HOLLYWOOD’S far from lacking in celebrity homes, but Byrdview is arguably the most star-studded of the bunch.
The magnificent mid-century modern property was designed in 1949 for socialite Dora Hutchinson, heir to the Chase Manhattan Bank fortune, by futuristic architect William Pereira. Known as one of the leading architects of the time, he only worked on four private houses and had also been a film set designer, producer and director.
He won an Oscar in 1942 for his special effects photography on Reap The Wild Wind, a Cecil B DeMille film. His background and skills made him the perfect choice for planning Dora’s showstopping home — and he certainly didn’t disappoint.
The single-storey house, sitting in a plot of 4.3 acres, is perched on a hilltop with a 360-degree vista of Los Angeles, mountains and the neighbouring vast nature reserve. Approached via a half-mile-long gated drive, it has total privacy as it can’t be seen from the road. More than half the exterior walls are composed entirely of glass, flooding the interiors with light and capturing the panoramic views in all directions.
The massive rooms and soaring 16-foot-high ceilings made it perfect for lavish entertaining and as soon as the house was finished, Dora wasted no time in assembling Hollywood’s showbiz royalty for soirees and parties, often setting off fireworks to signal the start of cocktail hour.
After moving back to New York, she sold the estate to Frank Sinatra and it became renowned as a party pad for the Rat Pack — which included Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Junior — and Sinatra’s numerous other Hollywood/ politician friends. Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli renewed their wedding vows and their daughter Liza married her first husband at the house. Marilyn Monroe lived in the guest cottage while she was having an affair with JFK, who is rumoured to have visited her there.
More recently, Byrdview’s striking looks and setting have made it a magnet for location scouts and it’s appeared in numerous films, including Swordfish, Dreamgirls, Transformers and Bewitched. The property has also starred in the TV series Mad Men and Californication, as well as music videos by Mariah Carey, Usher and Rihanna.
Although it’s now 70 years old, the 6,661sq ft house has stood the test of time and is as fresh and stylish as it was at the height of its partying heyday in the 1950s and 60s. Regarded as Hollywood’s number one celebrity home, it’s on the market at $12.5million (£9.769million).
An adjacent six-acre parcel of land is available by separate negotiation, via theagencyre.com.
What you get for your money
■ Seven bedrooms
■ Nine bathrooms
■ Chef’s kitchen with island
■ Guest cottage
■ Outdoor pool
■ Parking for 100 cars