5 Famous LA Mansions
We see some pretty spectacular homes on our tours every day. All throughout Los Angeles, you can find some incredible architecture and beautiful neighborhoods. The playgrounds of some of the most rich and famous in Hollywood, some of these homes are entrenched in the history of the City of Los Angeles. Here are 5 of our favorite famous LA Homes.
Located in Beverly Hills, Greenacres was built by silent film star Harold Lloyd in the 1920’s. The land was sold to Lloyd by P.E. Benedict and is close to the famous Pickfair estate. On the National Register of Historic Places since 1984, Greenacres has been called “the most impressive movie star’s estate ever created.” The estate originally boasted a 44-room mansion, golf course, outbuildings, and 900-foot canoe run on 15 acres. Every Sunday, Lloyd would host about 30-40 friends and family members for a ‘at home’ day at the estate. There were activities set up and a large buffet before a movie was shown. When Lloyd’s career started to wind down in the 40’s, the estate fell into disrepair. When Lloyd died in 1971, he left the land and home to be used as a museum. However, due to high costs it ended up being sold off to a developer who turned 10 of the acres into 14 individual lots with the mansion still remaining on 5 acres. The home and acreage was sold to the heir of Marshall Field who updated and renovated it extensively and used it as a family home and for major political fundraisers. While previous guests included Mary Pickford, Ginger Rogers and Fay Wray, recent visitors have included Bill Clinton, Natalie Cole and Barbara Streisand. It is now owned by billionaire Ron Burkle.
Known as one of the most celebrated homes in the world, Pickfair (named by the press) was built for silent film stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. Originally a hunting cabin, Fairbanks purchased the house for Pickford in 1919 and they enlisted architect Wallace Neff to create a mock tudor style mansion that had 4 stories, 25 rooms and included stables, servants quarters, tennis courts, a large guest wing, and garages. Pickfair became the “it” place for celebrities to gather. If you were at Pickfair it meant you were a part of the in crowd. Legendary guests included Charlie Chaplin (who was Fairbanks’ best friend and lived next door), the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Greta Garbo, George Bernard Shaw, Albert Einstein, Elinor Glyn, Helen Keller, H.G. Wells, Amelia Earhart, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joan Crawford, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, Pearl S. Buck, Charles Lindbergh, Max Reinhardt, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Thomas Edison, Lillian Gish, Gloria Swanson, the Duke and Duchess of Alba, the King and Queen of Siam and many more. After Pickford and Fairbanks divorced in 1936, she lived there with her 3rd husband until her death. The home was eventually sold to Pia Zadora and her first husband who ended up demolishing most of the home. This was met with public outrage and she said it was because the house was filled with termites. It was later revealed that a laughing ghost of a woman kept appearing to Zadora and her children and that is why they tore it down. The only remaining artifacts from the original Pickfair are the gates to the estate, the kidney-shaped pool and pool house, remnants of the living room, as well as the two-bedroom guest wing that played host to visiting royalty and notable film celebrities for over half a century. It was sold to a businessman for over $17 million in the mid 2000’s.
Probably one of the most iconic homes in Los Angeles and the one that many people want to visit. Known for it’s lavish parties and famous residents, the mansion is almost 22,000 square feet and is a “Gothic Style” tudor home. It sits on over 5 acres and has 22 rooms. It has a wine cellar, a screening room with built-in pipe organ, a game room, three zoo/aviary buildings, a tennis/basketball court, a waterfall and a swimming pool area (including a patio and barbecue area, a grotto, a basement gym with sauna below the bathhouse). Landscaping includes a large koi pond with artificial stream, a small citrus orchard and two well-established forests of tree ferns and redwoods. Part of the mansion houses the Playboy Editorial offices. Talk about a work/life balance.
You might recognize Greystone Mansion from some of your favorite films including: Star Trek 2, The Muppets, The Social Network, The Prestige, Rockstar, Spiderman, X-Men, The Big Lebowski, Air Force One and Ghostbusters just to name a few. Built by the heir to one of the world’s greatest financial empires, Greystone mansion was originally built over 3 years to build at a cost over more than 3 million dollars (which in 1927 is equivalent to roughly about $41 million today).It is called Greystone due to its abundant use of stone construction and its somber gray appearance. In addition to the Mansion, originally located on the grounds were stables and kennels, tennis courts, a fire station, gatehouse, swimming pool and pavilion, a greenhouse, a lake, babbling brooks and cascading waterfalls. While the original owner was murdered inside the home by a close friend soon after the house was built, those that cared for it (including his widow) kept the structure intact. In recent years, it has been used for filming, weddings, photo shoots and the extremely popular Murder & Madness dinner theater performed there once a year.
Beverly House (Hearst Mansion, Beverly Hills)
Boasting 36 bathrooms (yes, 36), the Beverly House was once considered the most expensive private home in the United States. 36 bathrooms aside (yes, we said it again), the home (located on 3.7 acres) also has 29 bedrooms, 3 swimming pools, tennis courts, its own cinema and a nightclub. Owned by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and silent film star Marion Davies, legend has it that John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier spent part of their 1953 honeymoon at the property and they watched their first film together as a married couple in the mansion’s cinema. It was a Hearst-produced film from the 1920s (of course!). The mansion was also supposedly used as the West Coast headquarters for the Kennedy Presidential Campaign in the 1960’s. Perhaps most famously, however, the production team of the movie “The Godfather” made the owners an offer they couldn’t refuse because the house was used in the scene depicting the severed head of a horse in the bed of a film producer. It was also featured in the movie “The Bodyguard”. It went on the market in 2014 for $135 million dollars.
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