Op-ed: More Famous Estates From Movie Legends
I had an earlier article about five famous homes in Hollywood, still standing as historical markers or sadly no more, and I got to thinking, there has to be some of this outside of LA, right? A-listers seek these estates in LA regardless of price and we plaster them on the web, something getting an inside peek of the place. But some seek homes outside of California, far off where the paparazzi can’t find them. The countryside and lush acres where a tall building can’t be seen is a tranquil place and perfect for privacy. For these next five homes, they fit the bill for such a desire.
In England, Tucked away from the main roads is a home dating back to the 17th century. Sold from wealthy owner to wealthy owner, the manor also served a stud farm, raising thoroughbred horses that could compete in the annual Derby. It has a dozen reception rooms, 29 bedrooms, and 10 bathrooms, plus countless acres of farmland, stable room, and cottages around the manor. While the stud farm was sold separately, the main house had a notable owner in 1978: Stanley Kubrick. With his wife, Christine, it would be his hub for everything related to his movies. Upon his death in 1999, Kubrick was buried on the ground under his favorite tree and his family continues to live there today managing his film collection and having private invitations to parties.
Manoir de Ban
On the banks of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, a neoclassical mansion was built in 1840 by Philippe Franel, Switzerland’s most famous architect in the mid-19th century. From above, there are views of the park within the estate, Lake Geneva itself, and the surrounding Alps that give Switzerland its identity. In 1952, the manor was sold to its most famous resident: Charlie Chaplin. After being exiled from the United States for political reasons, Chaplin and his wife spent the rest of their lives in Switzerland and renovated the home to hold all of his movies and archives and expand the living space. He rarely left the estate afterward but went back to America to accept an Honorary Oscar in 1972 and died in 1977. After the death of his wife, the family began a long-developing plan to open the home as a museum named Chaplin’s World, which finally opened in 2016. There, visitors can read more about his personal and family life, visit various exhibitions, and walk around the home where Chaplin once played with his young children.
Okay, this is not an estate far from the big cities, but these apartments on 360 West 11th Street in New York City’s Greenwich Village are eye-opening. It stands out because it’s pink and gets its name from Spanish lollipops known as “Chupa Chups,” which the creator based its nickname for his then-wife. It’s no surprise that the piece of artwork of this building came from an artist/film director, Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell And The Butterfly). Schnabel bought the ground floor studio home and constructed five floors on top Venetian style. In Schnabel’s words, “I built it because I wanted more space and because I thought I could sell two or three apartments to pay for that space, and I built it because I could.” Schnabel rents out the top floors for a hefty price and he himself lives on the first three floors with his family and studio, although everyone can bring their cars in because it has a garage. Do you want parking in NYC? Ta-da!
The castle that once stood in this spot dated back to the 13th-century, but the main home standing today was constructed in 1784. A long line of the Burke family dating back to England owned the property and the history itself is very fascinating with relationships to both royalty and politicians. But the house was falling into ruin and the costs for maintenance and repairs were not feasible, so the family sold it to writer/director John Huston. Close to his Irish heritage, Huston sought to live in Ireland and even renounce his American citizenship, and bought and renovated St. Clerans himself. He described it as one of the most beautiful places to live, but the rising costs of living there forced Huston to sell it in the late 60s. TV producer Merv Griffin bought the estate in the 1990s and owned it until his death; after being converted into a hotel for a short time, it is now back to a fully functioning private home.
Will Rogers State Historic Park
While in Los Angeles, the home of the former humorist in the early 20th century is not located in Beverly Hills, but in Pacific Palisades along the Santa Monica mountains. The house was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places (like Harold Lloyd’s Greenacres) in 1971 and was built in the 1920s. It includes 31 rooms, 11 bathrooms, a stable and corrals for cattle, a golf course, and a polo field. When it became a state park in 1944 following the death of Will Rodgers’ wife – he himself died in a plane crash in 1935 – the surrounding land was opened more with hiking trails to the Pacific Ocean and the mountains. The house, which has been extensively remodeled, features a museum on the life of Rodgers, going back to his childhood in Oklahoma. All 186 acres of this can be walked on today.
Follow me on Twitter: @brian_cine (Cine-A-Man)