Monday, March 16, 2015


2130 Vista del Mar Ave., Hollywood, CA
This building dating from 1912 was the home of the Krotona Institute of Theosophy and a host of famous Angelenos stayed there until the institute relocated to the desert at Ojai in 1926, including sugar cane heiress Annie Sullivan Knudsen and silent screen icons Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin. Albeit not together, we hasten to add. The property later became an apartment building and was in 1929 the home of noted documentary filmmaker Robert Flaherty. Also living there at that time was the intense Danish thespian Otto Matiesen (1893-1932) and his wife, actress Isabel la Mal. Tragically, it was from this home that Matiesen set out for New York and stage work in an automobile shared with fellow screen actor Duncan Renaldo. The couple suffered an accident just outside Flagstaff, AZ, and while Renaldo survived to play Hollywood Latinos for the next three decades, including The Cisco Kid, Matiesen was killed on the spot. (NOTE: it is MATIESEN, not "Matieson" as most sources claim. The actor was Danish and not Swedish and actually speaks in his native tongue in his most memorable screen role, that of the mysterious Joel Cairo in the first version of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon from 1931). 

Otto Matiesen in General Crack (1930)


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