Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hollywood at Home: Harold Lloyd's Greenacres Estate

For anyone who has been following my Hollywood at Home series you've read my previous posts on Valentino's Falcon Lair, Mary and Doug's Pickfair estate and then Theda Bara's Tudor style home.  As wonderful and iconic as those homes were, there's another estate that shaped the early Los Angeles landscape from high atop Beverly Hills with a perfect view of Benedict Canyon. The lavish home that the talented comedian/producer, Harold Lloyd would hold court with his family until his death in 1971. That grand estate that covered over 22 acres was known as Greenacres. 

(This post will also feature Lloyd's first Beverly Hills home and his beach house in Santa Monica)


During the early 1910s, Harold Lloyd was working steadily at Hal Roach studios where he came in as a partner with Roach. He found instant fame and with his popularity on the rise and his box office success affording him a lavish lifestyle like so many other actors during that time, he had the world within his grasp.  All he needed was a leading lady to share his life with.

Although he dated his leading lady. Bebe Daniels during the 1910s she was replaced as his leading lady on screen as well as off by the end of 1918. Hal Roach worked quickly to find Lloyd a new muse for his on screen antics and that muse would be the comedic actress. Mildred Davis. They hit it off immediately and by 1922 they were headed for matrimony.

Harold Lloyd with his leading lady, Mildred Harris on set during the early 1920s.

Harold and Mildred would wed in 1923 with Mildred deciding she would retire from motion pictures to focus on her husband, raising a family full time. The only thing left to decide would be where to live.  After all, by now, Lloyd was making over a million dollars a year so he could afford to live in the lifestyle that other successful actors were living. 

Not far from Charlie Chaplin's Breakaway house that sat atop a hill just down the canyon from Doug and Mary's magnificent Pickfair, and just a mile from Tom Mix and Thomas Ince's Spanish style estates, there was a large parcel of land up for sale. (I'll be featuring the Ince, Mix and Chaplin's many estates at a later date)

For a bit of reference on location you can see in this recent aerial photo just how close the stars of the 20s and 30s lived to one another. I've written in black the Pickfair estate to the upper left (of course most of the land that surrounded it has been sold off to build other homes). Then Charlie Chaplin's Breakaway house is highlighted to the right then center. Just down the drive from it is David O'Selznick's home, hidden by large tress and a sold concrete fence. The same home that Katharine Hepburn would later reside.

Newly married and looking for a large parcel of land to build his dream estate, Harold found the perfect location in the Benedict section of Beverly Hills. He purchased the 22 plus acres from P.E. Benedict who had owned the land for over sixty years. The sale was final in 1925 but it would take close to 4 years to complete the Mediterranean style estate and the magnificent landscaping, fountains, horse stables and guest houses. What Lloyd envisioned as paradise was quite the endeavor. (Mary Pickford must have sat in her upstairs study overlooking the construction and thinking "What is going on Harold?, WE are supposed to have the grandest estate on the west coast!")

With such a large undertaking to construct their dream home, Mildred and Harold needed digs while Greenacres was being completed so they purchased a very large, comfortable home in Beverly Hills.  Mildred was expecting their first child by 1924 so the large home was a perfect fit and in a gorgeous location. And of course they were surrounded by the movie community and aristocrats that had found their way to  Beverly Hills long before those pesky actors move in on them.

The first home of Harold and Mildred Lloyd featured in postcards during the early 20s. It's located at 502 South Irving Blvd, Los Angeles. (formerly Beverly Hills)

A recent photo of the home via Google Earth. I'm not crazy about the green and it's lost it's awnings. It does need some tlc.  But I adore this house. It sits on a large corner lot. Let's have a look around while we're here. 

A side view of the home and the back entrance. 

Another view. The place looks empty. Boy, would I love to live there, be able to restore it. I can only imagine the laughter in that house during the 3 years that the Lloyd's lived there. 

This is the garage that sits to the back of the home. Where Harold would have parked his fabulous cars during the early 20s.

Here's an aerial view of the corner lot with it's large home and garage. 

Harold enjoyed being behind the camera as much as he enjoyed being in front of it and throughout the years he developed a love for still photography. Here he takes home movies of wife, Mildred and their baby girl, Gloria in their yard on Irving Blvd.

As I mentioned, Harold and Mildred's first child, Gloria was born in 1924 while they were residing at the home on Irving Blvd. Harold was still churning out comedy after comedy then overseeing the construction at Greenacres in his off time. Mildred also had a large influence on the landscaping design, the flowers, shrubs and fountains that were being erected around the main house. As we'll get into, not one inch of that 15 acres set aside for landscaping was overlooked.  
I'm sure the couple drove the architect, Summer Spaulding mad then there's the landscaping firm of A.E. Green that were responsible for the numerous fountains, gardens, which included tropical forests, formal gardens, sunken gardens, terraced gardens, Mildred's rose gardens then the Italian gardens to match the homes architecture. Whew! We haven't even gotten to the horse stables, the fully functioning children's cottage, the guest houses, the canoe pond or the lavish estate pool and 9 hole golf course. 

An early aerial view of Greenacres, mid 1920s. Included are 15 foot fountains, a bowling green, a tennis court, the Olympic sized pool, a separate lawn for croquet, a 9 hole golf course, riding stables, walking gardens and paths, a working farm for produce and fruit, a large greenhouse, an outdoor theater and pavilion for dancing and a handball court. 

We move ahead to the end of 1928 and it's time to move to the newly completed and grand, Greenacres. Once completed it cost the Lloyd's over $2 mil to construct. It was the largest estate in California at the time and if the attached land hadn't been parceled off in pieces during the 80s it would still be.  

An early postcard of Greenacres with Harold posing near his fountains. The main house can be seen in the background. (You can see why it took close to 4 yrs to finish.)

We'll get into the parties and guests that frequented the estate a bit later but once the Lloyd's moved in they had a grand house warming party to show off their home to their peers in the movie community. A party that lasted from Friday evening into Monday. Harold spared no expensive on the guests with tables set up with food and drink, a dance floor that was erected on the lawn and several bands that would play continuously throughout the four day soirée. 

Harold's ready to play some golf on his private course. I just hope he finds his way out of the tall grass!

Just to give you an idea of just how grand the estate was (still is which you will see a bit later) the main house has 44 rooms at 45,000 sq feet. The Olympic sized pool was the largest constructed in CA at that time, measuring 50 x 150 foot. One of it's 'fun' features was the portal windows on the sides in which others could see guests swimming underwater from different positions around the pool. (They used to have a pool like that at a hotel in Vegas that we always wanted to stay out as kids but my dad wouldn't let us. He said it looked trashy. (the hotel, not the pool!)  

Greenacres had every amenity that anyone could think of during that era and it was a home for entertaining the Lloyd's many friends. A truly self contained sanctuary the Lloyd family would enjoy with their extended family for many years.  Some of the frequent guests for their parties were Doug and Mary, of course then the Jack Warner's, Mildred's close friends, Marion Davies and Colleen Moore, Hal Roach, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and the Talmadge girls, Gloria Swanson, Jack Hill and Thelma Todd to name just a few.

The newly constructed main house and surrounding gardens in late 1928. Located at 1225 Benedict Canyon Drive, Beverly Hills originally. The new address is 1740 Green Acres Drive, Beverly Hills.

Harold poses with his fab auto and chauffeur at the front facade of his beloved estate. (I wonder if the parrot is real or stuffed? Nice touch!)

Let's start at the front gates of Greenacres then move forward so we can get a feel for the place. Before you could enter the estate you were stopped at the very large main gates then buzzed in via intercom at the guard house. Once through the gates you would drive past lush gardens, tall sycamore trees, palm trees and water fountains on each side as you veered down the very long drive, passing several garages where Harold stored his cars and then the guest houses and the greenhouse before you arrived at the main house behind the motor court with it's hand laid brick pavers and Italian stucco facade. The original color of the stucco was pink with a red ceramic tile roof.

The original side gates today that were accessible via Benedict Canyon Rd and close to the Jack Warner estate. 

A recent view of the original front gates with what's left of the the pristine landscaping. (If you are on a driving tour of the area, the main entrance is rather hard to find.) Before the surrounding acres were auctioned off in the 80s you could find this winding road easily. Now you have to know your way around and back up the winding roads of Benedict Canyon Road to find it. The address that gets you to the front gates of the estate is Green Acres Drive. 

 If you looked forward from the main house which was constructed in an open square around a courtyard you would see two very long walk ways that were separated by never ending fountains. Built in tiers that flowed water year round. At the end of the walk another large fountain was erected. 

Lloyd posing at the end of the fountains. You can see the main courtyard and house in the background. This was a feature you couldn't see on your drive down to the house as it was hidden on either side by large sycamore trees, pictured here.

A closer view of the tiered fountains and main house. At one time the center ponds held expensive Koi fish. c. 1950s.

Before we go inside and have a look at the house I wanted to talk a bit more about the construction, grounds of Greenacres.  Harold spared no expense in building his estate as I've mentioned but he also thought long term unlike a lot of stars of the day who threw their mansions together using studio labor. Not the case with the Lloyd's. The very thick concrete foundation of the main house was reinforced with steel to withstand CA earthquakes. He also used fresh springs to collect water in large storage units so they could be self reliant. (It's obvious it took a lot of water just to keep the landscape green alone so that was a great idea and kudos to Harold for being green in the 20s.). Underground tunnels were also built that connected the main house to other buildings on the property. 

One of the many gardens and architectural features at Greenacres.

A back view of the estate and another garden.

As 1930 rolled around, the Lloyd family grew with the adoption of Marjorie "Peggy" in 1930 and then the birth of their son, Harold Clayton the following year. Harold was still working full time in comedies and as of 1924 he was in control of what he starred in, produced, having started his own production company. Mildred kept busy with the children and the day to day running of the house. Of course since it was more like a mini city than a home she had plenty of help. They had 3 full time housekeepers, 16 full time gardeners, 2 butlers, 2 chauffeurs, 2 governesses, and 3 personal secretaries. Harold had his own personal assistant, Roy Brooks who took care of his day to day business, errands. He would reside at Greenacres for close to 40 years.

Harold and his personal assistant, Roy Brooks play table tennis at Greenacres. (How one accomplishes that atop yucca plants I'll never know!)

Harold with his son, Harold Jr. near their 8,000 sq ft. greenhouse and in front of  their vegetable garden. 

When building the house the Lloyd's also built stables that contained horses, sheep and goats throughout the years then once the children were toddlers it was time to erect a cottage for them so they could have their own little house to play in. It had working water and electricity, a full functioning kitchen as well as the finest of furnishings in miniature of course.

When Harold wasn't playing with the children he found time to play golf which he was very fond of. I mentioned previously that studio head, Jack Warner's estate backed up to Harold's. Warner also had a 9 hole golf course on his estate that conveniently faced Harold's.  Many weekends they would hop over their back fences to play 18 holes. Of course this grew tedious so they eventually combined their efforts to build a connecting path and gate. 

The children's playhouse with all of it's immensities. 

The Lloyd children getting piggy back rides from their dad in front of their playhouse. c. 1930s.

The horse stables on the grounds.

Now that we've had a look around the grounds let's talk about the main house. It had 6 bedrooms suites, a master suite, a sunken living room, 26 bathrooms, vaulted, heavy beam ceilings, a spiral staircase, a separate photography room, a billiard room, two formal dining rooms, a formal sitting room, a music room with it's 80 ft pipe organ and grand piano, then a very large chefs kitchen. The main house had a total of 44 rooms so I'm sure I've left out a few here. 

One of the beautifully decorated hallways that led into the formal dining room and music room. The Lloyd's had all floor tiles and oriental rugs hand made or imported. The draperies that covered every large window were made of the finest silk. Not one piece of furniture was purchased from local department stores but either custom made or hand chosen from auctions all over the world.

One of many sitting rooms that led out into the rose garden. Later this would become "The Christmas Tree Room" but more on that a bit later. (These furnishings and wall finishings are exactly how they would be seen when the estate would come up for auction many years later.)

The formal living room with it's hand painted, imported ceiling tiles and oriental rugs. c. early 1930s.

By the end of the 1930s movie audiences had moved on from Lloyd's style of comedy and with that he sold off his production company and went back to starring in front of the cameras when he could get roles. His production company had also started losing money hand over fist so it was time to cut his losses.

If he was worried about money during this time it didn't show though as he continued to maintain his estate and refurbish it as needed. The weekend parties with dancing and bands continued with the finest meals served to the Lloyd's frequent guests.  And like Mary and Doug Fairbanks, they continued to have regular weekend gatherings at Greenacres with a guest list of about 40 people. Guests would stay throughout the weekend, either lounging around the pool or playing croquette, or watching films in the screening room on the second floor. It should be noted that Harold made $15.7 during the previous decade. 

Harold Lloyd hangs out with his close friends and neighbors, Charlie Chaplin and Doug Fairbanks.

The Lloyd's pose at Greenacres during the 1930s.

During the 1940s. Lloyd produced a few films under RKO Studios but by the end of the 40s he was ready to retire and dedicate his time to his children and his photography.  He would go on to write a couple of books that contained his photographs, using several popular stars during the 1950s. 

Lloyd had always been proud of his cinematic work and the characters that he developed, became known for. He was also very protective of his silent films that he kept in a specially built vault in his home. Unfortunately all but a handful were destroyed in a tragic fire at Greenacres during the mid 40s. A fire that almost cost him his life. He received burns while trying to salvage his precious collection of his life's work. Minimal damage was done to the interiors of the house. 

The Lloyd family poses near the main steps to the house.

The Lloyd family poses on their heavy oak staircase during the 1940s. The estate also had two elevators. One for the staff and one for guests, the residents.

Harold poses in front of one of his many fireplaces. c 1940s.

With Harold now home full time things kept running smoothly and everyone was getting a long just fine at Greenacres. There was a full time operator that ran actual switchboards at the estate so nobody had to answer any phones. The grounds were kept perfectly and the 28 ft tall fountain near the main courtyard that lit up every night at 8:00 pm was running off of that wonderful spring water. The children were growing up and starting to bring their own friends home to swim in the pool, play tennis or watch their favorite movies in the screening room. 

The formal dining room with the Lloyd family crest above the fireplace.

Looking out towards the gazebo and the tennis court behind it. The rose gardens to each side. Beautiful views from every window.

During the 50s, Harold spent a lot of his free time doing charity work and he became very involved with the Shriners as well as the Freemasons. Of course he was asked to appear on many of the popular television shows during that time. I think we've all seen his wonderful appearances on "What's My Line" and "This Is Your Life".  Mildred kept busy as a socialite and host to women's groups throughout the years.  

Harold and his daughter enjoy time in the pool. (Of course it has it's own fountain.) c. 30s.

Another of the gorgeous stone fountains that sits at the base of the walkways.

I had mentioned that Lloyd was interested in photography from early on and once he retired from films he was able to study microscopy, colors and 3D effects. He was so taken with 3D that he wrote two books with 3D photos. One of pictures he had taken through the years (several of actors at Greenacres) then a book of his nude photographs, featuring the pin up, Bettie Page.

One of Lloyd's photographs of Kim Novak posing on his lawn.

Another of Lloyd's photographs of Marilyn Monroe by his pool.

Monroe poses next to Harold's motor court and garages at Greenacres.

Before we explore anymore of Greenacres and the Lloyd's later days there I wanted to mention that they also owned a very nice beach house in Santa Monica. I'll be doing a post later on about all of the early stars beach homes, and how very close they were to one another but for now I want to show you the Lloyd's beach house, where they spent many weekends with their children then later on their grandchildren.  

The Lloyd's beach house at it appears today. Located at 443 Palisades Beach Rd. Santa Monica.

Harold's Santa Monica neighbor was Marion Davies. At one time her very large beach estate went right up next to the Lloyd's home. The main house has now been bulldozed to make way for a private club although her original guest houses remain to the very left. (Lloyd's home is marked with 'HL".  

A closer aerial view.

Harold's beach house was not only next door to Marion Davies but to the left and a couple houses down from Jack Warner, Mae West, Irving Thalberg and Norma Shearer then Doug Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. During the late 20s and throughout the 30s this was celebrity row.

One of the photos that Lloyd took on the beach upon his retirement. Muscle Beach. (One of my readers actually lived in the apartments photographed here. Isn't that great?)

One thing that Harold and Mildred enjoyed was entertaining as I've mentioned but they also loved the holidays at Greenacres and especially Christmas. Harold loved buying live Christmas trees for every public room then he started collecting blown glass ornaments and it was all over. His collection grew and grew and eventually the family decided to dedicate a room for a massive tree that would stay up year round to showcase Harold's collection of ornaments.
Visitors to the estate found it odd at first but eventually it became a welcome fixture and a fun topic of conversation.   

Harold plays around his gigantic tree with grand daughter, Suzanne. c.50s.

Lloyd poses next to his Christmas tree in the 60s. By now his glass ornament collection had grown to over 8,000.

By the end of the 50s and a new decade approaching, the Lloyd's realized they needed to cut back on their staff in order to save money. Their monthly expenses were out of hand. Lloyd had made some smart investments with his fortune throughout the years but they realized they needed to tighten their belts. They would keep on a few gardeners out of necessity and a driver for Mildred to go to her society functions since she didn't drive. Of course housekeepers were kept on to insure the house stayed tidy. 

When the home started to fall into disrepair they fixed structural things but as far as the furnishings, they kept what they had since they really didn't care that all of their neighbors were redecorating every few years. If you visited Greenacres during that time you would most likely have noticed the tattered oriental rugs, the frayed draperies or the gold leaf peeling off of the walls. (Perhaps the Christmas tree was left up as a distraction!)

Lloyd poses next to his oriental furnishings and one of Mildred's Dresdon figurines. One thing that she collected and amassed over the years.

In the formal living room during the 60s with the dated furnishings that were once so grand.

After 46 years of marriage, Harold lost the love of his life, his companion, Mildred in 1969.  Although heartbroken he would remain on at Greenacres with his children and granddaughter until he too passed on in 1971.  They are buried side by side in a mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale.

The handsome couple after their marriage.

Harold's prized fountains and grounds as they appeared during the 50s.

The fate of Greenacres: 

Upon Harold's death he bequeathed the estate to "the benefit of the public at large" with the instructions that it be used as an educational facility and museum for research into the history of motion pictures in the United States. Sadly, that never came to fruition as the neighbors complained about buses and tours through their private neighborhood then there were legal issues and the cost of upkeep on the deteriorating estate. It was used for tours for a very short time then sold for auction in 1975.  

The front courtyard of the estate before it went up for auction. c. 1972

A side view of the home as it sat vacant. 

The fountains and overgrown landscaping in the early 70s.

The Benedict Canyon side of the estate. (vacant)

Looking towards the main courtyard and house. Overgrown and unkempt gardens.

While the estate auction had a very small turnout of mostly looky Lou's and reporters it did sell to Iranian businessman, Nasrollah Afshani for the very low $1.6 million. This included the 15 acres of land, the estate, all buildings and the entire contents of the home. It's hard to believe that it sold for less than what it cost Lloyd to build 50 years before. The only upside is that it wasn't bought by someone who tore it down.  The surrounding acres were sold off to build subdivisions but the main house and several buildings were restored to their former grandeur.  The grounds would be landscaped once again as well, although that would take some time. (All but 5 acres were sold off for $1.2 mil) 

Auction day in 1975.

The majority of people who spoke after touring the vacated home commented about how the furnishings were very dated, the house looked like it was a time capsule from the 1930s with nothing being updated since then.  Harold's clothing still hung in the closet and his 12 ft tall Christmas tree stood untouched with all of the ornaments where he had last placed them.  One reporter even remarked that it reminded her of the opening scene of "Sunset Boulevard" when Holden's character walked into Desmond's living room. A movie set right out of the 1930s.  (All very sad to hear. I guess it could be worse. There could have been a monkey funeral going on.)

An aerial view of the Harold Lloyd estate as it appeared recently via Google Earth.  Sitting like the icon it's always been overlooking Benedict Canyon.

The large courtyard fountain remains and the new pool. The original tennis court and the tiered fountains have been torn out while several of the original gardens remain. 

Aerial view looking north to south. A new tennis court sits behind a new, much smaller pool and pool house.  The 80 foot long canoe pond was on an acreage that was sold off then demolished.  (The larger pool sold with the land and it was demolished as well to make room for new homes)

Once the estate was participially restored and the rest of the land was parceled off, it was sold again with it's remaining 5 acres of land in 1979. It was sold again in 1986 to the heir to Marshall Fields Department Stores for $6.2 mil. They did extensive renovations to the property as well as adding the smaller pool, pool house and tennis court that exists today. Lloyd's one of a kind 80 ft pipe organ remains although it's now sealed off, out of view by newly constructed walls. This is the home where Barbara Streisand sang in the garden during a fund raiser for Bill Clinton and Al Gore in 1992.  (Harold loved music so I know he would have liked that and the fact that the home is being enjoyed, cared for.)

A view of the estate before it was completely restored.

Another view of the home before renovations. (Okay, it is looking a little "Sunset Boulevard" here!)

The estate sold yet again in 1993 to billionaire, Ron Burkle for $20 million. He would host another fund raiser at the estate in 1994 for Bill Clinton, this time with Natalie Cole performing.  The estate has also been used for filming locations. You may have recognized it in the film "Westworld" and "The Loved One".

One last view of Greenacres during it's heyday.

I hope I haven't left anything out. This mansion has quite the history and it still stands as one of the grandest celebrity homes, one that was filled with love and generosity. Harold Lloyd was quite the visionary and his impeccable taste and creativity will live on in this spectacular home as well as on celluloid. 

*If you do get the chance to drive by any of the three homes featured here, please keep in mind that they are private residences. 

Thanks for stopping by!
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56 comments:

  1. A great, great post. I'm a big fan of Harold Lloyd's movies, but I didn't know much of anything about his private life. Fascinating stuff!

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    1. MM,
      You were the one blogger I was thinking about when writing this. I knew I had to get it right. : )

      I know how much you like Harold so the fact that you discovered some new info from reading this makes me happy.

      Looking forward to what you have coming up next over at your place.
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  2. Greenacres sounds like more than an estate, it sounds like a home. I love the picture of Harold and Suzanne under the Christmas tree.

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    1. CW,
      I'm glad you enjoyed this look back at the Lloyd estate. Harold really did go above and beyond to make his guests feel welcome and his granddaughter, Suzanne lived there throughout her childhood and until his death. I learned so much in doing research on the home and about the Lloyd's.

      A home filled with so much laughter and love. (How fantastic that the Lloyd's were married over 40 yrs? What a feat for any era with celebs)
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  3. Happy Blog Birthday!
    Another great post, thank you! I love reading about the star's homes, I've always been fascinated by those grand old estates as they are so different from anything we have in the UK - our stately homes don't have such glamorous interiors nor do we have fabulous beach houses.

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    1. CMM,
      Thanks so much! I really do like writing this series. Like you, I adore the old Hollywood estates and I can't wait to start on the next one. (Of course I'll keep that a secret for now. :O )

      I couldn't believe how close all of the stars from the silent era as well as the studio heads and directors lived to one another on the beach. Those must have been some fantastic weekend parties. I can't wait to feature all of them.

      Thanks for your kind comments. Enjoy your weekend over in the gorgeous UK.
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  4. Green Acres was the place to be! Wonderful and well researched post, Page. I have always loved Harold's story. Thank you for bringing this part of it so vividly to life. Oh, and by the way, congrats on a well-deserved award!

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    1. Hi FlickChick!
      Funny you say that since I was singing the Green Acres theme song while typing Greenacres a zillion times while writing this. (At least it's a catchy tune!)

      I'm glad you enjoyed this and as I mentioned to Brian below I do enjoy this topic and I can't wait to get started on the next one. (Might be the John Barrymore, King Vidor estate)

      Thanks so much for the congrats regarding my award. The Todd profile was another one that I really enjoyed writing. And while doing research for locations it's what got me interested in doing this series.

      Have a great weekend!
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  5. Hi Page, I love stuff like this, and your extensive review of the Lloyd estate is fascinating, with before and after shots, the history ... absolutely loved it. Can you lead a tour of old Hollywood homes? I promise to sign up for it!

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    1. CFB,
      So glad you enjoyed this tour of the Lloyd estate. I really do enjoy putting in the research and writing on these homes. Their history is so fascinating.

      I wish I could pack up and head back to CA to start a tour service. I would call it My Love of Old Hollywood Tours. Ha Ha
      Classic star homes only with actual, updated addresses. Of course I would have to charge a lot since you would be my only customer going in. : )

      Not sure what I'll write about next but I'm really mad about King Vidor's behemoth that John Barrymore later owned, updated. The estate is huge and looks virtually untouched today. Barrymore just kept buying up land around it and building on the land. Stay tuned!

      Have a great weekend, Brian!
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    2. I've looked, but don't see a blog article here on the K. Vidor home up on Summitridge. Did you ever write one? That's been an interesting place through the yrs (as have been a lot of it's neighboring homes). Hopefully if you put it on the back burner, this will be a little jog to your memory to dust off your notes and photos of it. I was at "King's'" retirement ranch home near Templeton, Cali several times. That might have been one of the homes, he kept longer than the multitudes of others he had. Would love to read a blog from you on the Summitridge home.

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  6. Congratulations Page on your CMBA Award for your Thelma Todd posts - they were fabulous. But I really enjoy your tour of the stars homes - these are so informative and well-rounded. Please keep them coming!

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    1. Christian,
      Thank you so much. I am really proud of how the Thelma Todd piece turned out so winning was truly an honor.

      I've already got my next home scoped out for my next installment on this topic. Ha Ha These are such fun to do, getting to peak inside these wonderful estates so I do plan to keep this series going as long as you all enjoy them.

      Thanks for stopping by!
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    2. HI GUYS, I WAS TED FIELDS (CURRENT OWNER OF THE ESTATE) PERSONNAL CHAUFFEUR BETWEEN 1987-1989, I KNOW THIS PROPERTY INTIMATELY INSIDE AND OUT, IT TRULEY IS A WONDEROUS PLACE. PAUL J.

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    3. email me directly at @silentscreenfan@gmail.com
      I am anxious to hear from you.
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  7. Page, I needed to wait until the weekend to read this super complete post!
    I also wished I could put the state today as it was in its prime. At least the fountains and te gardens, my favorite part of the Greenacres! But why 26 bathrooms?
    I would have loved to work there, especially because of my love for Christmas!
    Congratulations first for you CMBA Award and then for this amazing post.
    And, oh, have you already put your name up for the A Letter to the stars Blogathon? More information here in my post: http://www.criticaretro.blogspot.com.br/2012/10/ha-coisas-que-merecem-ser-divulgadas.html
    Kisses!

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    1. Le,
      I just visited your blog but for some reason I can't find the banner for the Blogathon to put up here, get info on it. I'll check back using a different browser than Opera.

      I'm really glad you enjoyed this article on Greenacres. A really gorgeous and iconic home of our favorite era.

      I hope you're enjoying your weekend.
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    2. Oh, Page, the banners of Jimmy Stewart with the bunny and the other guy reading a letter are already in my post, the others are in this post made by one of the blogathon hostessess (does this world exist in English?):http://best-ofthepast.blogspot.com.br/2012/09/a-letter-to-stars-blogathon.html
      Kisses! And thanks for spreading the news about this event!

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  8. I've waited a long time for your photo essay on Greenacres, and was not disappointed. What a fabulous write-up. There's a nice documentary on Greenacres on the Harold Lloyd box set that came out several years ago. I've never seen a private residence that so resembled a movie set. Thanks for this wonderful post, Page.

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    1. Kevin,
      I owe you some credit for this one as you brought up Greenacres and motivated me to get on it. Ha Ha I'm so glad you did as it was really fun to research. I can see why you were so intrigued by it. Truly one that was a Hollywood icon but it's stood the test of time. (So grateful that the new owners have restored it)

      I really would like to see the documentary on this estate. Thanks for letting me know about it being included on the box set.

      I'm glad that you enjoyed this as I knew the pressure was on. : )
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  9. Blogger, movie fan, and Hollywood history researcher extraordinaire strikes again! Yet another fascinating and well-researched piece! Thanks so much for filling in the (many!) blanks in my knowledge about this estate. I knew it was big, but OMG, that place was garganutan! And BIG CONGRATS on your CMBA Award. Well deserved!

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    2. Martin,
      You are just too kind! Considering your resume with your books and your wonderful blog I know you're just being kind but all the same I am thrilled that you're still enjoying this series. It's been a lot of fun to write. Like you, I really enjoy researching this topic.

      Stay tuned! : )
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  10. Congratulations Page!!! on your CMBA Award for your Thelma Todd bio. Your tour of the stars homes, should also receive an award.. I can not wait for the next installment..

    Sorry, it has taken me so long to visit your page..
    We have my husbands parents in very poor health and trying to get things set up to make their life easier for them..

    and on the other hand... I'm a new Grandmother and try and see my Grandson as much as possible.

    I'm also working part time for my husband, as his new business has really taken off. My blog has taken a back seat for now..

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    1. Dawn,
      You have so much going on so I want to thank you for finding any time to visit here and read my long blog posts. You're a sweetheart AND a new grandmother. YEAH! Congratulations to you and on the new addition.

      So sorry to hear about your family members bad health. Hoping for the best.

      Lastly, thank you for the kind words on my Hollywood At Home series. Trust me that it would have been submitted this year but I couldn't find a category where it fit. Ha Ha
      I truly enjoyed writing about Thelma Todd and I was overwhelmed at how well it was received. It means a lot to be given an award for a serious article. Especially with so many stellar submissions, talented writers in our group.

      Have a great weekend!
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  11. Sorry to be so late, Page -- you've done a stellar job with the history of Greenacres (-- is the place to be, farm livin' is the life for me -- sorry, couldn't help it). My Lord those people were blessed ... and extravagant! Not just the Lloyds, but all of the film stars in that era. 26 bathrooms! That stood out for me because my parents and us 7 kids had 1 bathroom for a time. The Lloyds' first house would have been fine with me -- actually, the kids' house would overtop my apartment! Fascinating story about not just the house, but the Lloyds as well!

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    1. Hi Becks!
      Funny you brought up the bathrooms as I've noticed these old mansions had an abundance. I guess it was a sign of wealth. The more toilets the better.

      I'm very fond of the Lloyd's early home as well. It is very big. Shoot, I would be fine with the beach house. : ) The kids playhouse also had a bathroom that wasn't counted so to put you in a mood that would have been 27 . ha ha Spoiled kids!

      I hope you're having a great weekend. We need to catch up soon.
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  12. What a gorgeous home back in the day! I think if I had to, I could manage to live there. Thanks for always giving your readers their money's worth - you always seem to put so much work and care into each post.

    Also, great "Sunset Boulevard" reference!

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  13. Page, sorry it's taken me so long to catch up with your fabulous pictorial about Harold Lloyd and his amazing estate (been crazy-busy with deadlines and family occasions, including both a small and large Sweet Sixteen party for our daughter Siobhan!)! I must admit that I first learned of Greenacres (truly the place to be! :-)) when I first saw WESTWORLD with my older siblings. Great pictures and fascinating facts! By the way, my hubby Vinnie owns Lloyd's nude pinup book, 3-D glasses and all! :-) Swell post, Page, as always!

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    1. Hiya, Dorian!
      I can certainly relate to finding free time. I've got to visit your blog and others now that I have some free time today to focus.

      I'm glad you enjoyed this installment of Hollywood At Home. Kev had mentioned Greenacres a few months ago so it peaked my interest and motivated me to get it done.

      I'm jealous of Vinnie that he has Lloyds nudes WITH the glasses! I have the other 3D book but it didn't come with the glasses. : (

      See you over at your place soon!
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  14. The picture on the beach with the acrobats was taken at Muscle Beach, not behind Harold's beach house. I lived in the apartment building in the picture, that's how I know. Thanks for the memories.

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    1. Thanks so much for adding the info. How wonderful that you once lived at this location. And what fabulous views!
      I hope you'll come back again.
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  15. A movie was filmed at Greenacres in 1975, called "Death at Love House". It stars Robert Wagner and Kate Jackson, and produced by Aaron Spelling. Great views of the interiors and the gardens and the cascades. You can watch it on Youtube.

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    1. Mike,
      Thanks so much for the added info. I'll be sure and check the movie out. It's great to get a different view of Greenacres even if it's not of it's original glory and opulence.
      Thanks for stopping by and please return. I've got several Hollywood Homes that I'll be featuring.
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  16. I think Harold LLoyd was a great dad. He always seemed to embrace the "father" role with as much enthusiasm as he did his movie character. The older, green colored home is not in a very nice area. Sadly, the surroundings have turned that beautiful mansion into a home that is hardly worth restoring to its finest potential.

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    1. Hi Kim!
      So sorry I missed your comment. I love writing about these old celeb homes and it's quite fun to read comments from those who have actually seen the houses featured. I would have guessed that Lloyd's big green eyesore was in a nice area. The homes are certainly grander than anything I can afford. ha ha

      If you get by, please take better photos and let me know. I would love to include them here for my readers.

      I do hope you'll come back often and contribute to the conversation. : )
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  17. Wanted to say what a great blog. Was looking for a book on old Hollywood homes and came across your blog. Very informative - you should write a book! The pictures really make it something special. Thanks for all the research and the effort that you've put in.
    Belinda

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    1. Belinda,
      I'm sorry it took so long to get to your comment. Things have been hectic with the holidays and work.

      I'm so glad you enjoyed this piece on Greenacres. I do have a few in my Hollywood at Home series that you might enjoy like Pickfair, Falcon Lair and then the Thelma Todd piece and Theda Bara's wonderful Tudor home. (All in the archives)

      I do hope you'll return often and thank you for the very kind comments.
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  18. My friends uncle bought the place in the 70's. I was there at the time and viewed the house. From another era, for sure. I remember the tiles mosaic bathrooms and the ornateness of them. Time marches on....

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    1. Thanks for sharing your experience from Greenacres. I'm thrilled that so many of my readers have had personal experiences there.
      Happen to have taken any photos? ha ha
      Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more on my Hollywood at Home series.
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  19. Did they ever invite WWII soliders to their home I remember a story my grandmother old me that my father was invited to dinner along with other soldiers and I found when she traveled to california she had pictures of my grandfather and herself at greenacres along with Loyds wife. She always spoke of how thick the carpet was in the home can you comment? Her visit was Febuary 1948.

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    1. Hello,
      This is the first I've heard of soldiers visiting Greenacres but I am certainly not surprised. The Lloyd's were very generous and they enjoyed opening their home for so many different occasions.
      Do you have the photos? It would be great to see them, your family with Mrs. Lloyd.
      I keep getting wonderful stories about people and their memories of Greenacres. It really is wonderful to get to read them.
      Thanks so much for sharing yours and please let me know if you want to share any photos with credit.
      All the best and stay tuned for more on my Hollywood at Home series!
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  20. Great detail here - I used to go there often in the early 1980's when it was owned by the BERNARD C. SOLOMAN who owned Everest Recording Group (bought for 3 million) - you might want to update the history a little please :-) Great to see this. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks so much for the added info on the ownership of this wonderful estate. I'll do my best to get it updated and please return again and check out the archives as I've mentioned below.

      All the best!
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  21. I have one correction to offer to your otherwise wonderful recap of the history of Green Acres. The Marion Davies beach house in Santa Monica is no longer a private club. It is now owned by the City of Santa Monica and is open to the public as the Annenberg Beach House. Here's the link: http://beachhouse.smgov.net/

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    1. Thanks so much for including the link! : ) I've been wanting more info the state of the club now as I'll be featuring Marion's beach house as well as Hearst Castle in my Hollywood at Home series.

      Please check out the archives on Falcon Lair and Thelma Todd, Theda Bara's homes as well and do add info you have it. That's always welcome.
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  22. wow! these all look pretty awesome..i love all the designs and the style of it..from interior to exterior, i do love it..

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  23. This page is as great as Green Acres was, thanks so much.

    The only thing I miss all over the internet, is a map wich shows the huge big original lot that Green Acres was as Harold build it. I would be eager to see a kind of overlay map on Google Earth, showing how big this lot once was.

    May be some one could do this.
    Thanks so much.

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  24. Mike,
    So glad you also got the Death at Love House connection. I had a vague recollection of watching that film as a child and sort it out last year. Marvellous shots of both interior and grounds, including that wonderful tiered waterfall which I am devastated to learn has since been "ripped out". I love that house, but as it was. Call me old fashioned but if that house was mine I wouldn't have changed a thing.

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    1. I have a brochure from when the estate was open to the public. There is a large photo of the original grounds (same photo as above but higher definition) and it is sad to realize that so much of it's gone. I feel the same as you, "I wouldn't have changed a thing".

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  25. http://ladailymirror.com/2013/11/11/mary-mallory-hollywood-heights-greenacres-is-the-place-to-be/
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai23aC0Uc50
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqAxzWNIqbs

    Interesting article about HL/Greenacres - Lorna Love Watlze (theme tune to) - Death at Love House.

    Enjoy! :)

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  26. Whoops! Where the h_ll did that "e" come from. ((typo)) ;)

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  27. Very interesting and detailed post! This house was also featured in the 70s/80s mystery show Hart to Hart in the episode "Color Jennifer Dead" (season 1), as the home of the episode's villain. The courtyard, entry, living room and hallway are all featured and look just like the photos above. I'm a fanatic of the show and love looking up places in LA that were used as filming locations, so was excited to see this post - thanks for all the research and information!

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  28. Very interesting and detailed post! This house was also featured in the 70s/80s mystery show Hart to Hart in the episode "Color Jennifer Dead" (season 1), as the home of the episode's villain. The courtyard, entry, living room and hallway are all featured and look just like the photos above. I'm a fanatic of the show and love looking up places in LA that were used as filming locations, so was excited to see this post.

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  29. Fascinating, and very well researched. Thanks!

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  30. Hi
    I read your post and i appreciate your efforts. The information that you share in the above article is very nice and useful .All the things that you share with people, are very nice. Thanks for this article.dave burke

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