Despite its sleazy reputation with the locals, Hollywood Boulevard remains catnip for tourists in search of the glitz and glamour of Tinseltown. It's here among the head shops, bucket drummers, and the seemingly countless supply of Johnny Depp impersonators, that a mix of dazed out-of-towners are struck by an epidemic of bootleg celebrity bus tours.
According to NBC4, some of these enterprising tour bus operators posses a profound lack of accurate information about where celebrities actually live. Its reporters did some investigative legwork, taking 20 different bus tours, some at prices up to $50 a pop, and they found a wealth of misinformation from tour bus drivers.
Dozens of houses were misidentified as celebrity homes, facts and locations were regularly smudged for the sake of story, and one bus driver even falsely claimed that Justin Bieber had burned down a home at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Crescent.
In the end, does it matter if tourists are misinformed for the sake of little phony celebrity lore? If that celebrity has a dedicated, but not particularly Google-savvy stalker, then it actually matters quite a bit. Because apparently some crazies are using the tours for research.
Michael Edson’s Hollywood Hills property falls on the route of LA City Tours, and he tells NBC4 he's dealing with regular visits from a Julia Roberts stalker who was misinformed via the tour bus that the Pretty Woman star resides at his home. According to Edson, "Julia Roberts has never lived in this house and has never been to this house." Edson says he has received "letters full of death threats," messages for Roberts painted on his walls, and even awoke one night to find his house had been broken into, a single rose left behind. Aww.
Edson says he has complained to the tour company, asking it to remove this fib from the tour script, but he has overheard tour guides still misinforming tourists on the whereabouts of Roberts. He is now suing the tour bus company.
Edson’s story is not unique. NBC4 staked out one house that has been incorrectly identified by tour buses as the home of Quentin Tarantino. Over the course of one Saturday, nearly 25 buses stopped out front of the house every hour. The homeowners say they’ve been victims of vandalism, and, they say, they even found a script addressed to Tarantino in their mailbox from one aspiring screenwriter.
Tourists and obsessive fans alike that are looking to get the most accurate scoop on where the stars live should stick to the big guns. NBC4 vouches for the home tours given by the biggest player in the game, Starline. A few incorrect facts were peppered throughout its tour, but Starline's fibs were far less egregious than the bootleg tours, NBC4 reports. No word on whether the Julia Roberts estate is included in that tour.
- Hollywood Tour Trouble [NBC4]