“I like to think that Harry Cohn is having a somewhat difficult time sleeping in his grave thinking of a chick with a white shag rug taking over his space,” says Betsy Beers.
When Shondaland moved into new office space at Sunset Gower studios, the exec producer of ABC’s trifecta of hits — “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder” — inherited the legendary filmmaker’s suite. (Her partner in primetime, Shonda Rhimes, is just across the hall, within yelling distance.)
“Being a little bit of a movie buff, the fact that I’m working in the middle of movie history is incredible,” Beers says. With the help of set decorator Nicole Cramer, she put her own feminine touches on the place — restoring the historic wood paneling, adding a sophisticated art deco feel, and erasing any vestiges of Cohn’s, well, despotic taste in furnishings.
“This office was based on Mussolini’s office,” she explains, a fact she confirmed in reading the biography “King Cohn,” a copy of which sits on her end table, a gift from friends. She points to the extraordinary length of the room. “It’s very intimidating,” she says. “Plus, he put his desk on a platform so he could look down on you.”
The bathroom, too, yielded its own surprises: a closet with a secret door to the street outside. “That’s how he got the girls in and out,” she reveals. “I’ve got to figure out a creative use for that. Maybe my dog? I think Harry Cohn would roll around in his grave over that one, too.”