The picturesque abode last sold – as a “fixer” – for $450,000 in November 1998, just six short months before the “Almost Famous” crew descended upon it. Talk about a lucky purchase!
Unfortunately, due to the lengthy interim since the sale, MLS images of the interior are no longer available online. But per old newspaper listings, the property has a center hall, a fireplace, a dining room, a covered patio, and hardwood flooring. Outside, on the 0.15-acre lot, there’s a small expanse of grass and a detached 2-car garage reached via a rear alley.
Shot in chronological order, which is unheard of for a movie, especially a big-budget feature, “Almost Famous” opens in William’s bedroom. The space, along with all of the other Miller residence interiors, was a set designed by art directors Clay A. Griffith and Clayton R. Hartley and built on a soundstage at Manhattan Beach Studios (now MBS Media Campus).
Of his actual teenage bedroom, Crowe told “Rolling Stone” in 1992 (7 years before filming on “Almost Famous” began), “It’s about the size of a closet and while I was growing up, the walls bulged with albums on both sides. Somewhere in between, breathing a small sliver of air, I did most of my writing for ‘Rolling Stone.’ In many ways, I grew up on the ‘Rolling Stone’ beat. I lost my virginity, fell in love, interviewed my heroes, went home.” Hmmm, sounds like the beginnings of a fabulous screenplay!
Per the “Almost Famous” production notes, three color palettes were utilized in the film’s set design, “one for William’s life in San Diego; another for the exteriors as the band traveled on the road; and a third for the interiors of the various motels and hotels in which they stay.” For the Miller house, Griffith and Hartley utilized “softer color combinations so that when William hits the road, there was a distinct color contrast, though not an explosion of color.”
The home’s muted tones and mundane furnishings definitely provide a sharp foil to the vibrancy William encounters on the road.
Though the interior of the property was not used in “Almost Famous,” the bungalow’s charming exterior pops up a couple of times throughout the film.
The residence was painted yellow and covered in Fourth of July decorations when I visited it over ten years ago, but, as Google Street View imagery shows, it is back to its “Almost Famous” blue today. (Street View imagery also shows that, along with the Fourth of July, the owners go all out for Halloween, too!) Other than the flip-flopping paint color, little of the facade has changed since its 2000 cameo and, despite the passage of two decades, the home looks just as good now as it did onscreen.
The movie itself has held up just as well. Two decades after the fact, it still resonates deeply with audiences, remains popular among its legions of fans (as evidenced by “Rolling Stone’s” recent 20th-anniversary coverage and the podcast ”Origins: Almost Famous Turns Twenty”), and serves as a touchstone for teenagers everywhere. Its birthday is definitely one worth celebrating!
Until next time, Happy Stalking! 🙂
Stalk It: William Miller’s house from “Almost Famous” is located at 1047 Maple Street in Santa Monica. Disclaimer: Please remember this is a private home. Do not trespass or bother the residents or the property in any way.
For additional info on the Miller home, click back to the main page.
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