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West Hollywood's dark side

November 23, 2013

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Any city with as much history as West Hollywood surely has a dark side.

For every Sunset Tower, where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard lived, there's a Barney's Beanery, where Janis Joplin had her last drink before returning to her hotel and overdosing.

There are other notorious locations as well:

•After drinking at On the Rox, a private club above the Roxy Theatre on Sunset Boulevard, comedian John Belushi returned to a rented bungalow at the Chateau Marmont just off the Strip. He was found dead there the following day, March 5, 1982, the victim of a drug overdose.

•The Troubador on Santa Monica Boulevard was the site of comedian/social critic Lenny Bruce's 1962 arrest on obscenity charges; the case ended in a mistrial in 1963.

• The Pink Taco restaurant on Sunset was formerly The Players, a ritzy supper club that existed from 1940 to 1953 and catered to the celebrity crowd. When the building was being renovated for the restaurant, a closed-off tunnel was found. It led to the nearby Chateau Marmont, and, the story goes, was meant to provide celebs and their dates easy access to the hotel — and privacy.

•The sidewalk outside the Viper Room, also on the Strip, is where 23-year-old actor River Phoenix collapsed and died Oct. 31, 1993. Death was attributed to a combination of drugs.

— W.H.