It is so discreetly located, so totally private, you may not even know it’s there. But, so legendary is the history of The Edie Goetz Estate, a Georgian Revival mansion in the heart of Los Angeles’ Holmby Hills, so big is the part it played during Hollywood’s Golden Age, it could command its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Completed in 1938, the Goetz Estate was designed by Gordon B Kaufmann, who had built Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, now frequently used as a filming location, a decade earlier. But it was after Edie, the daughter of movie mogul Louis B Mayer, and her husband William Goetz bought the Delfern Drive property in 1947 that it became the place to be. Edie enlisted actor-turned-interior-designer William Haines to turn the mansion into the perfect setting for the glitziest, most fashionable parties of the era.
“The highest accolade … was to be invited to the Goetzes. They had the best food, the best people, and the best things on the walls.”
Cary Grant, James Stewart, and composer Irving Berlin were regulars; Elizabeth Taylor retreated here after her break-up from Richard Burton (reconciling with him here, too); and Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow’s wedding reception was held at the estate.
Edie was a Hollywood princess and a peerless hostess. “The highest accolade … was to be invited to the Goetzes,” filmmaker Billy Wilder said. “They had the best food, the best people, and the best things on the walls.” Edie and William had an art collection to rival that of any gallery. Guests would dine with these masterpieces, then marvel as a van Gogh or Picasso was obscured by a screen rolling down to show pre-release movies after the meal. Cary Grant said, “Edie Goetz had the best tables because she had the best guests.”
After the current owners purchased an adjoining lot, the sprawling estate now stands at over four-and-a-half acres, with three guesthouses, two swimming pools, a tennis court, a bridle trail, and a funicular on what, says Jeff Hyland, president of Hilton & Hyland Real Estate, an Affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, is considered the finest street in Los Angeles.
And so spectacular are the manicured grounds, planted with rare specimen trees, Japanese maple, Mediterranean palms, and Arizona cypress—many of them older than the house—they have been likened to a cross between San Marino’s Huntington Botanical Gardens and New York’s Central Park. “To have this in LA is unique,” says Hyland. “You can always improve a house, but you can’t just plant 50-foot, 100-year-old trees. This estate has it all.”
Photography by Paul Raeside