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The Hamptons of Hollywood

February 8, 2022
  • Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall aboard their boat, Santana, in Newport Harbor

With the Oscars right around the corner, it’s a fun time to look back on Newport Beach’s own connection to film and Hollywood this awards season! The calm, protected waters of Newport Harbor have since enjoyed a starring role in several great Hollywood classics, starting with the silent-era, Cleopatra, and the Academy Award Winning 1930s All Quiet on the Western Front.

Stars such as John Wayne, Shirley Temple, Humphrey Bogart , Buddy Ebsen, and others from the Golden Era of Hollywood made their homes here in Newport Harbor, deeming it the nickname “The Hamptons of Hollywood”. Because Los Angeles didn’t have a public marina until the mid-60’s when the Army Corps of Engineers created Marina Del Rey, Newport Beach more or less served as The Hamptons to the L.A. crowd that enjoyed sailing to Catalina Island, sport fishing, and dancing the night away to the Big Bands as they played in the Ballroom of the Historic Balboa Pavilion. Not only could they could moor their yachts and sailboats at their private docks right in front of their homes, but for those that didn’t live in Newport Beach, the Pacific Electric Red-Line Train could deliver them for an evening of dining and dancing.

Pirate’s Cove located at Newport Harbor’s entrance and adjacent to Corona del Mar State Beach serves as the opening scene of Gilligan’s Island. Today’s beautiful homes along Newport Coast and Balboa Village – Home of the Fun Zone were the setting for Fox Television’s 2003-2007 show, The OC, starring Peter Gallagher and several young actors who’ve since gone on to bigger fame: Mischa Barton, Rachel Bilson, Benjamin McKenzie & Adam Brody. Jason Bateman pursued the saga of the frozen banana stand and potential wealth to be inherited by the dysfunctional Bluth family in 2014’s Arrested Development. And all the drama of the glam lives of The Real Housewives of The OC continue on Bravo TV.

Directly across Coast Highway on the Oceanside, the quaint cottages of picturesque Crystal Cove Historic District set the scene for such diverse movies as Treasure Island, Herbie Rides Again, and Bette Midler’s 1988, Beaches.

Written by Visit Newport Beach

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