HUSH MONEY! MURDER!: The Famed Chateau Elysee

Chateau Elysee
Bison Archives

The Church of Scientology transformed a landmark Hollywood property -- one with an intriguing backstory -- into the Celebrity Centre International.

There's a tale about William Randolph Hearst, a murder on a yacht and hush money that led to the construction of the Chateau Elysee.

That the yarn might not be true illustrates the outsize reputation of the landmark property. Legend has it that Eleanor Ince, widow of film producer Thomas Ince, built the hotel and apartment building with money provided to her by Hearst after he killed her husband in 1924. Hearst is said to have mistakenly shot Thomas Ince while entertaining a slew of stars on his yacht, the Oneida.

Hearst allegedly was aiming for Charlie Chaplin, who was said to have had a dalliance with Hearst's mistress, Marion Davies. The widow's silence reportedly was bought with funds that went toward construction of the building, which hosted the likes of Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. The Los Angeles Times initially reported the tale of murder; however, official accounts indicate Thomas Ince died of a heart attack.

STORY: Scientology's Hollywood Real Estate Empire


Twitter: @DanielNMiller