Whitney Houston, the great ballad singer of such popular songs as “I Will Always Love You” and “One Moment in Time” passed away last night at the famous Beverly Hilton Hotel at the intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards in Beverly Hills just short of her planned attendance at the recording industry’s annual Grammy Awards on Sunday night, February 12. Houston, 48, was found in her hotel room slumped in a bathtub with her face under water. Press reports state an autopsy will be held in the next few days. There has been no explanation offered to the public on the causes of Houston’s death. Houston suffered from drug abuse issues after her initial successes in the music industry.
Houston had been very much in attendance at pre-Grammy parties and was to attend one such party Saturday night organized by her mentor, Clive Davis. She never made the event. Tonight songstress Jennifer Hudson will offer a tribute to Houston during the televised Grammys.
The Beverly Hilton is an iconic hotel in southern California. Opened by Conrad Hilton himself in 1953, the hotel is a fixture of the entertainment industry. It hosts the annual Golden Globe awards. The hotel was once owned by television personality and game-show mogul Merv Griffin. The hotel has housed fine restaurants over the years such as the wonderful “haute cuisine” L’Escoffier, and one of the original Trader Vic’s, a meeting place for people like Robert Wagner, Natalie Wood, and David Frost. (I had the opportunity to visit both over the years.) Both restaurants are now closed, overcome by the Hotel’s response to changing tastes.
A visit to the Beverly Hilton on any given weekend is likely to yield some interesting Hollywood people-watching to this day. The hotel was also the scene of the video-taped visits of U.S. Presidential candidate and Senator John Edwards for his extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter.
Houston’s death is tragic and a real loss for not only her family but music lovers around the world.