One of the most famous residents of the Hollywood Riviera is, no doubt, actress Rosemary DeCamp who lived here for almost 60 years, until her death in 2001. Rosemary and her husband, Judge John Shidler, purchased a Hollywood Riviera house on Camino de las Colinas in 1945 (when there were only three houses on the block) for the price of $22,500. Here they raised their four daughters: Margaret, Martha, Valerie and Nita.
Rosemary was a well-respected actress who, while very pretty, often played matronly roles such as being the mother in Yankee Doodle Dandy and Jungle Book. Later she was also involved in television, including The Bob Cummings Show, Life of Riley and others. While she was not the typical flamboyant Hollywood type, Rosemary was known to drive around in her beloved white Rolls Royce Silver Cloud nicknamed Snowball.
Mid career Rosemary married a local boy, John Ashton Shidler, a Stanford Law School grad who later became a Torrance Superior Court Judge. After marrying, the newlyweds lived in Beverly Hills where John might have gotten tired of being called Mr. DeCamp a few too many times. John wanted “down-home living” for his family.
The Shidler family was active in the community. Rosemary was also an artist and supported community cultural groups. She conducted a playwriting contest at Torrance High School for many years. Judge Shidler was a prominent community member who also served on the Torrance School Board and was instrumental in helping protect Torrance Beach from high rise developments.
Rosemary died here at age 90. John predeceased her death by a few years (in 1997). The couple was among the longest lived Riviera residents. The “down-home living” of Hollywood Riviera suited Rosemary and their daughters well. The girls said they never saw their parents fight and they had a wonderful life growing up here. While well aware that their mother was a celebrity, none of them ever let fame go to their heads.
With community support, the Friends of the Hollywood Riviera plan for this identifying marker to be placed at the corner of Via Monte d’Oro and Palos Verdes Blvd., which was the original entrance to our beautiful historic neighborhood in 1928.
The marker will be 14 feet long and 5 feet high and is designed in the Mission style with period font. The back of the marker will be inset with custom period tile detailing a brief history of the Hollywood Riviera. To see maps and photos, go to the Riviera Homeowners Association website and click on Hollywood Riviera Marker Project: hollywoodriviera.org/marker.
Now you have the opportunity to support this exciting project. You may contribute via GoFundMe or by check to: Friends of the Hollywood Riviera, c/o Dina Wiley, 202 Via la Soledad, Redondo Beach, CA 90277.
Thank you to Edie Dees, Dina Wiley, Karen Lent and Janet Hart for the above stories.
DeCamp-Shidler House on Camino de las Colinas
Much of the information in this article is from Rosemary’s autobiography: “Tiger in My Lap.” The DeCamp-Shidler daughters still live in Southern California. Three local history buffs, Edie Dees, Dina Wiley and Karen Lent spent time talking with Rosemary’s oldest daughter, Margaret. They have been collecting information for a book they are writing on the Hollywood Riviera’s history. Please contact one of them should you have historical information or photos. Old Hollywood Riviera Research Group/September 2016