One of Hollywood's Most Famous Estates Gets a Sequel

Philanthropist Nicolas Berggruen is restoring the iconic Beverly Hills home of Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst, which served as a haven for film stars and power brokers for many years.

Beverly Hills is accustomed to having its history obliterated. Residents of Southern California's most well-known zip code have grown accustomed to seeing elegant estates demolished, often to be replaced by boxy megamansions. 

This appeared to be a one-way trend until several recent buyers of 1920s-era homes reversed course, demonstrating that wealth and taste can coexist.

Marion Davies had been married to married publishing mogul Willian Randolph Hearst for 30 years when she purchased the Beverly Estate in 1946.

The point has always been elegance. The estate was built after Milton Getz, a co-founder of Union Bank, purchased eight acres behind the Beverly Hills Hotel in 1924. 

Commissioned Kaufmann, one of Southern California's premier residential architects at the time when the film industry was booming, to design a 20-room home that included a two-story library for the rare books Getz's wife Estelle collected.

Davies and her husband, the publisher William Randolph Hearst, had been married for nearly 30 years and spent the majority of their time at his beloved San Simeon castle.

They hired San Simeon architect Julia Morgan to oversee the construction of the gatehouse's guestrooms, and they imported European mantelpieces and doorways."

It wasn't just Davies and Hearst who enjoyed it. Joseph P. Kennedy had known the couple since the late 1920s, when he lived in Los Angeles and ran film studios.