~We are only who we are today because of the angels who touched our lives~
The City of Angels is called this name because it is home to many legendary angels of entertainment. Two angels that come to mind who light up a room are legendary Hollywood actress Ruta Lee and dancer Frances Davis.
Hamburger Hamlet is the iconic restaurant on Doheny and Sunset in Beverly Hills that Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford (the Rat Pack) made famous by making it their local. In fact they ate here for dinner most nights.
However, these famous American lads had nothing on the girls of their day. Ruta Lee was their costar in the film Sargeants 3. Dinner tonight at Hamburger Hamlet proved that.
Sitting in the booth that once belonged to Irving Paul “Swifty” Lazar a legendary Hollywood talent agent and deal-maker who was born Samuel Lazar in Brookylyn New York was an honor within itself. Samuels who have gone before always have to inspire other Samuels as this Swifty’s booth was tonight for me.
Lazar represented both movie stars and authors and doubled as a Hollywood producer at times. He is most famous for his Oscars parties, that were the toast of Hollywood and only the elite A-List stars were ever invited to attend–long before Vanity Fair, Sir Elton John and Madonna ever threw big Oscars parties for today’s elite stars of Hollywood.
Sitting in Swifty’s booth was memorable enough… then along comes Ruta Lee originally of Montreal, Quebec in Canada. This star of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers can light up a room with her vivacious spirit and personality and zest for life. What a character. She is synonymous with old school Hollywood glamour and a cultural ambassador of the celebrity star system in Hollywood. She is an honorary fairy godmother often invited to comment on stars who are fortunate enough to get their own star on the Walk of Fame. Seeing Ruta Lee in action at a Walk of Fame ceremony is a treat that has always amused and amazed me. She is Hollywood in that moment.
We love her here. In Hollywood, they don’t come any finer than her.
I think it is Ruta’s warmth of spirit that is a cultural treasure of American entertainment here in Hollywood. Spending time with her is a pleasure. She is very hands on and imparts encouragement with her words, her laugh, her vivacious smile and her ability to warm the heart. This is a rare gift that Miss Lee exudes for America. She’s very special. Young Hollywood love Ruta because if she likes you, she always jokes and says “You’re in the will.” Or she will quip with lightning quick response if you compliment her, “Hey. I’m not that old… yet.” She’s priceless.
Ruta’s favorite bestie is Frances Davis –first wife of Miles Davis and a world famous dancer. Like Ruta, Frances still rocks it and works as the hostess at Hamburger Hamlet where Frances is a Hollywood institution. They turn up and rock it out because they can, and they know how needed they are to inspire new people who grow America, in these times. I love them for their courage to keep giving richly to newbies like myself. Thank you Frances Miles. A star of America.
Tonight Ruta quipped that when she looks at Frances she has nothing but admiration for her. “Frances has had no work done whatsoever, and look how petite she still is,” says Ruta with a look that only a star could admire another star for keeping the faith so well, for the Entertainment Capitol of the World.
“When I told Frances how good she looks, you know what she said to me? She said: “A-ha! Black don’t crack. And it don’t sag either,” to which Ruta roars with laughter–like Frances is the funniest American comedian ever. Too cute.
Frances appears on two of Miles Davis‘ Colombia Records albums, Someday My Prince Will Come and E.S.P. Elvis Presley loved Frances so much for her beauty and sweetness of spirit that her album cover artwork still sits in his music library in Graceland to this day. She’s an original honey bee of American entertainment who inspired greats and continues to do so today. I think Ruta Lee is one of her biggest fans. These girls are two cute together.
Ruta was joined for dinner by her husband Mr Webster B. “Webb” Lowe, Jr., originally of Texas, who is of restauranteuring fame. Mr Lowe is as youthful of spirit as Ruta Lee is. He is gracious to a fault, discerning, wise and with a very firm honest handshake, just like my late Uncle Tahia of the Ngati Whaatua and Nga Puhi tribes was of Aotearoa New Zealand who grew up waching Ruta Lee’s films. She his people. A universal and much loved star. I felt very at home in Miss Lee’s and Mr Lowe’s company. He’s inclusive and a very nice guy. Like old America, but today and now. This dymanic couple live in Rita Hayworth‘s and Orselle Welles Laurel Canyon home when they spend time here.
It was a real pleasure too, to meet Margie Petersen wife of the late Robert E. Petersen founders of The Petersen Automotive Museum that is “dedicated to the exploration and presentation of the automobile and its impact on American life and culture using Los Angeles as the prime example.” Margie is a total sweetheart and her depth of spirit has a resilience to it that LA is very lucky to have inform it.
Having been in the company of Los Angeles living legends was both a privilege and also very inspiring. These fun kids exude life that is much needed here in LA. I love and appreciate them.
I am pictured (at top) with Ruta Lee in Irving Paul “Swifty” Lazar’s booth–where I had dinner tonight– with the lovely Ruta Lee gracing my table. She’s so sweet. Frances also appears with Ruta and Jason Fulk a legendary Hollywood host and Hollywood instutition too, known for his wit and hospitality who hosted Ruta Lee‘s big Hollywood party on the day she recieved her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at the historic Roosevelt Hotel –home to some of the finest official Hollywood ceremonies and movie premieres in LA.
Jason is as real as Hollywood people get. He shoots from the hip like a Maori does and his directness makes Hollywood stars instantly feel safe and at home. He’s always their host of first preference and he’s taught me a lot about how A-List stars think and he’s a class American act. In America you either have class or you don’t and Jason has it by the truckloads. He’s the real deal Hollywood starmaker too.
After spending a few moments with Ruta Lee, Mr Lowe, the delightful Margie Petersen and Frances Davis and being built up, smartened up and counselled by my friend Jason whose always a motivator–one can’t help but sense that Los Angeles is such a beautiful city to live in, contribute to with an entertainment blog, share and be a part of its evolving culture. All of these people mentioned are some of the City’s leading lights and it is people like these ambassadors of LA, that make the City of Angels such a beautiful city to live in with a great destiny and future still ahead of her. Thank you Angels for the encouragement to this Hollywood Maori – for that gift, I am blessed and I love you all.
By the way, the Oakplank steak on the menu at Hamburger Hamlet (cooked medium rare is the best) is my all time favorite. Yum! It was the closest thing on the menu that resembled Kibbe Nayeh of Lebannon that I was raised on in New Zealand by the Ataya family and also by my adopted Aunt Elaine of Westwood here in LA, so of course I had to order it. Thank you Aunt Elaine. :)
~Posted by Horiwood.Com, Hollywood California USA. 4.16.2010. Hamburger Hamlet Images – Horiwood’s Own.~