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The Getty House – Windsor Square

This notable house was made famous by the motion picture “Sunset Blvd,” in which William Holden’s body ends up face down in the swimming pool.

The home was originally built for $250,000 by US Mexican Consul William O. Jenkins, in 1924. It had 14 bedrooms and was built to last…having 13 inch concrete walls. The Jenkins family live in the home for only 1 year. It sat vacant for 10 years until it was sold to J.P. Getty in 1936.

Because the home sat vacant for such a long time, the locals took to calling the empty edifice, “The Phantom House.”

The home belonged to one of the many former Mrs. Gettys at the time of the 1950 filming of “Sunset Blvd” by Paramount Studios. As a condition for the rental of the property, Mrs. Getty requested that the studio build her a pool. Which they did.

After winning a lawsuit challenge by Windsor Square neighbors, Mrs. Getty successfully sold the site in 1957 to the developers of the white marble highrise office building now standing at the end of Crenshaw Blvd at Wilshire.

Another home also known as The Getty House is at 605 S. Irving Blvd. This 1920s Tutor revival mansion is the official home of the Mayor of Los Angeles, and it was given to the city by J.P. Getty’s son George.

Formally at 641 Irving Blvd.

Photo source: The Los Angeles Times

Drew de la Houssaye is an associate with THE BROKERAGE Real Estate Group Beverly Hills. Drew specializes in westside luxury real estate, renovations and probate sales. He blogs on Westside real estate, entertainment and local events. If you would like to contact him, he can be reached via twitter, facebook, LinkedIn or email.

One Response to “The Getty House – Windsor Square”

  1. DrBrodski says:

    What? No mention of the 1955 James Dean epic “Rebel Without A Cause?” It was just as synonymous with the Getty mansion as “Sunset Boulevard.” Nicholas Ray and Stewart Stern wanted a dark, dreamy old mansion in which to put the three main characters for a nocturnal interlude before the dramatic finale and the Getty mansion seemed ideal to them. Unfortunately, they could not contact J. Paul Getty because he was reported to be in Europe at the time and they began searching for alternative locations. They turned their thoughts to the mansion in the Vincente Minelli film “The Bad And The Beautiful.”

    Upon contacting Twentieth Century Fox, the Rebel crew learned they had fallen for a Hollywood illusion themselves. That mansion was created using the Lewis Estate gates and the house itself was a matte painting.
    On February 21 of 1955, Warner Bros finally heard back from Getty through his secretary. He agreed to lease his mansion for the sum of $250 per day and the dates they were given were April 16, 18, 20 and 21, 1955. They were told to finish no later than April 21. W.F. FitzGerald of the Warners location crew warned in a memo to director Nicholas Ray: “Any changes with these dates from their attitude will not be accepted by them.”

    As we know, demolition did not take place until 1957, but production of Rebel was a rushed affair because they anticipated demolition at any time. Having only recently won the lawsuit preventing local residents stopping demolition, Getty was keen to have the place destroyed before the locals had a chance to alternative legal avenues to block the demolition.
    Although Rebel Without A Cause was an instant and colossal smash hit, it would still be years before people became fascinated with film locations.
    That’s a pity, because having Hollywood heritage value could have given locals the kind of influential clout they needed to thwart Getty Oil once and for all. Instead, we are left with an unsightly office block at 641 N. Irving Boulevard in Los Angeles.

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Drew de la Houssaye
(310) 903-7866 ph
(310) 300-0635 fx
License #01518883
468 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210


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