When I got back to Hollywood to stop in Musso & Frank for the third time, I was really curious to check into what Dennis McMillan had told me — that Jim Thompson was a regular there, drinking at the bar almost every day, because he lived only about three blocks away.
Typically, I kind of waited till the last minute to look into it, and couldn’t find a copy of Robert Polito’s bio of Thompson, Savage Art, before I headed south — I’m confident Polito has every known address covered. However, Craig Graham solved that timing problem by calling up Thompson’s daughter and asking her.
We drove around, tracking down every place anywhere in the vicinity of M&F she told Craig about — I made a couple of notes, but most of the info here is from memory.
The closest address to M&F still standing is 1922 Whitley, roughly four blocks from the rear doors of the grill — you can duck around on some streets and cut across the back parking lot to shorten the distance, but Whitley T’s into Hollywood Boulevard about a block east of M&F’s front doors, then you head north three or four blocks — easy walking distance.
If I have the info right, the Thompson family made the move here after he got some film money from The Getaway, directed by Peckinpah, starring Steve McQueen, released in 1972. They had been living in an apartment the daughter didn’t like that much, further out Hollywood Boulevard, and at some point moved to her favorite place in this series — 1850 Whitley, south in the next block beyond Franklin — yes, one block closer to M&F! 1850 Whitley apparently was a three story building and they occupied the penthouse — today a large apartment house covers that section of real estate.
I guess that while they were living on Whitley, one or the other address, was when Thompson got to do his cameo as Judge Baxter Wilson Grayle in the 1975 Robert Mitchum version of Farewell, My Lovely — if you’re a hard-boiled fan, it’s worth watching just for that.
And sometime before his death on April 7, 1977, the Thompsons moved about twice as far away from M&F — still not that far — where he died.