Movie Star Home Tours in Hollywood: What You Need to Know

Tour Bus in Hollywood
Tour Bus in Hollywood.

 Richard Cummins/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images Plus

It's one of Hollywood's biggest tourist myths, and it's time it was busted. Don't let those cheesy tour companies fool you into thinking you can catch a glimpse of a leading lady walking the dog or a leading man mowing the lawn while you're riding around Hollywood in a big, noisy bus.

This is the simple truth: You are more likely to see an elephant walking down a Hollywood or Beverly Hills street than you are to spot a movie star. And despite what all those tour companies and streetside map sellers want you to think, startlingly few of today's favorite celebs own houses in those areas.

Before you go on a movie star homes tour or go looking for their residences on your own, there are some things you need to know. Read on to find out what they are.

And don't despair; if you want to see a celebrity, you can. Just use this guide to seeing celebrities in Los Angeles.

Where Do Movie Stars Actually Live?

Many of today's Hollywood stars don't live in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, or any of the other neighboring areas. Some of them may live in Malibu or Orange County, and many others have homes thousands of miles from Los Angeles.

The few who do have homes in Hollywood treasure their privacy. They put up fences that a giraffe couldn't peek over and plant hedges so dense a gnat couldn't get through. They want to shield their homes from prying eyes, and you can't really blame them. Who wants some paparazzi, or even a tourist from East Chip taking their picture when they're trying to relax?

To satisfy visitors' curiosity, tour operators and map-makers often highlight the places where a star used to live. In some cases, they just make things up or rely on unsubstantiated "facts" that are anything but accurate. One of the outrageous claims they make is that Beverly Hills' fire hydrants are platinum-plated. They might think that their guests are so gullible that they won't wonder why someone hasn't pulled them up in order to get the precious metal.

Young man selling maps to star's Hollywood to driving tourists at Beverly Hills area.
Grant Faint/The Image Bank/Getty Images Plus

Maps to Hollywood Movie Star Homes

On Hollywood Boulevard, in Beverly Hills, in Brentwood, and on Sunset Strip, you'll find dozens of streetside vendors hawking maps that claim to show you where movie stars live, their hand-lettered signs boasting "Maps to the Stars Homes."

You may be tempted to buy one of these maps and run around Beverly Hills, sticking your camera out the car window. But be advised, their information is more than likely woefully out of date, if it was ever accurate, to begin with.

If you enjoy poking fun at yourself and others, here's something you can do instead, and you don't have to pay a penny for one of those useless maps. Just drive around taking pictures of expensive-looking, beautiful houses and make up a story about who lives there. The folks back home will never know the difference.

Beverly Hills Trolley Tour
 City of Beverly Hills 

Movie Star Homes Tour Companies

If you are unlikely to see a real celebrity home and even less likely to see the stars themselves, most Hollywood movie star tours are a waste of your hard-earned money. Nevertheless, some tourists may ignore that, 

Lots of companies offer movie star home tours in Hollywood and Los Angeles. They make claims like "see where the stars actually live" or "tour of all your favorite Hollywood movie star homes." The tour companies don't fare any better than the map-sellers regarding accuracy, and they'll cost you even more.

However, there are a couple of tours that are worth your time:

Beverly Hills Trolley Tour tells you upfront that they're going to respect current residents' privacy, but they do dish up generous helpings of tales about those who used to live there. They take you on a drive through some of the city's ritziest neighborhoods.

Dearly Departed Tours is run by Scott Michaels, who prides himself on backing up everything with facts. This entertaining tour will take you to lots of interesting spots, celebrities' homes, and locales where the oddest things have happened. Despite what the name might make you think, it's more gossipy than creepy.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery
ATOMIC Hot Links/Flickr CC 2.0 

Movie Stars' Final Homes

One place that you can be sure a star is really in residence is at their final resting place. Hollywood Forever Cemetery is chock full of celebs of yesteryear and is happy to help you find their graves. In fact, you can find their locations on a handy map right on their website.

Legendary Forest Lawn also holds the remains of famous people from all eras, but they are less helpful to visitors. You can use the interactive map at Seeing-Stars.com to find them.

Marilyn Monroe's crypt can be found at Westwood Village Memorial Park. You can find it and more Marilyn-related sites in California.

Seeing-Stars.com also has a big list of more celebrity burial sites in the L.A. and Hollywood area, or you can search the extensive list at FindAGrave.com.

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