Greatest Fictional Angelenos #10: Norma Desmond
Name: Norma Desmond
Residence: 10086 Sunset Boulevard, Bel-Air
Area code: Now: 310; Back then: Exchange Name BRadshaw
Occupation: Mad Silent Movie Star

Before the talkies, Norma Desmond was the biggest and brightest Hollywood star working many times with directors such as Cecil B. DeMille and D.W. Griffith. By the time a bankrupt screenwriter stumbles into her gothic Beverly Hills (now Bel-Air) mansion, she is a reclusive, insane, aging woman, longing for her next role on the big screen as “Salome.” As Max Von Mayerling (her butler, former director, first husband, who serves as her protector and shields from the outside world) says: “She was the greatest of them all. You wouldn’t know, you’re too young. In one week she received 17,000 fan letters. Men bribed her hairdresser to get a lock of her hair. There was a maharajah who came all the way from India to beg one of her silk stockings. Later he strangled himself with it!” After the screenwriter bilked Norma out of money by promising to fix her script, Norma shoots him and leaves his body floating in her pool… though rumor has it that Norma really shot him because he rejected her advances. Delusional but prepared for her time with “the cameras and those wonderful people out there in the dark,” Norma prepares for her close-up with legendary Paramount director Cecil B. DeMille as the police arrive to take her away. Don’t keep her waiting Mr. DeMille… she’ll forever be ready for her close-up.

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Other fictional Angelenos in this series.