NOVEMBER 2008 – In November 1950, the National Association of Real Estate Boards held its annual convention in Florida for the first time. Thousands gathered in Miami Beach’s Municipal Auditorium to hear a former movie star speak on her “Romance in Real Estate.”
Corinne Griffith was certainly the most glamorous speaker at the convention. She made sixty pictures, retiring as an actress in 1932. Her performance in the silent film “The Divine Lady” earned a 1929 Academy Award nomination.
After her movie career, Griffith quickly caught the real estate bug. “I liked the vacant business lots I saw in Beverly Hills with the For Sale signs on them,” she told the REALTORS®. “They were so near the beautiful homes there in that section and I couldn’t help but feel that someday the business section would grow up to the great buying power of these wealthy estates.”
One of her greatest achievements was building on each of the four corners of Wilshire Boulevard and South Beverly Drive. All of the buildings were grey.
“That started a grey trend,” Griffith said. “At a Chamber of Commerce dinner I was introduced as the lady who has turned Beverly Hills grey overnight.”
Griffith was also the wife of Washington Redskins owner George Preston Marshall. She wrote the original lyrics to the team’s fight song, “Hail to the Redskins.”
Other notable speakers at NAREB’s first Florida convention included Eddie Rickenbacker, president of Eastern Airlines and World War I flying ace; Thomas J. Watson, chairman of the board of IBM; and Dr. G. Rowland Collins, dean of New York University’s school of commerce, accounts and finance.