Pacific Coast Architecture Database (PCAD)

Structures

Selznick, David O., House, Beverly Hills, CA

ID: 2330
Construction Date: Start Date: 1933
End Date: 1934
Notes: The Selznick House was located in the hilly and most exclusive section of Beverly Hills, north of Sunset Boulevard, at the intersection of Summit Drive and Cove Way. A grand auto courtyard stood to the north of the house, an L-shaped, two-floor mansion. Selznick provided director George Cukor (1899-1983) his first solo directing job at R-K-O for the film, What Price Hollywood? (1932). He and Cukor developed a strong friendship during the 1930s, and Cukor followed Selznick to M-G-M in 1933, directing two films for his autonomous production unit (Dinner at Eight [1933] and David Copperfield [1935]) and two--Romeo and Juliet (1936) and Camille (1936)--for that of Irving Thalberg (1899-1936). Cukor and Selznick also shared the services of the same architect, Roland E. Coate, Sr., who worked for both them on their Beverly Hills houses in the 1930s.
Alteration Note: The house underwent significant alterations in 1950.
Building History: Architect Roland E. Coate, Sr., (1890-1958) developed a prestigious practice in the 1930s, attracting some of Hollywood's elite producers and directors as clients. He designed this Hollywood Regency Style residence for studio executive and producer David O. Selznick (1902-1965). Selznick's father, Lewis Selznick (1870-1933), emigrated from Kiev, Ukraine, in 1888, ending up in Pittsburgh, where he became a successful retail jeweler; he also had an interest in the new medium of motion pictures, and became head of the NJ-based World Film Company in 1914. In 1920, Lewis Selznick moved his operations to Los Angeles, where he became associated with the Hungarian-born fur retailer/movie maker Adolph Zukor (1873–1976) and production company owner Jesse L. Lasky (1880–1958). David attended Columbia University, worked briefly for his father, and then, using family contacts in the film industry, got a position at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio. Selznick proved to be a cerebral and restless executive, talented at picking and producing profitable scripts. He worked at M-G-M for several years, before moving to Paramount Pictures in 1928. He wed in 1930 film mogul Louis B. Mayer's daughter, Irene (1907–1990), a move that bolstered his career during the 1930s; he remained married to her for 15 years before they separated. (Not surprisingly, he took a hiatus from producing in Hollywood for three years after his 1945 separation.) A year after his marriage, he switched to the then minor Hollywood studio, R-K-O, as its Vice-President in Charge of Production. At R-K-O, he stayed only two years, producing a string of hits, culminating with the monstrous King Kong (1933), before returning to M-G-M in 1933, remaining again for only two years. During this 1933-1935 span, his father-in-law set him up as the head of an autonomous M-G-M production company. He took this opportunity to produce popular film versions of two Dickens novels--David Copperfield (1935) and A Tale of Two Cities (1935)-- and one by Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1935). In 1935, he managed to form Selznick International Pictures, a studio that would produce some of the late 1930s' most notable releases, including the blockbusters, A Star Is Born (1937), Gone with the Wind (1939) and Rebecca (1940). David and Irene Selznick resided in the spacious residence, until their separation. The Los Angeles Times described it: "The traditional house has a two-story entry, a formal living room, a walk-in bar in the family room, library and dining room fireplaces, a billiards room, an office and two maids' quarters." There has been some inconsistency in describing the mansion; the Times stated "Seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms sit in 12,600 square feet. More than three-quarters of an acre of manicured grounds include a swimming pool." See Lauren Beale, Beverly Hills home formerly owned by David Selznick, among other celebrities, goes on the market," <http://articles.latimes.com/2010/mar/09/home/la-hm-hotropselznick-20100309> Accessed 10/24/2014.) The County of Los Angeles Assessor, however, estimated in 2014 that the mansion had 4 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms, and contained 10,656 square feet. In 2014, the Assessor placed values of $4,156,752 (land) and $2,041,437 (improvements); the house was offered for sale for $15.9 million in 2010. After the Selznicks, a parade of celebrities occupied the house including petroleum tycoon Edward L. Doheny, singer Sammy Davis Jr., actor George Hamilton, department store heir/media bilionaire Ted Field, Castle & Cooke owner David Murdock and Tonight Show personality, Ed McMahon.
Assessor Number: City of Los Angeles Assessors Parcel Number 4348011015
Structure Size: Total Square Feet: 10656
Number of Floors: 2
Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses
Locations: Structure:
1050 Summit Drive
Beverly Hills, CA
USA
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Portrait of David O. Selznick, c. 1923; from Wikimedia Commons