The Players: An Exclusive Photo Tribute to 30 of L.A.’s Brightest Stars

A trio of top chefs, a transformative pop star, a legendary athlete, drag queens, the Archbishop and—how could we not?—Angelyne. A photographic salute to the characters that make L.A come alive.
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THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS: LARRY DAVID AND JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS
Writer-Producer • Actress
(pictured above)

DAVID AND LOUIS-DREYFUS are New Yorkers by birth but found their stride on Seinfeld, filmed in Studio City. They met in the ’80s on Saturday Night Live—she a popular cast member, he a writer failing to get his sketches on air. After Seinfeld’s massive success, David played a version of himself—rich, self-absorbed, neurotic—on Curb Your Enthusiasm. With 11 Emmys, Louis-Dreyfus proved herself a TV comedian in the tradition of Lucille Ball, and she found a defining role playing a bumbling U.S. vice president on Veep. Like much of their work together and apart, there was no hugging, no learning—pretty, pretty, pretty good. —steve appleford



THE CHEFS:
ROY CHOI, NANCY SILVERTON, AND WOLFGANG PUCK
Masters of Kogi, Mozza, and Spago

PHOTOGRAPHED BY ART STREIBER AT DU-PAR’S AT THE ORIGINAL FARMERS MARKET

LOS ANGELES became America’s best food city for a lot of reasons; three of them are Wolfgang Puck, Nancy Silverton, and Roy Choi. The Austrian-born Puck left Ma Maison to conjure his take on California cuisine (pizza topped with caviar and smoked salmon) at the original Spago, opened in 1982 on the Sunset Strip, and at the restaurant’s current flagship in Beverly Hills. His fame now approaches that of the celebrities he feeds annually at the Academy Awards’ Governors Ball. An obsessive master of breads, Valley native Silverton cofounded, with Puck-alum and then-husband Mark Peel, the landmark Campanile and its adjacent La Brea Bakery in 1989; today, she presides over the acclaimed Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria in Hancock Park and spends half the year in central Italy, absorbing tastes and techniques. Choi was born in Seoul and grew up in Anaheim working at his parents’ Korean restaurant. After training at the Culinary Institute of America and becoming chef at the Beverly Hilton, he launched his revolutionary Kogi gourmet food trucks in 2008, delivering a startling cross-cultural menu of bulgogi tacos and kimchi quesadillas to the streets. —s.a.



THE OPERATOR:
DANNY TREJO
Actor, Restaurateur

PHOTOGRAPHED BY SHAYAN ASGHARNIA AT TREJO’S COFFEE & DONUTS

ARRESTED FOR the first time at ten, Trejo was a hardened juvie bouncing around California gladiator academies before fetching up at San Quentin with a string of priors, a heroin habit, and a bad attitude. When released in 1969, he’d kicked junk and found God. A stint as a drug counselor led to his first movie role—an extra in 1985’s Runaway Train. From there, he meandered through movie and television projects, achieving stardom with memorable turns in Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse, as the wheelman in Michael Mann’s crime epic Heat, and as the duplicitous cartel mule Tortuga in Breaking Bad. His L.A-based Trejo’s Tacos and Trejo’s Coffee & Donuts are the latest manifestations of his methodical ambition. As his Breaking Bad character informs the DEA: “Tortuga means turtle, and that’s me. I take my time, but I always win.” —michael walker  



THE COMIC RELIEF:
JAMIE MASADA AND TIFFANY HADDISH
Founder, Laugh Factory • Comedian, Actress

PHOTOGRAPHED BY JEFF VESPA AT THE LAUGH FACTORY

JAMIE MASADA arrived in L.A. from Iran at 14 with a mouthful of English, even less money. After his attempt at stand-up comedy failed to produce many laughs or dollars, the resourceful émigré scraped together funding and founded the Laugh Factory in 1979 at the wrong end of the Sunset Strip. Masada’s insistence on paying the comedians appearing on his stage earned him the undying gratitude of future superstars like David Letterman and Jay Leno. Today, Masada’s eye for talent is as keen as ever. He discovered Haddish at his charity comedy camp for disadvantaged teens when she was 15 and mentored the future Grammy winner. “This man laid the foundation for my career,” Haddish says. “He gave me the greatest gift in the world: he cared.” —m.w.


THE ATHLETE: MAGIC JOHNSON
Lakers Legend, Survivor

PHOTOGRAPHED BY BEN BAKER

IN GAME 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals, rookie Earvin “Magic” Johnson started at center and played all five positions, leading the “Showtime” Lakers to a stunning victory and the first of his five championships. He abruptly retired in 1991 after contracting HIV but became the face of the fight against the virus. Later, his Magic Johnson Enterprises brought theaters and Starbucks outlets to Black neighborhoods. Today, Johnson has ownership stakes in the Dodgers and the WNBA’s Sparks, and continues to be a model of enlightened entrepreneurship. —jon regardie


THE PRODIGY: BILLIE EILISH
Singer, Phenomenon

PHOTOGRAPHED BY MASON POOLE AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL

BILLIE EILISH Pirate Baird O’Connell is a 20-year-old punk fairy who could only have been conceived in L.A. The home-schooled daughter of actors and musicians, Eilish and her creative partner, brother Finneas, recorded her Grammy-wining, multiplatinum debut at the O’Connell residence in Highland Park. Her whisper-fragile vocals, with Finneas’s production and co-songwriting, earned them the Best Original Song Oscar at this year’s Academy Awards. Eilish, who has been open about her battle with depression and addiction to porn, had the courage to write lyrics about both. Everything she does, wears, sings, and says is news. —heidi siegmund cuda 


THE SURVIVOR: JOAN COLLINS
Actress

PHOTOGRAPHED BY JONAS MOHR

“The problem with beauty,” Joan Collins once famously noted, “is that it’s like being born rich and getting poorer.” And yet, at 88, the charmingly tart British-born actress, who has lived in L.A. since 1980, remains extremely well off in every sense. She’s best known, of course, for her role as Alexis in the ’80s series Dynasty, but her six-decade, 30-film career (everything from A Midwinter’s Tale to Empire of the Ants) has made her so much more than a TV star. At any age, she’s a Hollywood icon.


THE ACTIVIST: MELINA ABDULLAH
Cofounder, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles

PHOTOGRAPHED BY MATT SAYLES AT ST. ELMO VILLAGE

THE CAL STATE L.A. professor attended her first protest as a child, and she still believes in the power of students to fire up a movement. Abdullah cofounded Black Lives Matter Los Angeles with dozens of her Pan-African Studies students. She continues to embrace without apology defunding the police and voices skepticism that Karen Bass is the ideal mayoral candidate for progressives. The mother of three and self-described radical organizer calls for universal ethnic studies. “Black studies saved my life,” she says. —s.a.


THE NEWSMEN: PATRICK SOON-SHIONG AND KEVIN MERIDA
Owner • Executive Editor, L.A. Times

PHOTOGRAPHED BY ART STREIBER AT THE L.A. TIMES OFFICES

THE L.A TIMES, hobbled by staff cuts and a rapacious owner, was  reeling when Soon-Shiong and his wife, Michele Chan, bought the paper (along with the San Diego Tribune) in 2018 for $500 million. The South African–born pharmaceutical magnate hired Merida, a beloved Washington Post veteran, who was also in the running for the top job at that paper. It was reported last year that Soon-Shiong, deep in development of a COVID vaccine, was considering selling the Times, which he denied. In any event, the newsroom, under Merida’s guidance, has rallied with tough stories and renewed purpose. —m.w.


THE SPIRITUALIST: ARCHBISHOP JOSÉ GOMEZ
Los Angeles Archdiocese

PHOTOGRAPHED BY CORINA MARIE AT THE CATHEDRAL OF OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS

THE CATHEDRAL of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown L.A. was built to stand for 500 years and carry the work of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles deep into this millennium. “We have mass right now in 42 languages,” says Archbishop José Gomez, who was appointed in 2011. “We try to be attentive to the fact that this is a big city and people from all over the world are here. I think the influence of the church has been very important for Los Angeles.” The $163 million cathedral marks its 20th anniversary this year and represents Catholics across Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties. With walls festooned with artist John Nava’s tapestries depicting a multicultural procession of 136 saints and religious figures, the cathedral, like the archbishop, seeks to fulfill the words inscribed on its cornerstone: “A house of prayer for all peoples.” —s.a.


THE DYNASTY: ERIC AND GIL GARCETTI
L.A. Mayor • Former District Attorney

PHOTOGRAPHED BY ART STREIBER AT CITY HALL

OUR LATELY embattled mayor is better known, but his father, Gil, was first to stitch their surname into the civic fabric of Los Angeles. The career prosecutor was elected L.A. County district attorney in 1992 and is chiefly remembered for being in charge when the office lost the O. J. Simpson murder trial. In 2001, Eric won a seat on the City Council, and became L.A.’s 42nd mayor in 2013. While in office he steered L.A. through COVID but never finessed the intractable homelessness crisis (his ambassadorship to India was in doubt at press time). But the mayor’s true legacy, including landing the 2028 Summer Olympics and promoting mass transit, won’t be felt for years. —j.r.


THE TRAILBLAZERS: CHEECH & CHONG
Comics, Actors, Proto-Stoners

PHOTOGRAPHED BY CORINA MARIE AT WILL ROGERS STATE BEACH

L.A.’S HEADY 1960s drug culture informed one landmark comedy experiment: the James Joyce-quoting Firesign Theatre. Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong mainstreamed the concept in the early ’70s with sidesplitting stoner routines, some set on the streets of East L.A., that surfaced racial tensions, shredded peace-and-love pieties (a mainstay of fellow Angeleno Frank Zappa), and even nodded to Abbott and Costello in “Dave’s Not Here,” a red-eyed homage to “Who’s on First?” Hit comedy albums brought their act to the masses—“Sister Mary Elephant,” the only spoken-word recording to reach the Top 40—as did their 1978 film, Up in Smoke, which grossed $104 million worldwide. Marin launched a solo career with the Springsteen-parodying “Born in East L.A.” His extensive art collection is the centerpiece of Riverside Art Museum’s Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture, opening in June.—m.w.


THE RAPPER: SNOOP DOGG
Hip-Hop OG, Entrepreneur 

PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE PUGLIESE AT THE BEACH

WHEN CALVIN BROADUS debuted on Dr. Dre’s Chronic in 1992, the entire world of rap shifted, fueled by gin and juice and blunt-laden L.A. house parties. At the time, there was a turf war between East Coast and West Coast rappers. The East Coast gave us battle cries by Public Enemy; the West Coast, the gangsta rap of N.W.A and Ice T. Then along came Snoop. Everything changed. The fact that he was so dang likable made it difficult for the haters, which is why he has weathered every rap shitstorm. Unlike Tupac and Biggie, Snoop lives on, shining like a star with Dre at the Super Bowl. Drop it like it’s hot, Snoop. —h.s.c.



THE CONDUCTOR:
GUSTAVO DUDAMEL
Conductor, L.A. Philharmonic

PHOTOGRAPHED BY SLAVA MOGUTIN AT WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL

WE ARE IN a city that’s been blessed with brilliant conductors: Zubin Mehta, Esa-Pekka Salonen, André Previn, Otto Klemperer, John Williams. But to watch the L.A. Phil’s current master, Gustavo Dudamel—of the moppy curls and passionate manner—perform Beethoven, Dvořák, Wagner, Mahler, Gershwin, Ravel, and the many new pieces he commissions from South American composers, is to watch a genius at work. That you’re as likely to run into him at an In-N-Out as at one of the two beautiful venues he calls home—the Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall—gives him an everyman appeal that transcends classical music cliques. Once on the podium, he conducts the acclaimed 103-year-orchestra with his entire being, seeming to levitate briefly before landing lightly on his feet. Sheer joy. —H.S.C.

PHOTOGRAPHED BY DAN BUSTA AT MICHAEL’S

THE RESTAURATEURS: MICHAEL MCCARTY
Founder, Michael’s Santa Monica
MICHAEL MCCARTY was a 25-year-old, Armani-wearing chef when he opened his eponymous restaurant on Third Street, joined ten years later by a Manhattan outpost. Michael’s Santa Monica served as the springboard for an uncanny number of L.A. celebrity chefs—Jonathan Waxman, Mark Peel, Nancy Silverton, Roy Yamaguchi, Sang Yoon, Ken Frank, and Brooke Williamson all got their start in the chaotic kitchen. Meanwhile, their boss reimagined American fine dining with his California twist on French nouvelle cuisine served in a setting where waiters wore Ralph Lauren instead of tuxedos and modern art hung gallery-style on the pure white walls. “Michael’s is either an overrated piece of history or nothing short of the birthplace of modern American cuisine,” says McCarty’s son, Chas, who has comanaged the restaurant with his father since 2015. We’d tend toward the latter. —M.W.


THE BROKERS: THE LADIES OF SELLING SUNSET
Reality-Star Realtors

From left: Selling Sunset’s Mary Fitzgerald, Emma Hernan, Chrishell Stause, and Chelsea Lazkani. (PHOTOGRAPHED BY MICHELLE GROSKOPF IN THE HOLLYWOOD HILLS)

THE NETFLIX docusoap Selling Sunset is the latest corner of L.A. gloss—in this case, conspicuous real estate consumption and its enablers (think: Million Dollar Listing)—to be repurposed as reality-TV porn. Set around the mostly female sales force of L.A.’s Oppenheim Group (led by twins Jason and Brett Oppenheim), Selling Sunset only occasionally focuses on moving zillion-dollar properties with epic views; instead, series creator Adam DiVello (Laguna Beach, The Hills) chronicles a parade of parties, mean girls, boy toys, weddings, divorce, and heartbreak. The season five ensemble includes mainstays Mary Fitzgerald, Heather Rae El Moussa, Emma Hernan, Chrishell Stause (divorced and now dating one of the twins), and a newcomer, British-Nigerian realtor Chelsea Lazkani. —S.A.


THE LONGRIDERS: THE COMPTON COWBOYS
Positive Posse

From left: Compton Cowboys Randall Hook, Carlton Hook, Layton Charles Bereal, Anthony Harris, and Roy Keenan Malik Abercrombia. (PHOTOGRAPHED BY RICARDO NELSON AT THEIR STABLE IN COMPTON)

THE COMPTON COWBOYS ride with the banner “Streets raised us. Horses saved us.” In a city still best known for gangsta rap, these cowboys are lifelong friends who came together on horseback with a mission: to counter racial stereotypes and escape gang violence. The group evolved from the Compton Junior Posse, an equestrian program founded in 1988 in the city’s semirural Richland Farms neighborhood to offer an alternative to gang culture and recognize the Black cowboys who helped open the West after the Civil War. With the hashtag #BlackEquestriansMatter, the Compton Cowboys also advocate for breaking into the mostly white rodeo circuit. Word is apparently getting around: one young female member had a cameo on horseback in Beyonce’s performance of “Be Alive” at the 2022 Academy Awards. —S.A.


THE SHOWMAN: BRIAN GRAZER
Producer, Author, Philantropist

PHOTOGRAPHED BY JEFF VESPA AT HIS HOME

IN A PERIPATETIC career spanning four decades, Grazer, with director Ron Howard, has produced movies and television shows nominated for 43 Academy Awards and 138 Emmys. He’s also penned a New York Times best-seller and become one of L.A.’s most dedicated and hands-on philanthropists. Grazer prefers to give to causes he can personally apprehend; having raised an autistic son, he experienced the paucity of available treatments and facilities. “I produced A Beautiful Mind because I saw people all over yelling at garbage cans, screaming at walls,” he says. “I’m not rich enough to give to vague causes. I like to keep it local.” —M.W.


THE SMART SET: DIMITRI DIMITROV, GABÉ DOPPELT, AND JEFF KLEIN
Gatekeepers of San Vicente Bungalows, Tower Bar

From left: Dimitri Dimitrov, Gabé Doppelt, and Jeff Klein at the Tower Bar. (PHOTOGRAPHED BY ADAM AMENGUAL AT TOWER BAR)

WHEN SUNSET TOWER HOTEL owner Jeff Klein opened San Vicente Bungalows in 2018, he took with him the legendary Dimitri Dimitrov, the Tower Bar’s maître d’ and man about town. Dimitrov’s replacement, Gabé Doppelt, had no restaurant experience, but she did have a suitably glamorous backstory—as former editor of Mademoiselle and lieutenant for Condé Nast legends Tina Brown and Anna Wintour. For the past four years, as Dimitrov charmed the ultra-A-list crowd at the private Bungalows, Doppelt finessed the egos of the Tower Bar’s still-star-studded clientele. She compares the air-kiss blandishments of the job to be “like fluffing in porn, darling. Except not.” —merle ginsberg


THE PSYCHICTYLER HENRY
Medium to the Stars

PHOTOGRAPHED BY CODY CLOUD AT HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY

ARRIVING IN L.A. by train from rural Central California, the young psychic had no dreams of finding fame as the star of Hollywood Medium. “I had this unique ability,” he says, “[but] I was gay; I was very different from my surroundings. L.A. was a bit of a reprieve from all of that.” Henry was 19 when the E! series began, and across four seasons, he performed over 200 celebrity readings, from Kardashians to kickboxers. The hardest to read? “Comedians.” In his new series, Netflix’s Life After Death with Tyler Henry, he focuses on readings for average folks. “Everybody has questions,” he says. —S.A.


THE ROYALS: JACKIE BEAT AND HER COURT
All Hail the Drag Queens of WeHo

From left: Cake Moss, Billy L’Amour, Jackie Beat, Roxy Wood, and Marta BeatChu.. (PHOTOGRAPHED BY RICARDO NELSON AT HAMBURGER MARY’S)

LOS ANGELES excels at elevating unlikely pairings into cultural touchstones: Bogart and Bacall, fried chicken and waffles. So it’s hardly surprising that the combo platter at Hamburger Mary’s—superlative burgers and gregarious drag queens—continues to thrive at the corner of Sweetzer and Santa Monica in West Hollywood. Regulars will probably recognize the flame-haired Jackie Beat, seen tucking into a Mary’s speciality (below) while her court expresses appropriate hauteur. In a career spanning 25 years and millions of YouTube views, Jackie has channeled the likes of Gaga, Madonna, and Cher while delivering lacerating parodies of their hits. (“Small children will probably be frightened,” the New York Times characterized one of her live shows.) But what do you expect from a queen who declares herself “the world’s biggest bitch”? —M.W.


THE AESTHETE: BRAINWASH
Street Artist

PHOTOGRAPHED BY CORINA MARIE AT MR. BRAINWASH MUSEUM (FORMERLY THE PALEY CENTER)

THE CAREER of French-born, L.A.-based Thierry Guetta, aka Mr. Brainwash, traces the gilded path forged by Bansky, his fellow guerilla artist and aesthetic mentor: establish street cred with a freewheeling style heavy on cultural appropriation, and the galleries will follow. Many of Guetta’s signature works are built around anodyne memes—“Follow your dreams,” “Love is the answer”—juxtaposed with frantic collages attended by random pop-cultural totems like Mickey and Minnie Mouse. (His cover for the August 2020 issue of this magazine remains one of our most celebrated.) Guetta’s rise from the streets is chronicled in Bansky’s 2010 documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. “Banksy captured me becoming an artist; in the end, I became his biggest work of art.” —M.W.


THE CURATOR: MICHAEL GOVAN
Director, L.A. County Museum of Art

PHOTOGRAPHED BY STEFANIE KEENAN AT LACMA

AFTER GOVAN took over LACMA in 2006, two epic, Instagram-friendly installations defined the new regime: Chris Burden’s Urban Light, comprising 202 vintage L.A.  streetlamps; and Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass, a 340-ton granite boulder balanced above a concrete trench. But Govan’s most ambitious endeavor is his most controversial: the shocking (for many) razing of four museum buildings to make way for architect Peter Zumthor’s $750 million boomerang-shaped structure spanning Wilshire Boulevard. Critics charge that it offers 33 percent less gallery space than the original buildings. Reactions split the art world and caused the exit of one major donor, the Ahmanson Foundation. For now, Govan maintains support from LACMA’s board as he remakes the museum in his image. —S.A.


THE POP STAR AND THE MENTOR: SUSANNA HOFFS AND RODNEY BINGENHEIMER
Bangles Cofounder • DJ/Legend 

PHOTOGRAPHED BY JEANEEN LUND AT THE RECORD PARLOR

IN THE 2003 documentary Mayor of the Sunset Strip, Bingenheimer—a diminutive misfit from Mountain View, California—is depicted as a near-Zelig, turning up in Sonny and Cher’s entourage and auditioning for the Monkees before becoming a pivotal figure in L.A.’s glam- and punk-rock scenes. He championed David Bowie to a skeptical local demimonde and put X, the Go-Go’s, the Runaways, and many other Hollywood rockers on the map via his radio show, “Rodney on the ROQ.” How influential was Bingenheimer? In 1981, Susanna Hoffs, then 18, hand-delivered her unknown band’s first single to him. He gave it airplay, a contract with IRS Records followed, and in 1985 the Bangles scored a triple platinum album and the worldwide smash “Manic Monday,” written by Prince. Today, Bingenheimer hosts a show on SiriusXM and moves among us, past his star on the Walk of Fame, in a replica of the cobalt ’67 GTO he piloted through his days and nights on the Sunset Strip.. —M.W.


​​THE AUTHOR: BRET EASTON ELLIS
Novelist, Provocateur

PHOTOGRAPHED BY JEANEEN LUND AT HIS HOME IN WEHO

PRINCE OF the literary Brat Packers, Didion-channeling darling of L.A.’s Buckley School, Ellis hit the lit scene like a hurricane in 1985 with Less Than Zero. Depicting wan preppies watching snuff films and having joyless sex, the novel was a nadir-testing version of L.A. noir. (The Bangles scored a hit with their cover of “Hazy Shade of Winter” in the film version.) Today, Ellis is a prickly defender of free speech on his hit podcast and in his 2019 essay collection, White. He remains one of L.A.’s leading literary figures while his Brat Pack contemporaries fade away. The Shards, his ninth book, drops in January. —M.W.


THE POSTER GIRL: ANGELYNE
Famous for Fame

PHOTOGRAPHED BY BEN DUGGAN AT HER HOME IN WEST HOLLYWOOD

ANGELYNE’S ICONOGRAPHIC bona fides are so L.A.-specific, she remains unimaginable anywhere else. The former Ronia Tamar Goldberg simply has no equivalent; there is no “New York Angelyne” nor could there ever be one. Her trademark billboards, which have blanketed L.A. since the ’80s and depict her in skimpy lingerie accompanied only by her name, grew out of a promotion for the first of four punkish albums she recorded as a singer. The albums are long gone, but the persona she built promoting them still thrives: Angelyne, a TV series based on her life, starring Emmy Rossum in the title role, premieres this month on Peacock. Part “It” girl, part contrived enigma, Angelyne has actually always been a Warhol-esque sendup of Hollywood celebrity, traversing town in her pink Corvette, with ANGLYNE vanity tags, she exists both in and out of character. When spotted in the produce aisle of, say, the West Hollywood Gelson’s, she exudes the oblivion of just another harried shopper, albeit one dressed in a hot-pink bustier. People don’t stare—this is L.A., after all. But they can’t look away. —M.W.


​​THE JOURNEYMAN: BEN HARPER
Singer-Songwriter

PHOTOGRAPHED BY CORINA MARIE AT THE TROUBADOUR

WHEN THE GRAMMY-WINNING Harper first appeared at the Troubadour in 1994, club owner Doug Weston told him, “We’re going to be seeing a lot of you.” The gig was an important step in Harper’s career, just as the club has been for generations of artists. “This is my favorite venue of this size in the world,” Harper says. “It’s the sound, the intimacy, the history.” In the ’60s, the Troubadour was the birthplace of Buffalo Springfield. Richard Pryor recorded his first comedy album there in 1968. Elton John made his star-making U.S. debut at the club during six wild, keyboard-pounding nights in 1970. The L.A. singer-songwriter genre that Harper would later reinterpret was spanked into life at the Troubadour. The club was the first stop for future Eagle Don Henley when he hit town in 1970. “Linda Ronstadt was standing there in a little Daisy Duke dress, barefoot,” he later recalled. “I thought, ‘I’ve made it. I’m in heaven.’” —M.W.


THE DAREDEVIL AND THE COMEDIAN: TONY HAWK AND JAMES CORDEN
Skateboard Champion • Actor, Comedian, Late-Night TV Host

PHOTOGRAPHED BY TERENCE PATRICK ON THE CBS BACK LOT

SO HOW DID an extreme skateboarder and a British actor and comedian find their way to outsize success? Both were unlikely candidates. Corden spent most of his twenties and early thirties couch-surfing in Studio City and scrounging for gigs before he landed The Late Late Show, his wildly popular late-night perch at CBS. (He was so paranoid the show would be canceled, he didn’t buy furniture for two years.) Hawk went bankrupt a few times before becoming a millionaire skater-mogul. “He’s still trying to skateboard?” asked a friend of Hawk’s wife in the ’90s. “Are you fucking kidding me? Grow up. Get a job.” Both men are accustomed to working without a net, the oft-injured Hawk quite literally so. But they are illustrations of two golden rules for anyone who wants to make it here: be nice to everyone on your way up the ladder, and never, ever look down. —M.W.

(Editor’s Note: It was announced Thursday, Apr. 28 that James Corden would be stepping down as host of The Late Late Show.)

Read more coverage from Los Angeles magazine’s special 60th Anniversary Issue:

Big Macs! Barbies! Rocket Ships! Porn Stars! 60 Ways That L.A. Changed the World

Editor’s Note: Six Decades (and a very long year) of LA Mag

So Why Do We Live in. L.A. by Bruce Fierstein


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