Monday, March 3, 2008

Al Jolson's Encino Estate

In 1935, celeb gossip columnist Read Kendall of the Los Angeles Times reported that Al Jolson was abandoning New York to become a gentleman farmer in Encino, raising cows, chickens, walnuts, and oranges on a five-acre plot of land.

Jolson remodeled the place and enlarged the house before he and wife Ruby Keeler moved in. They adopted a baby boy, and since Jolson practiced for his musicals and movies, a soundproof room was added so that the infant could sleep. Over the next year, great danes were added to the mix, sleeping outside the child's window (this was the era of the Lindbergh kidnapping).

The second picture (from the Los Angeles Public Library's online collection) was taken at the dedication of Encino's post office in 1938--a year before Keeler left and divorced Jolson. That's him right in the center, holding a white hat. Don Amechi and Edward Everett Horton are also in the photo.

So. . . Al's career flopped, the marriage failed, and Junior stopped using the Jolson name as he grew up. But for several years, Al Jolson served as honorary mayor of Encino and President of its Chamber of Commerce. He remarried, and lived in the house until his death in 1950.

The house maintained its movie pedigree as well. It's back on the market at $9.79 million. Coldwell Banker of Encino lists the now-2 acre estate with 9 bedrooms, and BigTimeListings gives its lineage: the current owner bought it two years ago from Charlie Sheen's trust, who bought it from Katey Sagal, who bought it from Kirstie Alley in 1997. If you ever wanted to live in a place with star power, this must be it.

2 comments:

soapers said...

Does anyone know if Al Jolsons house still exists and the address?

malcolm.mclean@mac.com

Draiman for Mayor of Los Angeles said...

Mass transit expansion for greater Los Angeles – revisited
With the escalating cost of energy – it is time to re-visit expanding the transit system.
Put all politics aside and look at a short term goals and long term goals.
Expanding the mass transit system in the Los Angeles Metro Area is critical to the future vitality of its economy; it will save energy reduce pollution, save lives and increase health by reducing stress.
It is time to forgo ego and consider the good of the public.
A transit system utilizing cable car or light rail over the freeways or any other types of mass transit in the Los Angeles Metro area is a reasonable solution to decrease the congestion on the roads, save energy, reduce pollution, improve air quality, save money, save lives and improve our health.
Cost of energy and vehicles and maintenance has climbed dramatically in the past 10 years, warranting this issue to re-examine the expansion of mass transit in the Greater Los Angeles Area. The longer we wait, the greater the cost and the more imperative this project becomes.
In many areas of the country there are transit stations and parking lots, which provide parking for the transit customers.
The costs should not be astronomical. (Based on current energy costs, and future increases). There is no need to acquire large parcels of property; with some modification such system can be implemented and operational within the next decade.
Another option is building a transportation system over the Los Angeles River – From the San Fernando Valley to Orange County.
YJay Draiman, Northridge, CA 91324