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May 20, 2019

A Look Back at the Star-Studded World Premiere of ‘A Star Is Born’

For a film that costed more than $5 million dollars for the making, its world premiere – the first-ever to be nationally broadcasted – was also created as a night to remember, with every movie star in town receiving telegrams in the weeks leading up to September 29th, 1954. The chief of Warner Bros., Jack Warner, felt himself determined to set up a celebrity-studded event to attract attention, which might be able to help him recoup his investment in Judy Garland, who had a three-year hiatus after leaving her longtime studio MGM in 1950, and the film, which was the second-most expensive movie ever made in Hollywood at that time.

The premiere was held at the RKO Pantage Theatre in Los Angeles, with 20,000 fans crammed outside. Attending the event were the renowned stars including Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper and Doris Day. Of Garland’s return, Dorothy Lamour proclaimed, “Tonight, a star is reborn.” A post-premiere party was later thrown at the Cocoanut Grove.

Below are the photos that capture the star-studded premiere night:

The Hollywood premiere takes place at the RKO Pantages Theatre, Los Angeles, California. Photo by Loomis Dean.

The Hollywood premiere takes place at the RKO Pantages Theatre, Los Angeles, California.

Judy Garland at the premiere for her film 'A Star Is Born.' Photo by Jay Scott.

Judy Garland, Jack Carson and George Jesel. Photo by Jay Scott.

Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Lauren Bacall. Photo by Dennis Stock.

Lauren Bacall and Charlton Heston. Photo by Jay Scott.

Lauren Bacall and Charlton Heston. Photo by Jay Scott.

Marie Wilson, Joan Crawford, and Cesar Romero pose together. Photo by Murray Garrett.

A smiling Joan Crawford with Cesar Romero. Photo by Jay Scott.

Clark Gable. Photo by Dennis Stock.

Clark Gable and wife Kay Gable.

Cole Porter, Audrey Hepburn, Irving Berlin, and Don Hartman. Photo by Phil Stern.

Marilyn Monroe and Hugh French. Photo by Baron.

Marlene Dietrich. Photo by Loomis Dean.

Judy Garland and Marlene Dietrich. Photo by Allan Grant.

Marlene Dietrich and director Elia Kazan. Photo by Jay Scott.

Director Elia Kazan and Marlene Dietrich sit together at the premiere reception. Photo by Murray Garrett.

Elizabeth Taylor with second husband, actor Michael Wilding.

Pier Angeli and James Dean.

Doris Day with husband Marty Melcher. Photo by Jay Scott.

Doris Day and husband Marty Melcher. Photo by Murray Garrett.

Judy Garland. Photo by Dennis Stock.

Judy Garland and husband Sid Luft. Photo by Dennis Stock.

The post-party is thrown at the Cocoanut Grove.

Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Wilding and Judy Garland chatting.

Marlene Dietrich congrats Judy Garland at the post-premiere party at the Cocoanut Grove.

Marlene Dietrich dances with director Elia Kazan at the Cocoanut Grove.

James Dean jokes around with Swiss actress Ursula Andress.

Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland at the post-party.

Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra dance together.

Judy Garland dances with Frank Sinatra at the premiere party. Photo by Earl Leaf.

Frank Sinatra sits at a table lighting the cigarette of Lauren Bacall at the post-party. Photo by Murray Garrett.

Judy Garland, Jack Warner and Lauren Bacall at the post-party. Photo by Allan Grant.

Lauren Bacall, Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland at the premiere. Photo by Allan Grant.




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