SELLER: Estate of Jimmy Durante
LOCATION: N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA
SIZE: 3,944 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: The longtime home of Jimmy Durante, not on the market for 60+ yrs. Rebuilt in 1963 by architects Marvin & Kelsey, the main residence is 3 beds, 2.5 baths + 2 story guest w/ 1 bdrm apt upstairs & maids + storage lower. Also a pool room w/ bath & entertainment flow. Large master w/ sitting area & fireplace. Entry light fixtures excluded.
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Once again we are very short on time…Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter are not able to access the interweb on a regular basis. But rather than leave the children high and dry, salivating and clamoring and left to their own devices, we figured we’d pop up a Beverly Hills time capsule listed at $3,395,000 that was the long time home of actor and comedian Jimmy Durante and his much younger second wife Margie who was a hat check gurl at the Copacabana when the May December love birds first met. Your Mama just loves a Tinseltown love story.
A Hollywood legend known for his quick wit, Brooklyn accent and huge honker, Mister Durante started up his ladder of fame after dropping out of the 8th grade and playing ragtime on the pie-ana which landed him on the Vaudville stage. Later Mister Durante became a radio star who transitioned into talkies.
Property records are unclear as to when Mister and Missus second Durante bought the long and low modern manse on the wide and pretty palm tree lined N. Beverly Drive. However, listing information indicates the property has not been on the market for more than 60 years which would indicate to a know-nothing like Your Mama that Mister Durante owned the house since sometime in the middle of the last century. However, don’t nobody quote Your Mama on that because we really don’t know when the couple set up house here.
According to listing information the 3,944 square foot house was re-built in 1963 by a couple of architects we confess we’ve never heard of named Marvin & Kelsey. Those may be their first or last names, we don’t know but perhaps one of Your Mama’s more architecturally educated children can educate us on these two. Anyhoo, the main house, which includes just 3 bedrooms and 2.5 poopers is fronted by a deep yard with a semi-circular black top driveway which, quite frankly is a bit down market for this neck of Los Angeles.
The house appears to have been professionally decorated back in the early 1960s in all sorts of beige and pale pastel colors, a style that has not withstood the test of time. While this may have been the very apex of day-core back in 1963 (or so) it is now, as Mister Durante himself might say, “a castastrostroke.” Our bleary gin soaked little brain cain’t even figure out how to pronounce that word, but we are sharp enough to know it’s not a compliment.
The main rooms include a formal living room with bleached blond wood floors, a massive stone fireplace of the sort they stopped building in 1972. The bleached blond wood floors continue into the formal dining room where one entire wall is covered with a mirror, a decorative moment we like in theory but makes us uncomfortable when we think of having to sit opposite the reflecting glass while we masticated yams or chawed on a chicken leg. We not sure why such a small chandelier was chosen when the room could easily support a larger number, but we rather love the dining room set which looks like a 1960s interpretation of something the nice gay decorator Billy Haines might have done in the late 1940s.
In addition to the three bedrooms and 2.5 poopers in the main house, a two-story structure adjacent to the swimming pool in the back yard contains a 1 bedroom guest unit on the second floor and storage space and a staff room on the ground floor. While we can’t imagine living up in a house with staff–our house gurl Svetlana insists on her own residence which is just fine with Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter because we do not need Miss Big Ears all up in our night time bidness–this detached room set up is workable.
Opposite the guest/staff house is a pool house with, according to listing information, a pooper and a dry sauna, both of which ought to be retained in whatever renovations will be undertaken by the next owner. Not only is it healthy to sweat out the booze in a sauna, a pool pooper means no wet people tramping through the house every time they need to evacuate.
If we had to guess, we’d guess any new owner will raze this residence and replace it with one of those ginormous faux Tuscan/quasi Neo-classical numbers that line the flats of Beverly Hills. But maybe not. Maybe, just maybe some deep pocketed Palm Springs queen will come along and upgrade this house while retaining some of the better original features like that perforated concrete block screens at the front of the house which always remind Your Mama of a most excellent trip we took to Vieques with our pal Fiona Trambeau back when we were both in enviable bathing suit shape. Today it’s tunics and wide brimmed sun hats, but that’s another story for another day.
Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.