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Historic Wilshire Theatre to be Re-Named for Benefactors

Image courtesy Gary Minnaert via Wikipedia
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The Wilshire Theatre Beverly Hills began its almost 80-year-long life as the Fox Wilshire when it opened in September 1930. The 1900-seat late Art Deco-style venue began as a movie house, and was designed by S. Charles Lee, the architect behind other Los Angeles movie palaces such as the Los Angeles Theatre, the Tower, the Bruin, and the Academy. The theater was a top showplace for Fox studios, who often used it for lavish premieres like 1953's How To Marry a Millionaire, starring Marilyn Monroe, and, in 1970, it is where Woodstock ran during an exclusive engagement. The theatre converted to a stage-only venue in 1981, and recently has been "undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation," reports the Daily News. A $5 million donation from Haim and Cheryl Saban was instrumental in aiding the work of restoring "its orchestra, proscenium and marquee." When work is completed this fall, the theatre will be renamed the Saban Theatre in honor of its benefactors.

The Sabans, known for their philanthropy, have firm beliefs about the value of arts in our city:

"Our gift underscores our belief in the richness and beauty the arts bring to all of our lives," [Cheryl Saban] said. "We are delighted that this gift will not only guarantee the longevity of the theater itself but will also ensure that it remains at the center of important spiritual and arts based enrichment programs."

The Wilshire Theatre is just one of the countless pieces in Los Angeles' rich history; travel back in time with LAist every Saturday with our LAistory series!