Did you know? On January 19 we celebrate Beverly Garland Day?
We have a piece of Hollywood history in North Hollywood.
The Los Angeles City Council decreed January 19 as the official Beverly Garland Day to honor her work on the stage, television and in movies. They also honor her for giving North Hollywood visitors a warm, inviting and fun place to stay at her hotel The Garland. The Garland will celebrate Beverly Garland Day with:
“In short, I would say, the proclamation record in perpetuity, the inspirational or moral compass for our business in that it celebrates Beverly’s extensive commitment to family and community through her craft as an actor as well as indefatigable community activism through being honorary mayor of North Hollywood, YMCA spokeswoman, and National Tour Association board member for Los Angeles tourism,” said James Crank, The Garland owner and managing partner. “So much so, she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.”
Beverly Garland began her nearly six decades long career in movies and television, in 1950. Her first feature film D.O.A., was released in April of that year, followed less that a month later with her first television appearance in a network television show, “Mama Rosa.” This short-lived Sunday night live ABC sitcom was set in a Hollywood boarding house catering to theatrical types. Beverly appeared in all four episodes as Mama’s daughter. Over the next 55 years, Beverly maintained parallel careers, appearing in over 30 feature films while maintaining a very high profile on network television, starring or being featured in nine different series.
Born Beverly Fessenden October 17, 1926, in Santa Cruz, California and reared in Southern California, she studied acting while in high school in Glendale with Anita Arliss, sister of the renowned stage and screen star George Arliss. Beverly began acting in little theater in Glendale and continued in Phoenix, Arizona after her family moved there.
After graduating high school, Beverly moved back to Los Angeles where she supported herself with a variety of jobs while continuing to act in little theater productions in the area. Director Rudolph Mate` cast her in “D.O.A.” after working with her at the Laguna Playhouse. Taking the name Beverly Garland after her marriage to actor Richard Garland (the marriage ended in 1953 after less than four years), she struggled in the early years because she refused to be thought of as simply a “movie” or “television” actress. She insisted she was a “working actress” and sought work in every area—stage, television and feature films—fighting a system at the time that had little tolerance for actors trying work in both television and theatrical films. Her breakout year was 1954 when she had featured or starring roles in five feature films and received an Emmy nomination for her work in an episode of “Medic,” opposite Lee Marvin.
After that, Beverly became one of the busiest actresses in Hollywood. Over the two year period 1955-1956, she was featured in nine movies and guest starred in 22 television episodes. In 1957, Beverly became the first actress to be cast as the lead in a dramatic television series when she was cast as policewoman Casey Jones in the acclaimed series “Decoy.” She worked with many of the biggest names in the business in a wide variety of roles. In the mid-1960s Bing Crosby chose Beverly to play his wife in his sitcom “The Bing Crosby Show” after seeing one of her rare comic roles in “The Farmer’s Daughter.” Likewise, Fred MacMurray chose her to play his wife and the mother to his sons in “My Three Sons” in 1969. During this period in the 1960s, she helped revolutionize television acting by leading the fight for the rights of working mothers, particularly to continue their employment while nursing.
In 1972, Beverly and her husband, land developer Fillmore Crank, opened the mission style resort hotel in North Hollywood that bears her name, The Garland Hotel. With the opening of the hotel, Beverley’s off screen life became filled with a variety of commitments. Not only was she the mother to two children, Carrington and James, she raised Cathleen and Fillmore, Jr. from Fillmore’s previous marriage. She became the spokesperson for the National Tour Association; she has served on the boards of both the California Tourism Corporation and The Greater Los Angeles Visitors and Convention Bureau; and for 35 years, she served as Honorary Mayor of North Hollywood.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Beverly continued to work in features and was a guest star in almost every major series on all three networks. In 1974, Beverley appeared in her favorite film, the family drama “Where the Red Fern Grows.” She was Cookie LaRue, a recurring character in “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” in 1975-1976; she was Kate Jackson’s mother in “Scarecrow and Mrs. King” in 1983-1987; she was Teri Hatcher’s mother in “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” from 1995-1997. In 2000, Beverly’s 50th year in show business, she had a recurring role in the daytime series “Port Charles.”
In 1970, Beverly Garland, and her husband Fillmore Crank, discovered this bucolic seven-acre property and knew they wanted to create a hideaway for friends, family and guests. Together with Las Vegas hotel impresario, John Kell Houssels Jr., they decided to build one of the most stunning North Hollywood hotels, which would serve as an oasis within the high-energy excitement of Los Angeles.
With the death of her husband Filmore in 1998, Beverley assumed a much larger role in the day-to-day operations of the family owned hotel with her son James Crank and daughter Cathleen Smith. Even while wearing the mantle of businesswoman Beverly was able to find time to act. Her last feature was “Christmas Vacation 2,” in 2003; her last television role was a recurring one in “7th Heaven.” On December 2, 2008, Beverly past away in the comfort of Hollywood Hills home her husband had built for her, surrounded by the children she had raised.
In 2000, the Beverly Garland hotel was handed down to their son James, whose unpretentious, sophisticated style influenced the expansion of the hotel into a true resort. Chic, relaxed and centrally located, guests here are close to the Hollywood landmarks, popular attractions and world-renowned business epicenters, all while being ensconced within the urban paradise the Garland family created. Today, The Garland has been reimagined and renovated with a hip new restaurant, cool décor, manicured outdoor parks and fresh ideas.
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