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Sid Grauman
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    (March 17, 1879-March 5, 1950)
    Born in Indianapolis, Indiana
    Built the Million Dollar Theater (1918), Egyptian Theater (1922) and Chinese Theater (1927)
    Chinese Theater known for its forecourt featuring the footprints and handprints of movie stars
    He was such a practical joker that his friend Charlie Chaplin said, 'Even if Grauman stood in front of me and said, 'Here I am,' I wouldn't believe a word the so-and-so said.'
    Anita Loos said he 'looked like the Mad Hatter, small and wiry, with an enormous nose and a halo of fuzzy red hair.'
    Despite being associated with the Chinese Theater his entire life, he actually owned none of it after the 1929 stock market crash, when he sold out to Fox.
    He could have salvaged some of his fortune during the crash, but he forbade the switchboard at the Ambassador Hotel from contacting his suite before noon.
    He constantly changed the story of what inspired him to have the stars place their prints outside the Chinese Theater.
    He ran a movie theater in San Francisco during the great quake (1906). After salvaging a projector from the rubble, he set up shop in a tent with a sign proclaiming 'Nothing to fall on you but canvas if there is another quake.'
    The Los Angeles Times wrote that being asked to place your prints in the cement outside the Chinese Theater was 'the next best thing to sainthood.'
    He received an honorary Academy Award as 'a master showman who raised the standard of exhibition of motion pictures.'
    After three decades of being known as Mann's Chinese Theater (following its 1973 purchase by Ted Mann), Graumann's name was restored to the theater (2002).

Credit: C. Fishel

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