As was only right, The Godfather premiered in New York City. On March 14th, 1972, Loew’s State Theatre on Broadway screened the film for the very first time. A week later — and almost fifty years ago to the day — the movie rolled and bowled over critics in Los Angeles — mere miles from the home of its star; Marlon Brando.
Brando had lived in Los Angeles for much of his professional life. He shot seminal films — from A Streetcar Named Desire and Last Tango In Paris to Apocalypse Now — while based on the Californian coast. And this Hollywood Hills property, built at 8142 Laurel View Drive, was one of his finest L.A. hideaways; a home fit for a don of the acting world.
The mid-century home sold last March for $4,150,000 — when the latest in a line of rarefied owners were handed the keys to Hollywood glamour. ‘The Laurel View Residence’, to give it its proper title, can be found nestled right in the heart of the City of Angels itself, poised just above Nichols Canyon and boasting 270-degree jetliner views of the ‘City of Angels’.
It’s the romantic, nostalgic stuff of old school Hollywood, with perma-blue skies and swaying palm trees by day — and the mesmerising bright lights of Los Angeles by night, stretching out from the Sunset Strip to Santa Monica.
But ‘The Laurel View Residence’ is more than just its views. For the architecturally savvy, the house is also an unrivalled treat; overlooking as it does such esteemed properties as Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘Storer Residence’, which dates back to 1923, and Charles Kyson’s idiosyncratic 1925 ‘De Witt House’.
Brando’s old bolthole came from similarly well-regarded stock. Designed in 1926 by renowned architect A.F. Leicht, it calmly exudes the relaxed quality of 1920s Hollywood — with a dash of Spanish colonial styling. It sits pretty on a footprint of 4,300 square feet, and doesn’t skimp on opulence. Expect dizzyingly vaulted ceilings, expansive tiled floors and a sweeping staircase to add that theatrical, performative flair.
And Brando’s presence is palpable throughout. If walls really do have ears, then this particular property could tell you a thing or two. Take the living room, for example. This is the room where Brando’s famous photograph with his first Oscar in 1955 was taken; a tantalising slice of Hollywood history for any real-estate-and-film fanatics.
With cavernous rooms and incredible views, it’s a home built to entertain — and this historic property has seen any number of glittering, Hollywood-style soirées over the years. It’s a fair bet that the new owners have already thrown a couple of bashes, filling the house with guests for sparkling cocktail parties — joined by the high-heel echoes of glamorous gatherings from decades past. If they were to listen especially hard, they’d probably even still hear those Oscar night champagne flutes clinking…
Away from the parties, the kitchen is more than prepared for creating festive feasts — with sleek white cupboards and polished wooden worktops stretching from wall-to-wall. The dining room, too, is just begging to be filled to its impressive capacity of 20 seated guests.
Additionally, and thanks to all those enormous windows, there’s certainly no danger of guests overheating in the West Coast heat during dinner. The bedrooms are also perfectly pitched and utterly luxurious; four in total, epitomising that elusive combination of cosiness, warmth and glamorous minimalism. The master suite, in particular, has such extraordinary views — and a ‘sun room’ annex you can imagine Don Corleone himself stretching out in.
The bathrooms (four and a half), are also decadently decked out — with tiles as subtly green as the cacti springing from the sprawling garden. In fact, the entire home has a calming green tinge to its outside, topped off with terracotta towers and burnt orange sun shades.
It’s a home opulent enough for an Oscar winner — and it gives us a real insight into Brando’s life behind closed doors. Of course, the actor’s astonishing career and turbulent personal life provoked its fair share of controversy and confusion, but we now know at least one thing for certain: the man knew how to build a home.
Have we whetted your appetite for famous properties? Have a look inside Apartment 0.07, the luxury James Bond-inspired Mayfair residence…
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