Monday, December 22, 2008

$23.95 Million Estate...

...for that last-minute, hard-to-please sweetie, maybe?

11,000 square feet interior on 2.1 acres? Ten baths? We are impressed.

Cecil B. DeMille bought this house in 1916 for $27, 893, and began developing Laughlin Park around it. Charlie Chaplin was his next-door neighbor to the west. DeMille bought Chaplin's smaller house in the 1920s and built an arboretum connecting the two. Back then, the houses were at No. 4 and 5, Laughlin Park. Today, it's at 2000 DeMille Drive.

Here are pictures from 1923, when the house was a mere nine years old, and today: watch the chimney. Is it possible that the negative was reversed? Whatever, the house went on the market last March for $26.25 mil--wonder why they didn't just go for $27.893? Something poetic about that.

Anyway, the estate didn't sell and the price has now been lowered.

According to the Los Feliz Improvement Association, in 1930 (the Depression) the house was worth about $500,000.DeMille lived here until his death in 1959. Also according to them, in 1930 Los Feliz had only one-fourth the number of homes as it does now. The Association lists many of the silent-era movie star homes in Los Feliz, with pictures.

Here's an interesting bit of trivia. DeMille's greatest epic is The Ten Commandments, made in 1923. Lots of stories are told about it--people injured in chariot races, movie sets buried in the dunes, etc. Here's one I'd never heard before: DeMille made that movie based on the results of a contest.

From October 4 through November 1, 1922, the public was invited to submit ideas for DeMille's next big movie. Grand prize: $1000.

On November 19, 1922, the Los Angeles Times announced the winners of the contest. There were eight, and they'd all come up with the same brilliant idea: the Ten Commandments. DeMille awarded a grand to each, finished his current production (Adam's Rib), put the same writer (MacPhearson) to work on the Biblical epic, and started scouting locations.

BTW, about the estate: Sotheby's International is the realtor. Other sites about the home include CurbedLA, the Movieland Directory, The Real Estalker (with great pictures of the house now).


Anonymous said...

"Watch the chimney"? What, like a house can't have more than one fireplace? Especially a house this big??

Vickey Kall said...

Hmmm...good point. I stand corrected.

Book Mont said...

As to the chimney, the old, b & w picture is of the front of the house and new, color photo shows the back of the house.
That explains the switching-sides chimney.

Vickey Kall said...

Thank you! A simple explanation, often the best.