denizens as inspiration for her third album, Ladies of the Canyon. The bohemian spirit from that time period endures to this day, and every year residents gather for a group photograph at the country market.
Laurel Canyon has been mentioned in many films and novels of Los Angeles, including Laurel Canyon written and directed by Lisa Cholodenko in 2002, and is the subject of a book by Michael Walker, Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Legendary Neighborhood, published by Faber and Faber in May 2006.
Laurel Canyon was also prominently featured in the 2003 film Wonderland, which chronicled the 1981 Wonderland Murders that occurred at 8763 Wonderland Avenue in the Canyon, and involved porn star John C. Holmes and reputed gangster Eddie Nash. The Wonderland Massacre has been described as one of the bloodiest mass murders in California history.
The short story "—And He Built a Crooked House" by Robert Heinlein mentions an address on Lookout Mountain Ave. as the residence of the mad architect Quintus Teal. In real life, that address, #8775, was the residence of Mr. & Mrs. C. M. Kornbluth and later of Mr. & Mrs. Robert Heinlein. The story wasn't about Laurel Canyon or Lookout Mountain, but was a mathematical fantasy which was republished in 6xH
(original title The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag
) and in the four volume collection Fantasia Mathematica,
edited by Clifton Fadiman
- Jennifer Aniston, early-mid 1990s
- Christina Applegate, present
- Saul Bass, graphic designer
- Harry Bosch, present (fictional)
- Louise Brooks, 1927-28
- Jerry Brown, 1970s.
- Eric Burdon, 1970s
- Leslie Caron, 1950s (lived on Ridpath Dr)
- Stephen Christian, present
- Chuck Connors, 1950s (lived on Ridpath)
- Alice Cooper, 1971-1976
- Richard Day (Art Director), lived on Oakstone Way 1920-1940
- Pamela Des Barres
- Denny Doherty, 1960s (also lived in the Mary Astor house on Appian Way)
- Troy Donahue, early 1960s (lived on Ridpath)
- Eliza Dushku, present * Alex Ebert (Ima Robot/Edward Sharpe), present
- Jensen Ackles, Supernatural, present
- Cass Elliot, 1960s
- Geoff Emerick, present
- Fabian, 1960s (lived on Ridpath)
- Errol Flynn, early to mid 1950s
- Abigail Folger and Wojciech Frykowski, 1968-1969
- John Frusciante, present
- Roman Gabriel, former quarterback of the Los Angeles Rams, lived on Skyline Drive, 1970s
- Esther Galil, present
- Robert A. Heinlein, 1940s
- Katherine Helmond, present
- Harry Houdini, 1919-1921
- Anthony Kiedis, 1990s-present
- Ed Kienholz, artist
- C. M. Kornbluth, 1940s
- Tom Leykis, syndicated radio talk show host, 1989-93
- Linkin Park, 2006-2007 for recording Minutes To Midnight, their 3rd album
- Sue Lyon, 1960s (during first marriage, on Kirkwood)
- Marilyn Manson, 1997-2004 (residence is on Appian Way at the famed 'Mary Astor House', built in the 1920s as a 'Hills hideaway for actress Mary Astor, who used the home secretly for her romantic trysts with studio execs and other notables; Marilyn Manson wrote the entire Mechanical Animals album at this house, and much of it was recorded at 'The White Room'--Manson's home recording studio in his pool house)
- Ray Manzarek
- Gardner McKay, actor, author
- Steve Martin, late 1960s
- Bob Masse, late 1960s
- John Mayall, 1969-1979 (see the 1968 blues album Blues from Laurel Canyon)
- Jillian Michaels
- Joni Mitchell & Graham Nash, early 1970s
- Robert Mitchum, 1940s-'60s
- Keith Moon, mid-1970s (Studio City side of Laurel Canyon)
- Jim Morrison, late 1960s
- Gram Parsons, early-1970s
- Adam Pascal (Rent), present
- Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank, Jr. 1960s - present
- Red Hot Chili Peppers, the rock band was formed in Laurel Canyon and is currently based there.
- Keith Richards, 1970s
- The Rolling Stones, 1970s (interestingly, The Rolling Stones occupied the same house mentioned above, the 'Mary Astor House' in which Marilyn Manson lives today; their film, Cocksucker Blues was filmed here)
- Meg Ryan, present
- John Saxon, 1960s-70s (lived on Jewett Dr.)
- Slash, 1976-mid-'80s
- Dusty Springfield, 1970s
- Justin Timberlake, Present
- Victory Tischler-Blue aka Vicki Blue, 1980s - 2003, producer / director, bass player for the 1970s all-girl band The Runaways
- Ian Thorpe, present
- Peter Tork, mid 1960s
- Victoria Vetri (aka Andrea Dorian), actress, ex-Playmate of the Year
- Orson Welles, lived on Greenvalley Road, late 1970s.
- Pete Wentz, present
- Frank Zappa, 1968-1993
Deaths in Laurel Canyon
- Michael Walker, Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock ’n’ Roll’s Legendary Neighborhood, Farrar Straus and Giroux (16 May, 2006), hardcover, 277 pages, ISBN 0571-21149-6 trade paperback (May 1, 2007) ISBN 0865479666