Damage to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympic Games.
It may not have been the dreaded Big One, but for Angelenos who lived through the events of Jan. 17, 1994, it was plenty big enough. At precisely 4:31 a.m., greater Los Angeles shook for 10 terrifying seconds, sending millions fleeing their beds in search of cover.
The epicenter of the 6.7-magnitude Northridge earthquake was in the San Fernando Valley, but the ground shook as far away as Las Vegas. Buildings pancaked, freeways collapsed and tens of thousands of homes were damaged as fires and blackouts gripped the region.
A Man Outside His Home
TV and film production screeched to a halt as Hollywood scrambled to assess the wreckage, with such Valley- based studios as Universal and Warner Bros. hit hardest. In the end, Northridge claimed at least 57 lives and caused $49 billion in damage.
Screenwriter Delia Ephron on the Quake
"I grew up in Los Angeles, and it was the first time in a long time that I’d been in a really scary quake, where you really felt the rage of the earth shaking. I remember jumping out of bed and going to a doorway, and that’s of course all wrong. After the earthquake, when you went to all the seminars, it turns out that’s the weakest place in the room. I remember how much faster I got out of bed than my husband, because he wears glasses, and if you wear glasses you really can’t think without glasses. We were sitting in the dark afterwards listening to all the car alarms, and suddenly I said, 'If I die tomorrow, I want to die in New York.' We had an apartment in New York within months.
Northridge Meadows Apartments
The wreckage at the Northridge Meadows Apartments, where 16 people died.
Who better to judge the best movies of all time than the people who make them? Studio chiefs, Oscar winners and TV royalty all were surveyed as THR publishes its first definitive entertainment-industry ranking of cinema's most superlative. View gallery