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Hollywood's Historic Owlwood Mansion

One of Southern California’s historic celebrity mansions is for sale at $180 million and featured this week at

“Hollywood’s Historic Owlwood Mansion”


Los Angeles has Hollywood and the nearby Platinum Triangle where many extravagantly wealthy film moguls, top actors and industry CEOs call home. The Triangle contains three adjacent affluent neighborhoods that include Bel Air, Holmby Hills and Beverly Hills. Although there are other neighborhoods in Los Angeles equally as wealthy, the Platinum Triangle is closer to downtown Los Angeles and the studios and has easy access to the best restaurants and shopping such as Rodeo Drive.

Referred to as “The Crown Jewel of Holmby Hills,” one property stands out. The classic Tuscan-styled mansion was built in 1935 by Robert D. Farquhar for Florence and Charles Quinn. Florence was divorced from Arthur Letts who, in 1925, was the original owner of the 3,296 acres of land on which Holmby Hills is located and was the neighborhood’s first developer. After their divorce and Letts’ death, she married Charles Quinn from San Francisco and they returned to Holmby Hills where she commissioned the house to be built. Completed in 1936 on four acres, it was the largest and most luxurious house at the time, measuring in at 12,000 square feet at a cost of $150,000. Over the years it passed to more luminaries including 20th Century Fox co-founder Joseph Schenck, Superior Oil founder William Keck, film star Tony Curtis, songsters Sonny and Cher and Ghazi Aita who sold it to Ameriquest founder Roland Arnall, one of the major subprime mortgage disaster players.


Naturally with such a list of interesting owners, scandals and intrigue ran rampant. During the tenure of Joseph Schenck, described as a 70-year-old cigar-chomping type in the book “Unreal Estate” by Michael Gross, Marilyn Monroe was said to spend much time there and at only 21, it was fairly common knowledge that although Schenck was still married to his first wife, had an affair with him and ended up living in the guest house. Tony Curtis, who had been buying larger and larger houses as his success increased, said he would never have believed that he could own such a masterpiece home – he died six months later. Cher wanted the mansion as soon as she saw it when attending a party Curtis gave, but had to wait seven years before it was available. As soon as she and Sonny moved in, their relationship turned south and though they wanted to live separate lives, they were in the middle of their “Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour” and CBS said they would cancel the show if either moved out. So the couple lived in separate wings of the house for the duration even though Cher was actively involved with their guitar player. According to her memoirs, by the time they divorced she won the house in the settlement and had started a relationship with David Geffen. Not long afterward, she married Gregg Allman, whose friends snorted coke off her prized antique furniture; he ended up in rehab just months after the marriage. When Cher sold it to Ghazi Aita of Monaco, he surrounded himself with a virtual harem of models and actresses and ended up in Heidi Fleiss’ black book. Aita put it on the market in 1999 and four years later sold it to Arnall. During this evolution of ownership, acreage was added through the purchase of the properties on either side, expanding the original four acres to ten acres, making it the largest residential property in Holmby Hills. It was given the name Owlwood due to the number of owls inhabiting the many trees on the grounds.

New to the market, the infamous and beautiful Owlwood is a Zen-like escape from the bustling city below. The ambiance and tranquility both inside and out makes it the perfect place for a high-powered executive to quickly decompress at the end of a trying day. It is also ideal for entertaining family, friends and wowing international business interests. Taking its place among the world’s outstanding classic residences, the old-world craftsmanship, oak paneling, carved moldings, impressive grand foyer, spacious rooms and park-like grounds for strolling are universally appealing. The main residence includes stately public rooms, multiple fireplaces and chandeliers and has nine bedrooms and ten baths. Grounds contain two guard houses, a pool, pool house, fountains, fruit trees and restored formal gardens. The listing agent is Adam Rosenfeld of Mercer Vine in Los Angeles.

Owlwood estate, known as “The Crown Jewel of Holmby Hills” since it was completed in 1936, is now for sale, asking $180 million.

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.