Where Is Melrose Place?

From the classic Fox primetime soap 'Melrose Place' (1992-1999)

It was probably Dr. Michael Mancini (Thomas Calabro) who first saw "Melrose Place" for what it was. "It's this building," he said out loud. "It makes people nuts. It must be something in the water, something to do with the pool. Come to think of it, I was normal when I moved in."

The accursed apartment complex doesn't exist around Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles like many viewers think; the Melrose Place between the avenue and La Cienega Boulevard is a shopping and commercial area. The fa├žade shown on TV is actually that of 4616 Greenwood Place, a small apartment building in Los Feliz which, shock, doesn't have a courtyard pool, while the studio scenes were shot 30 miles away in Santa Clarita. 

Here’s a little-known trick employed on the show by set decorator Deborah Siegel. Instead of creating separate apartments for each of the eight main characters, the crew simply used two and adapted them for every one. A couple of the walls just had to change when they need to show a different character's apartment.

It was important for show creator Darren Star to set the story in West Hollywood where he once lived after college. Yes, in a courtyard complex. With a pool. But there’s no Melrose Place apartment in real-life WeHo.

4616 Greenwood Place, also known as El Pueblo Apartments, the real-life Melrose Place. Photo via Tony Hoffarth

"Everybody who lived there was in their 20s," he recalled to The Television Academy. "The idea was to explore the time between graduating from college and learning to become an adult." 

The “Beverly Hills, 90210” creator, who is gay, also felt it important to squeeze some diversity into the cast through the character Matt Fielding, portrayed by Doug Savant. “You can’t do a show about West Hollywood and not have a gay character,” Star said. 

But remember, this was the homophobic 90s, and network bosses forbade Matt from getting a piece of the steamy action the other characters were getting. At Fox's orders, what would have been a groundbreaking kissing scene on primetime TV ended up in the cutting room.

Everything else was free rein. A Fox exec told Star that the characters can have "as much sex as they want" but obviously this rule didn't apply to the one main gay character on the show. 

Savant, who is straight, nonetheless joined his co-stars in bringing the nighttime soap's notorious web of romantic entanglements to the real world. Savant ended up marrying Laura Leighton who dated Grant Show, who also dated Courtney Thorne-Smith, who dated Andrew Shue...Hey, at least an explosive character like Kimberly Shaw stayed fictional.

Perhaps it's not the building that's ultimately at fault for all the onscreen drama. As Amanda Woodward, played by perennial guest star Heather Locklear, said, "Get used to the fact that even the most perfect, sensitive guy is, bottom line, a dog. I mean, he might be a well-behaved dog, but he still howls at the moon and grabs the first leg he can get ahold of."


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