Stanley Bard, the longtime manager and part-owner of New York’s famously tolerant, actor- and rock-star-friendly Chelsea Hotel, died Tuesday of a stroke in Boca Raton, FL. He was 82. His death was confirmed by the management of, as it’s officially known, the Hotel Chelsea.
Known — and greatly appreciated — among generations of New York’s demimonde, from Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen (who wrote “Chelsea Hotel #2” about his tryst there with Janis Joplin) to later actors such as Russell Brand, Gaby Hoffman and Ethan Hawke (who directed a movie about it), Bard ran the shabby, no-limits haven from 1964-2007. His father David had been part-owner since 1947.
During the younger Bard’s tenure, the hotel not only housed, at one time or another, scores of rock stars (Madonna, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Iggy Pop, Bette Midler, among many others) and actors (Jane Fonda, Uma Thurman, Michael Imperioli, Edie Sedgwick), but itself became a presence in film and on TV. Mainstream America probably first saw its interiors when Lance Loud lived there during the early-’70s filming of PBS’s landmark An American Family, while more specialized audiences knew it from, among others, Andy Warhol’s underground films, 1996’s Party Monster: The Shockumentary, Hawke’s 2001 Chelsea Walls and Abel Ferrara’s 2008 doc Chelsea on the Rocks.
The photogenic Victorian Gothic structure even made its way into latter-day TV series 24, The Carrie Diaries and HBO’s 2011 Cinema Verite, about the making of American Family.
No doubt the grimmest event during the Bard era was the 1978 stabbing murder of Nancy Spungeon by Sex Pistols punk rocker Sid Vicious, which was depicted in Alex Cox’s 1986 film Sid and Nancy starring Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb. The film was shot partly at the hotel.
Bard (on far right in the above photo, with playwright Arthur Miller on left) was known to accept paintings in lieu of rent from hard-up tenants like a young Patti Smith. He was ousted in 2007 by a rival team of co-owners. He retired to Florida two years later.