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Dark Destinations > Locations - P > The Peg Entwistle House

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Availability: Closed to the Public
Filed Under: Paranormal Hot Spots > Haunted Roads/Bridges
Personalities > Movies
Added By: TheCabinet
Added On: February 05, 2009 - 09:15 PM UTC
Last Modified: February 05, 2009 - 09:57 PM UTC
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2428 N Beachwood Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068, USA (Los Angeles, California)
 
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The Peg Entwistle House
This house in Los Angeles, California is located on Beachwood Canyon Drive, which is directly south of the iconic landmark known as the Hollywood Sign. The sign was erected in 1923 and in less than a decade, a tragic death would occur that would forever intertwine the story of the sign with 2428 North Beachwood Drive (sometimes listed as Beachwood Canyon Drive).

Millicent Lilian Entwistle
Though initially born in Wales and having spent her early days in London, Millicent Lilian Entwistle would relocate with her family to the United States. Sadly, her father was a victim of hit-and-run over five years later and Entwistle went to live with her uncle, Charles Entwistle, with her two stepbrothers. An aspiring actress, Entwistle adopted the stage name of "Peg" and worked her way through the New York theater scene until finally receiving a credited role in the Broadway production of Martha. More productions would follow.

One of her most notable pre-Broadway performances was in the role of Hedvig in The Wild Duck, which played at the Repertory Theater of Boston. In January 1926, one of the members of the audience was a young Bette Davis, who was reportedly so moved by Peg Entwistle's performance that she became determined that acting was also her own destiny. Davis would one day later be cast in the very role that so inspired her and would consistently cite the influence Entwistle had on her for the rest of her career.

In early 1927, Peg Entwistle married fellow actor Robert Keith (who would later go on to have successful movie career). Facts about their marriage are the stuff of speculation as little appears to be known about their days together. Some accounts suggest that she was surprised to find out that Keith had previously been married and even more surprised to find out that he had a son by the name of Brian Keith (who also went on to have a successful movie career). Whether these stories are true or not, the couple evidently separated shortly thereafter and Keith remarried in 1930.

Entwistle went on to star in ten Broadway plays throughout her career and even went on tour to perform around the country. She was later brought to Los Angeles in April or May of 1932 to perform in a local production of The Mad Hopes with co-stars Billy Burke and Humphrey Bogart. It was at this time that she moved into this particular home, which was her uncle's residence after he had relocated to Hollywood a few years before. The production was reportedly a hit and played to large crowds before its scheduled closing on June 4th of that year. Entwistle's performance did not go unnoticed and she was called in for a screen test with RKO Studios. Despite initial plans to return to New York, she signed a one-picture contract with the studio a week later and secured her first role. She was cast in the role of Hazel Cousins in the George Archainbaud-directed film, Thirteen Women (1932) and her future looked bright.

The film is classified as a psychological thriller that involves thirteen former members of a sorority that pay a visit to a clairvoyant to have their horoscopes read. What the women do not know is that a former student of their school whom harbors resentment towards them has hypnotized the clairvoyant. Through him, she manipulates the women to begin killing one another and/or themselves. The role that Peg Entwistle played, Hazel Cousins, ultimately starves herself to death in a sanitarium after being jilted by her female lover.

After poor test screenings and negative reviews, RKO shelved Thirteen Women to re-edit and restructure the film. It is said that over 14 minutes were cut from the film and reportedly much of Entwistle's screen time was excised. The film would ultimately be released later to little fanfare or success, but in recent years Thirteen Women has received something of a cult status. Aside from the notoriety of being Entwistle's only film, the film is often credited as being something of a precursor to the slasher subgenre of horror films that would emerge decades later. However, the film's delay and the additional frustration of not finding more work in Hollywood reputedly took its toll on Peg Entwistle, which led to a dramatic and tragic end.

The Hollywood Sign Girl
According to various sources, that fateful evening came on September 16, 1932. After telling her uncle that she was going to meet up with some friends at a nearby drugstore, Entwistle instead walked north on Beachwood Drive in the direction of the Hollywood Sign, which still read "HOLLYWOODLAND" at the time (see The Hollywood Sign). She walked the nearly one and half miles up the road and the southern slope of Mount Lee until she reached the famous landmark. There, she reportedly located a ladder left leaning on the letter "H" by maintenance workers, stopped to remove her jacket and set down her purse, and climbed to the top. She then jumped to her death from the 50-foot high letter.

Two days later, a hiker in the area located her discarded purse and jacket and looked down the hill to see a body. The hiker then picked up the personal belongings and took them to a nearby local police precinct and made an anonymous phone call to alert the officials of what they saw. Police immediately investigated and located the body of Entwistle. In her purse, they found the apparent suicide note that read, "I am afraid, I am a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E."

The death would become a minor mystery. The police had no way of identifying the body and the only clue as to her identity was the initials "P.E." found in the suicide note. They turned to the local press who immediately elevated the story to national news. It was the Los Angeles Times that is most often credited as dubbing the unnamed body, "The Hollywood Sign Girl." Meanwhile, her uncle had grown concerned that his niece had not yet returned home and feared the worst when he read the note printed in the papers. He immediately went to the morgue where he identified the body of Peg Entwistle.

Like much about Entwistle, the actual date of her death is a hot topic. For years, it was reported that she jumped on September 18th, rather than the 16th. This is reportedly attributed to the date listed on her death certificate, which reportedly is the day that her body was delivered to the Los Angeles coroner's office. Recent investigations into the records at the time have uncovered the autopsy report that reports the "Date of Suicide" as September 16, 1932. Regardless, the body of Entwistle was cremated and a year after her death, the ashes were transported to Glendale, Ohio where they were interred next to her father at the Oak Hill Cemetery.

Entwistle was reportedly 24 years old at the time of her death. Thirteen Women opened a month later in New York and a month after that in Los Angeles. Almost all accounts of her death include a sad epilogue. According to the story, Entwistle's uncle would check the mail following her death and discover a letter posted the day before her death. In it, he found that she had been offered a leading role in the next production from Beverly Hills Playhouse. Ironically, the character in the play commits suicide in the end. If true, it was certainly a tragic bookend to the life of Peg Entwistle.

Fact vs. Fiction
The date of her death is hardly the only confusing part of Entwistle's story. There are a variety of contradicting accounts of her life and her death, which makes it very difficult to separate the fact from the fiction. Some accounts suggest that Entwistle survived the initial jump and died later in a hospital after undergoing multiple surgeries (including the indignation of dying before surgery could be performed, because the nurses were busy trying to remove all of the cacti needles from her body). However, the autopsy report reportedly contradicts these stories and has her dying from internal injuries well in advance of her body being discovered.

Still further accounts report that she jumped from the last letter. Because the sign still included the "LAND" portion, it would have been the thirteenth letter - a reputedly unlucky number and also a reference to Thirteen Women. However, official reports list her body being found directly in front of the letter "H". Finally, an ongoing legend surrounding the sign is that Entwistle's jump was one of the first of many such jumps by struggling actresses. However, Entwistle is the only known suicide from the Hollywood Sign and current security measures at the base of the sign would make any further attempts virtually impossible.

The Haunting
The story of Peg Entwistle may not be over yet according to some reports. There are various stories of a young woman dressed in 1930s clothing (which stands out as inappropriate for the time of year or weather) walking from this house on Beachwood Drive in the direction of the Hollywood Sign to this day. The sightings further describe a woman that closely resembles Entwistle reportedly appearing very depressed and somewhat in a daze. In some accounts, the woman is said to vanish as she nears the famous landmark.

Reported sightings of Entwistle's ghost are hardly restricted to Beachwood Drive. Most accounts put her apparition at the base of the Hollywood Sign or even up on the letter "H" as if she were about to jump again. There are even further accounts that her spirit haunts the drugstore (now reportedly a coffee shop) where she had told her uncle she was heading, despite the fact that there are no reports of her ever actually going there the night of her death.

In Popular Culture
The sad saga of Peg Entwistle has popped up in pop culture from time to time. Her suicide (though she is renamed "Camille McRae") is related in a tour group scene at the sign in the 1975 John Schlesinger film, The Day of the Locust. In 1972, songwriter Dory Previn paid homage to Entwistle in the song, Mary C. Brown and the Hollywood Sign. In the song, Previn recounts, "She jumped from the letter 'H'/Cause she didn't become a star/She died in less than a minute and a half/She looked a bit like Hedy Lamarr."

The House Today
The former residence of the Entwistles still exists on Beachwood Drive with the Hollywood Sign looming in the background. However, it is a private residence and it is safe to assume that the owner would rather be left alone. As always, please respect their right to privacy.
 
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Related Sites
The Hollywood Sign Girl
A site dedicated to the tragic story of actress, Peg Entwistle, who jumped to her death from the iconic Hollywood Sign. The site attempts to clear up many misconceptions and urban legends surrounding her death.
 
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Available from Amazon.com
Death in Paradise: An Illustrated History of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner
Hollywood Classics 2: B Movies, Bad Movies, Good Movies
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City Ghosts: True Tales of Hauntings in America's Cities
Hollywood Escapes: The Moviegoer's Guide to Exploring Southern California's Great Outdoors
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The Girl Who Walked Home Alone: Bette Davis - A Personal Biography
Ghost Stories of Hollywood
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Peg Entwisle's Final Residence
Photo of the Los Angeles house where Peg Entwistle lived at the time of her death - January 2009.
From: TheCabinet
 
View of the Hollywood Sign from the Entwistle Home
Photo of the Hollywood Sign in the distance from the Entwistle House on Beachwood Dr. - January 2009
From: TheCabinet
 
Peg Entwistle's Home in Los Angeles, California
Photo of a wider look at the final home of Peg Entwistle in Los Angeles, California - January 2009.
From: TheCabinet
 
The Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles, California
Photo of the famous Hollywood Sign from Deronda Drive, Los Angeles, California - January 2009.
From: TheCabinet
 
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The above content is for informational purposes only. Before making any travel arrangements, it is highly recommended that you contact those in charge of the property to check for updated availability and hours of operation. While we do our best to keep this information updated, we cannot guarantee that it is completely valid and up to date. Any destination marked "Closed to the Public" is marked that for a reason and we discourage any visits or attempts to gain access to that facility. Similarly, take note of any "Travel Advisory" that may be associated with a destination. Finally, treat any location and its local residents with respect. Any vandalism and/or unruly behavior is completely despicable and only ruins the experience for future visitors.

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