BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA.com) — A longtime pool manager at the Beverly Hills Hotel who once rubbed elbows with Hollywood royalty asked for help to get back on his feet, and he got it, in a big way.
Svend Petersen, once known as the “Poolside Prince” and the “Cabana King,” retired from his official title as the famed hotel’s pool manager more than 15 years ago and has since fallen on hard times, and recently became homeless.
After working at the Beverly Hills Hotel for more than four decades and lounging poolside with the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant and Faye Dunaway, the Dane says he was taken advantage of by realtors who conned him into selling his house quickly, landing him in trouble with the IRS, according to a GoFundMe page set up on his behalf.
Tuesday we interviewed the 86-year-old in his tiny temporary motel room about falling into homelessness.
“I loved to work with them, they’ve been good to me, they made a life for me,” Petersen told CBS2 Tuesday.
And now they’re getting him back on his feet
Hours after the story aired, his Gofundme donations jumped to almost $20,000 from only $300.
“Never give up,” Petersen said when he heard the good news. “There are still good people out there willing to help, even if you don’t know them.”
A few days ago it was a different story.
“Hello, I’m Svend Petersen, I’m 86 years old and homeless,” Peterson says in a YouTube video posted April 9.
Petersen said he’s been homeless for about five months. Still recovering after being recently hospitalized for an infection, his “life consists of going from motel to motel and when the money runs out, he sleeps in a car” and going without much more than a couple of bananas to eat, according to the page.
“Sometimes I go three or four days without food,” Petersen said. “As long as I have something to drink, I’m happy.”
A Twitter account set up on Peterson’s behalf includes photos of him with various celebrities.