The Fabulous Estates Of Old Hollywood

These days, all of us lust after Hollywood real estate thanks to an endless supply of shows like "Selling Sunset" and "Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles." However, none of it would have happened without the "golden age" of Hollywood, which took place between 1910 and 1970. According to Arcadia Publishing, this was the time when filmmakers and actors flooded the region, taking advantage of new talent, new methods of filming, and a new love for creative screenwriting.

During that time, lots of filmmakers and actors rose to unprecedented fame and went on to make unprecedented salaries. They splurged on Los Angeles real estate with that newfound cash and built the first amazing mansions in the region. Today, some of those same estates continue to live on, bringing old-school luxury and history to their newfound owners, while other mansions from Old Hollywood have become piles of rubble. Here are some of the most famous estates from the time period.

The Hearst Estate in Beverly Hills, sold at auction for 30% its asking price

At one time, the Hearst Estate was one of the most opulent hangouts in Beverly Hills. It attracted the who's-who of the political and entertainment scenes thanks to the huge influence of owner and newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. According to Dirt, the Hearst Estate was even featured in "The Godfather," Beyonce's "Black Is King" music video, and was the honeymoon spot of the Kennedys. The mansion dates back nearly a century, built with eight bedrooms and 15 bathrooms. About 20 years after its inception, Marion Davis and Hearst picked it up for just $120,000, which would amount to $1.8 million today.

But times have certainly changed for the Hearst Estate. In September of 2021, it sold for $63 million at auction after nearly six months on the market, which is just a fraction of the $195 million that former owner Leonard Ross had once asked for. But despite the huge discount, it still broke the record for the most expensive house bought at auction. The winning bidder was Nicolas Berggruen, a billionaire and investor who seems much more highbrow than the partiers who hung out at the Hearst Estate during its heyday. Berggruen founded the Berggruen Institute, a company that aims to revamp political, economic, and social institutions so they can be sustainable into the future.

Charlton Heston's star-shaped Beverly Hills home that he lived in for 50 years

Per Dirt, for nearly 50 years, Charlton Heston, star of the big screen during the '50s, '60s, and '70s, lived in a one-of-a-kind seven-bedroom home in Beverly Hills. He loved it so much that he resided there until his last day in 2008. However, he might end up being the only one ever to live here. Luc Besson, who directed films such as "Lucy" and "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets," bought it for a little over $12 million, reported Dirt. Then, nearly half a decade later, he put it on the market for $14.9 million, with many of his planned renovations just partially completed.

With so much construction underway at the time of the listing, it's unclear if Besson ever lived here at all. Instead, it seems like he threw in the towel and gave up his renovation project, which included making the home drastically larger. Even in its pre-renovation state, it seemed unlikely for a buyer to come in with no changes — the house was oddly shaped like a half-star. However, it did include some features popular even today, including a flowing floorplan divided only by glass, a library with towering ceilings, and a primary suite that functions as its own house wing.

The Edie Goetz Estate in Holmby Hills, a Georgian-style destination for Old Hollywood parties

There's nothing like a father's love, which couldn't be more evident when looking at the stunning Edie Goetz Estate in Holmby Hills. According to Top Ten Real Estate Deals, Goetz came about her wealth thanks to her dad, Louis B. Mayer, who co-founded and managed MGM Studios. With the big bucks that Goetz's producer husband was making thanks to being bankrolled by a 20th Century Fox deal made by her dad, Goetz made her home into a true entertainer's paradise. Stars such as Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, and Judy Garland were often party guests throughout the years.

In mid-2017, Nicolas Berggruen swooped in once again and picked up this legendary estate on 4.5 acres for $40.8 million, said Mansion Global. But that's only part of the property. On the parcel of land, there was also a home for visitors that cost another $37 million, but Berggruen opted not to buy it. However, the Edie Goetz Estate is stunning all on its own. The Georgian-style residence dates back to 1938, and its architect had quite the handsome pedigree. Designer Gordon B. Kaufmann can also be attributed to the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills and The Los Angeles Times building.

Rudolph Valentino's Italian paradise on Benedict Canyon

When Italian heartthrob Rudolph Valentino was at the height of his fame in the 1920s, he wanted the best of both worlds — a place to escape from his crazed following and also a place to showcase the piles of money he amassed. So, according to "The Legendary Estates of Beverly Hills," he did what many stars continue to do — he bought a colossal mansion in Benedict Canyon for $175,000, which is $2.8 million in today's dollars. He named it "Falcon Lair" in honor of his starring role in the movie "The Hooded Falcon."

Valentino made the home his own in many more ways besides the name. Valentino outfitted the property with Italian gardens and trees to pay homage to his home country of Italy and even installed horse stables. He then filled the estate with nostalgic items he had found throughout his travels. However, when Valentino died when he was just 31, the façade figuratively collapsed. It turned out he had much debt to repay, and the home and land were sold to repay it (via Robb Report). Through the years, his famed Falcon Lair then made its way through several owners, up until early 2021, when it sold for $15 million.

Audrey Hepburn's former Holmby Hills mansion that still has Old Hollywood glamour

Take one look at this glammed-up Holmby Hills mansion, equipped with a white façade, mirrored walls, and a wow-worthy staircase, and it's not surprising that Old Hollywood celebrities like Mia Farrow and Audrey Hepburn once lived here. Per Curbed, the home was designed by Paul Williams in 1938. It sits on an acre of land and includes a tennis court, a pool, a home for visitors, and another standalone building, Thankfully, even after so many years, the historic mansion still stands with much of its former glory still intact.

When it hit the market in 2017 for a little under $14 million, it still included velvet green carpet along the staircase, sparkling crystal chandeliers, walls of windows, and roaring fireplaces. Its six bedrooms and four bathrooms sit tucked behind wrought iron gates surrounded by brick and lush greenery. Inside the red-shuttered home, residents enjoy a library with built-in bookcases and fine finishings, a dining room almost completely surrounded by glass, and a grand entrance welcoming visitors to the mirrored walls and staircase.

The Warner Estate, which has been used by television studios and politicians alike

Warner may be a common name, but not many Warners could afford what the co-founder of Warner Brothers could — a Tudor Revival-style estate with French Country details all encompassed in a 13,000 square foot abode with seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms. Unsurprisingly, the price matches the layout. Dirt reported that the Warner Estate was listed for sale in 2016 for a whopping $40 million. However, being the former home of Harry Warner is just a smidgen of the home's past. It was listed by the president of television network Cinémoi, and it also made appearances in the FX show "The People v. O.J. Simpson" as O.J. Simpson's house. Plus, it's been used by prominent politicians like Al Gore and Hilary Clinton as a location for fundraisers and other events.

But at the heart of it all, the Warner Estate is simply a beautiful place to live. The former owner pumped $12 million into a full-scale renovation that paid homage to the Warner Estate's history while taking inspiration and pieces from buildings all over the world (via Los Angeles Times). Towering trees surround its brick façade. Inside, residents enjoy an office outlined with built-in dark wood bookshelves, a living room with exposed beams, and an easy flow into the kitchen.

The Harold Lloyd Estate, which was the most expensive home a star lived in

Harold Lloyd, an actor and comedian of the 1920s, grew up in an unstable home far away from the lights of Hollywood in Nebraska. So, when he earned enough to splurge on his dream home — a 16-acre estate that he dubbed Greenacres and built for $2 million — he loved it with all of his heart. According to Harold Lloyd's website, Greenacres had a whopping 44 rooms within 32,000 square feet, but only Lloyd and his wife lived there. They enjoyed home features like seven gardens, 12 fountains, an area for playing tennis, a 50-foot living room, 26 bathrooms, and an immense swimming pool. It was actually the priciest home any star lived in during the 1920s, said The Legendary Estates of Beverly Hills.

However, Lloyd couldn't care for his home once he grew older, and the once-grand estate fell into disrepair. When he died in 1971, he left Greenacres to the public to be used as a museum, but even that was short-lived. Without adequate funding, the museum quickly went out of business. Then, just four years later, things got even worse. A developer purchased the property for just $1.6 million. Luckily, the National Register of Historic Places eventually swooped in and preserved the home in 1984, marking it a national landmark.

Enchanted Hill, which had multiple owners who died before enjoying the property

For a few years, Hollywood couple Frances Marion, a screenwriter, and Fred Thomson, an actor in silent movies, lived a blissful marital life in Beverly Crest after tying the knot in 1919. According to the Los Angeles Times, just a year after their wedding, they paid Wallace Neff, an architect to the stars, to create their dream home. What resulted was a Spanish Colonial Revival-style home that was dubbed Enchanted Hill by neighbor Greta Garbo (via The Wall Street Journal). However, they wouldn't have much time to enjoy Enchanted Hill. Not many years after Thomson initially bought the first few acres of land for just $1,600, he died of tetanus, and Marion sold the home in search of a new beginning (via "Wallace Neff: Master Architects of Southern California 1920-1940").

Tragedy only continued with later owner Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft. After buying Enchanted Hill in 1997 for $20 million, Allen demolished the mansion and planned to create another in its place, along with a winery and horse stables. But when he died of cancer in 2018, his trust was forced to put the property up for sale, which eventually sold it for $65 million — just a fraction of the $150 million it was originally listed for.

The Buster Keaton Estate, a Beverly Hills Italian-style mansion

Actor, comedian, and filmmaker Buster Keaton did well during his silent movie heyday, and that showed with his 20-room Spanish-style home just steps away from the Beverly Hills Hotel. Per The Legendary Estates of Beverly Hills, Keaton paid architect Gene Verge to design the residence, which featured touches like a stone balcony on the second story; towering ceilings; a striking fountain surrounded by colorful florals in the front yard; and a grand entrance marked by a massive wood door adorned with wrought iron and arched glass.

The home had lots of other celebrity-worthy features, too. Those included an entertainment room with music, a bar, and pool and card tables, which could also be easily switched into a private theater. Live-in servants had their own living spaces near the kitchen. Plus, both Keaton and his wife, who mostly lived separate lives, each had their own wings. Keaton had his own entrance, and his wife had a room just for all of her clothes. When Keaton's funds ran out and he and his wife divorced, it was time to bid what was once the Buster Keaton Estate goodbye. It was passed onto various owners, who later subdivided and sold the property. Luckily, the owners who purchased it in 2002 made substantial renovations and brought it back to its original splendor.

The Spanish-style abode in Brentwood where Marilyn Monroe died

Take one look at 12305 Fifth Helena Drive, a Spanish-style home in Brentwood, and it's not hard to imagine sweet and stunning film icon Marilyn Monroe living there. Curbed reported that Monroe loved it so much that it was actually the only house she ever bought. However, there's a dark side to it, too — this is where Monroe died by suicide just four months after purchasing the house (via History).

These days, though, the home has much of the ambiance we're sure Monroe enjoyed prior to her 1962 passing. With more than 23,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space that includes a pool, a home for visitors, and plenty of foliage, it's a Los Angeles abode that has both charm and history. Not surprisingly, then, the home sold over-ask in 2017 for $7.25 million by an anonymous buyer. The ranch-style place itself dates back to 1929 and features homey tiled floors and exposed wood beams — touches that Monroe herself chose. It has modern elements, too, like a renovated kitchen. She paid $77,500 for it, said Architectural Digest, and was eager to enjoy the house's privacy and escape from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Unfortunately, those dreams never came to fruition.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Jayne Mansfield's Pink Palace, which was razed in 2002

Although many Old Hollywood estates have been razed over the years due to too much neglect or a greedy developer's want for an empty lot, Jayne Mansfield's "Pink Palace" is perhaps the one we miss the most. That's because the 40-room home at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Carolwood Drive, which dated back nearly a century, was quite literally a pink palace. Per Curbed, Mansfield, an actor and sex symbol of the time, paid $76,000 for her abode in 1957.

But it didn't look much like a pink palace then — she spent tons of time and money making it her own, including painting it pink and installing pink carpet, a pink bathtub, and even a fountain filled with pink champagne. It also had many other girly touches, like a heart-shaped pool, fireplace, and even driveway. The walls of an entertainment room were entirely lined with red-tufted leather. Mansfield lived here until she died just a decade later, and the Pink Palace was succeeded by other California big-names like Ringo Starr, Mama Cass Elliot, and Engelbert Humperdinck. That all came to an end with a later owner, Roland Arnall. He bought the Pink Palace for $30 million in 2002 to demolish it and increase the footprint of his neighboring estate, dubbed Owlwood.

Pickfair, once the 'Buckingham Palace of Hollywood,' which was demolished in 1990

The Pink Palace isn't the only Old Hollywood home that is now just a memory. The same fate befell Pickfair, named in honor of its owners, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. The celebrity couple built the home in 1920, and it quickly became the talk of the town. It was even called "the Buckingham Palace of Hollywood" by neighbors and local gossips. Fittingly, it also saw lots of A-list visitors, like Rudolph Valentino, Gloria Swanson, Charlie Chaplin, Albert Einstein, Amelia Earhart, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Henry Ford.

Nearly a decade after Pickford died in 1979, her third husband, actor Buddy Rogers, decided it was time to bid goodbye to his late wife's home of so many years. He sold it to actor Pia Zadora, who planned to renovate it, for nearly $7 million. Unfortunately, those plans didn't come to fruition. Pickfair had too many issues to make it worth saving for Zadora, and in 1990, she demolished the mansion on 2.7 acres. However, one thing remained of Pickfair — the former mansion's living room made its way into the new house. Zadora enjoyed it for about five years, when she sold the mansion to a businessman for more than $17 million, continued Dirt. Just three years later, the businessman put it up for sale for a whopping $60 million.

The Garden of Alla, a Russian film star's decadent mansion turned hotel

Nearly 120 years ago, real estate developer William H. Hay set upon a decade-long journey to build a stunning mansion at 8150 Sunset Boulevard, located in today's West Hollywood. Town & Country said that once it was finished in 1918, Alla Nazimova, a Russian-American actor, came across the home and rented it before buying it. Once the deed was hers, she gave it a fitting name, too — the Garden of Alla, partly inspired by the lush garden surrounding the home. Nazimova wanted everyone to enjoy her new house just as she did, so she hosted huge parties at the property.

That was until 1921, when her film work and funds ran dry. To make ends meet, Nazimova turned the Garden of Alla into a hotel. The hotel was trendy, but not enough to save Nazimova's pockets. She sold the hotel back to Hay, who renamed it the Garden of Allah. It functioned as such for several more years, until it ran into an all-too-common fate. In 1959, it was razed to make way for a bank. At least it had quite the sendoff — hundreds of admirers showed up in 1920s garb to bid the Garden of Alla (or Allah) goodbye.

The Louis B. Mayer Estate, razed to make way for an 18th-century-inspired French palace

Although many Hollywood A-listers owned one particular 10,000-square-foot mansion in Old Bel-Air, the estate came to be known for just one — Louis B. Mayer, a founder of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, otherwise known as MGM Studios. According to the Legendary Estates of Beverly Hills, Mayer bought the home on St. Cloud Road in 1949. He lived here until he died less than a decade later. Then, more owners jumped on the mansion's merry-go-round and called it their home for several years, until the work needed to renovate it became too much to bear. The Louis B. Mayer Estate became just a pile of rubble in the 1980s.

However, in its place, new owners began their own architectural creations. They got to work on a colossal 35,000 square foot home and offloaded the project to another, who finally finished it and named it La Belle Vie, which means "the good life" in French. With a limestone façade, it was reminiscent of palaces dating back to the 18th century with all of its grandeur. It included amazing touches like a staircase entirely constructed of white marble, a living room with two floors, and formal gardens.