Circa 1950, the very year that brought us Bette Davis in All about Eve, and the sizzling Sunset Boulevard with William Holden as an unsuccessful screenwriter and Gloria Swanson playing a faded silent film star. Old Hollywood lingers in this English Country revival. A thorough redoux remastered to its intended grandeur. This is Woodrow Wilson Drive—7321 to be precise. Where the California Trifecta—pool, view, & privacy—is not only celebrated, it’s a closely held tradition. MLS#: 18-343360
Some like it Hot: This kidney-shaped pool is in a quintessential Hollywood backyard. Queen palms draw your eye across the San Fernando Valley. The highly desirable Hollywood Hills offers utter seclusion—the huge (three quarters of an acre) lot makes it feel even more so—yet convenient to the studios.
Many writers were inspired here on this peaceful bluff. Famed journalist and author, Thomas Thompson, lived in the home. Thompson joined Life magazine in 1961 and became an editor and staff writer. His book credits include Hearts: Richie, which was published in 1973 the same year he bought 7321 Woodrow Wilson. His most successful book was Blood and Money (1976), for which he received the National Headliner Award for investigative reporting and the 1977 Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America; Serpentine (1979). As a successful practitioner of the nonfiction novel, Thompson was favorably compared to the writers Truman Capote, and Norman Mailer who pioneered the genre.
After writing the book, Serpentine, Thompson wrote one novel—Celebrity (1982)—that went on to become a national best seller. Celebrity became the basis for a television mini-series in 1984.
Beautifully and tastefully furnished, yet comfortable. High pitched ceilings. Walls of windows flood in natural light.
The layout maximizes comfort. There are at least a dozen cozy corners like this one to claim for your own.
Or keep strolling, through the tiled atrium, past the brick fireplace, and into the vast grounds until you find just the right spot. Actress Brett Butler used the home to retreat from a hard fall from grace. Butler, who’d starred as a sharp-tongued, blue-collar, single mom on the 1990’s hit ABC TV series, Grace Under Fire, bought 7321 Woodrow Wilson at the height of her success in 1994. It was a Top 10 hit its first two seasons and Butler was nominated twice for Golden Globes for the role. Grace Under Fire ran five years until it was cancelled in 1998 amid reports of behind-the-scene difficulties with Butler at the center of it all. According to a 2013 New York Times article, Butler spent the first few years after her show was cancelled in a “self-imposed exile” at 7321 Woodrow Wilson, rarely leaving home. She sold the house in 2008 and reportedly moved to a farm back near Atlanta, Georgia. Butler has since made a return to television in 2012, hired by Charlie Sheen for a reocurring role on his FX sitcom, Anger Management. Butler is currently starring in a new sitcom Freedom Town.
Built-ins begged to be filled with a lavish buffet. Brunch in the dining room, shall we? By 1955, journalist and author, Patricia Barham, owned 7321 Woodrow Wilson. Her father, Frank F. Barham, longtime publisher of The Los Angeles Herald-Express was business partner of newspaper mogul, William Randolph Hearst. Her charmed life included weekending at Hearst Castle at San Simeon. And if that name sounds familiar to Angelenos, that’s because her father donated the land that later became Barham Blvd. that borders Universal Studios and connects the Cahuenga Pass to tony Toluca Lake and the studios in Burbank.
Patricia Ann (“Patte”) Barham filed syndicated stories on some of L.A.’s most notorious crimes and trials, including the Thelma Todd murder. Her war experiences became fodder for her first book, Operation Nightmare—which was followed by Rasputin: The Man Behind the Myth (co-authored with Rasputin’s daughter Maria, a close friend); Marilyn: The Last Take (a “red hot” bestseller on the last weeks of Marilyn Monroe) and Ace Hearst reporter, Patte Barham keeps on writing, Larchmont Chronicle, March 28, 2013.
A galley kitchen provides charm and functionality with high-end appliances and deep counters for the home chef. There’s a perfect flow from dining indoors to entertaining under the stars.
One gets the sense that many have been entertained here through the years. Aly Sadick, from Scandinavia, with at least some Hollywood connections, owned 7321 Woodrow Wilson in 1952. His 15 minutes of fame made great copy in the LA Times when he, and his twin, Amad, got into a spat with another pair of twins, Bertil and Gustav Unger, over the seating at the 1954 Golden Globe Awards.
“According to witnesses, few punches were exchanged—possibly only one—before the two sets of twins were separated by folk singer Burl Ives . . . the fracas started when the Ungers, who customarily wear monocles at social gatherings, found the Sadick twins in the seats which, the Ungers contended, had been reserved for them.” Bertil went home with a black eye, but not his monocled one.” While memorable, their altercation wasn’t enough to upstage the hottest star and big winner at the Cocoanut Grove that night, Marilyn Monroe.
The Master Bedroom — Sweet! When the current owner, a British Investor, sought a property in Los Angeles, he was looking for the iconic Hollywood home. Luxury and size were a given.
A presence in Hollywood with views of the city were a must. Another prestigious address on Woodrow Wilson Drive is Historical Cultural Monument, The Shulman House. A Mid-century construction known for its use of steel, Architect Raphael Soriano designed the home and studio for architectural photographer, Julius Shulman.
Of course, an iconic Hollywood home should feel extravagant, and exclusive.
Each of the three bedrooms are appointed with a private entrance with outdoor access. Over the years, many Hollywood stars have lived a lofty existence in the surrounding hills. Ellen Degeneres owned a cluster of four houses that hugged the hills along Woodrow Wilson Drive and adjacent roads above Laurel Canyon. She eventually sold one of the properties, dubbed “The Treehouse,” in June 2006 to Brokeback Mountain actor Heath Ledger and his wife Michelle Williams.
Cool fact: Dan Ackroyd said his former haunted house on Woodrow Wilson Drive was the inspiration for the movie, Ghostbusters. And that house’s former owners include: Mama Cass Elliot and also Natalie Wood.
And iconic Hollywood home tucked just North of Mulholland—Woodrow Wilson Drive and the surrounding neighborhood has long been a hideway for Hollywood’s A-Listers.