The Statler

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Which historic hotel hosted beloved animal model, Linda the Llama?

The iconic Statler Hotel has welcomed numerous illustrious guests since opening its doors in 1956 including Audrey Hepburn, Tina Turner, and The Jackson 5. But perhaps The Statler’s most famous guest arrived via private Braniff jet in 1969: Linda the Llama. Linda was invited to Dallas by Stanley Marcus, the president and chairman of Neiman Marcus, to attend the luxury retailer’s South American Fortnight.


Linda the Llama arriving at The Statler, Dallas, Texas.

The Neiman Marcus Fortnights were started by Stanley Marcus in 1957 as a way to offset the slowdown that usually hits fall sales about two months before the Christmas rush. An annual celebration of international culture, cuisine and fashion, the Neiman Marcus Fortnights transformed Dallas into a specific country, region, or continent.


Linda the Llama checking-in at The Statler, Dallas, Texas.

Neiman-Marcus’ first Fortnight in 1957 celebrated France-and the downtown store’s 50th anniversary-in a way that Dallas and the nation had never seen. The building was aglitter with Gallic decor, French goods, Paris models, French business, fashion, cultural and diplomatic leaders, and the crème de la crème of Dallas. French writers and artists flew into Love Field aboard a special Air France plane (then-Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson secured the landing rights).



Poster advertising Neiman Marcus' South American Fortnight. Sourced from DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.


Stanley Marcus and Linda at the South American Fortnight. Sourced from DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University.

The following years saw the Fortnights grow even bigger, culminating in the 1969 South American Fortnight which endeavored to showcase an entire continent. A key part of this celebration was the arrival of Linda the Llama, who was famously photographed by Inge Morath in an image entitled ‘A Llama in Times Square.’ Captured on her way home from filming a television show at ABC studios, the famous shot of Linda stretching her neck out of a car window was featured in the December 2, 1957 issue of LIFE Magazine in a story entitled “High-paid Llama in Big City.” The story was about a menagerie of television animals—including, in addition to the llama, large and small dogs, cats, birds, a pig, a kangaroo, and a miniature bull—living at home with their trainers in a Manhattan brownstone.



Inge Morath, A Llama in Times Square. New York City. USA. 1957. © Inge Morath | Magnum Photos.


‘High-paid llama in big city.’ LIFE Magazine, 2 December 1957.

Conrad Hilton himself extended an invitation for Linda to stay at The Statler during the Fortnight, even sending a luxurious Cadillac limousine to pick her up from the Dallas International Airport. The staff reportedly enjoyed her company so much that they requested she extend her stay for a full two weeks. Today, a life-sized polished chrome statue of Linda resides on The Statler’s rooftop where she can enjoy the stunning views of the Dallas skyline. Guests can visit her while sipping delicious cocktails from Waterproof, The Statler’s exclusive rooftop bar.



Polished chrome statue of Llinda Lee Llama by local artist Brad Oldham.

This has been a Historic Hotels History Mystery.
For more fun facts, trivia, and historic highlights, check out our History Mystery pages for Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. Subscribe to our newsletter below and follow us on social media to play along.

Question: Which historic hotel hosted beloved animal model, Linda the Llama?

  1. The Martinique New York on Broadway
  2. The Statler
  3. Palmer House®, A Hilton Hotel
  4. The Plaza
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