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Unreal Estate: Cast of Characters

Money, Ambition, and the Lust for Land in Los Angeles

A Guide to the Homes and Owners of


Money, Ambition, and the Lust for Land in Los Angeles

By Michael Gross

Broadway, November 1, 2011


Shadow Hill/Grayhall (1100 Carolyn Way)

Harry Dana Lombard: Boston banker, Carole Lombard’s godfather.

Douglas Fairbanks: First actor-resident of Beverly Hills, later, the owner of Pickfair.

Carolyn “Carrie” Canfield and Silsby Spalding: A daughter of Charles Canfield (see Other Notable Characters) and her husband, the first mayor of Beverly Hills.

Amos Johnstone: Scion of a local real estate family.

George Hamilton: Actor.

Bernard Cornfeld: Retired mutual fund founder, entrepreneur.

Steven Macallum Powers: Penny-stock manipulator, luxury home redeveloper, playboy, friend of Hugh Hefner.

Phillipe Boutboul: Tunisian-born French electronics retailer, special advisor to the president of Burkina-Faso, mansion redeveloper.

Mark, Suzan, and Darcy LaPier Hughes: Herbalife founder, nutritional supplement guru, alleged pyramid scammer and his third and fourth wives, both beauty contest winners.

Moussa and Mahnaz “Lily” Mehdizadeh: Persian Jewish businessman and his wife, a member of the Elghanayan real estate dynasty of Teheran and New York.

9755 Sunset Boulevard (since demolished)

Max Whittier: Oil man, partner of Burton Green, cofounder of Beverly Hills.

Samuel Berch: Dairy and ice cream mogul, founder of Arden Farms.

Leo Hartfield: son-in-law of Samuel Berch.

Dino Fabbri: Milanese publisher.

Mohammed and Dena al-Fassi: Brother- and sister-in-law of Saudi Prince Turki bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud.

Greenacres (1740 Green Acres Place)

Harold Lloyd: Silent film comedian.

Nasrollah Afshani, Naim Perry, and Abdullah Moghavem: Persian-born investors (owned but never occupied the house).

Bernard Solomon and Dona Powell: Budget record mogul and his jewelry- and costume-collector wife.

Ted and Susie Field: Marshall Field heir, race car team owner, entertainment executive and his third wife.

Ron Burkle: Supermarket entrepreneur turned billionaire investor.

Greystone (501 Doheny Road)

Edward L. “Ned” Doheny Jr.: Son of the oilman.

Lucy Doheny Battson: Ned Doheny’s wife; later, his widow and builder of The Knoll.

Leigh Battson: Lucy Doheny’s second husband.

Henry Crown: Chicago industrialist, partner of Conrad Hilton (never moved in).

The Knoll (1130 Schuyler Road)

Lucy Doheny and Leigh Battson: See Greystone.

Dino De Laurentiis: Film producer.

Kenny Rogers: Singer; later the owner of the first lot sold in Beverly Park.

Marvin and Barbara Davis: Oilman and owner of Twentieth Century Fox and his socialite wife.

Eric Smidt: Harbor Freight Tools hardware mogul.

9481 Sunset Boulevard (Sunset House)

Francisca Bernard (Mrs. Dionicio) Botiller: Builder, wife of heir to a Spanish land grant fortune.

Frank and Cecilia Botiller and Ida Botiller Lindley: Children of Francisca and Dionicio Botiller.

Jack Royal Young Lindley: Brother of Loretta Young, informally adopted son of Ida Botiller Lindley.

Dorothy Wellborn “Dolly” Green: Daughter of Burton Green, a co-founder of Beverly Hills.

Neil Steere McCarthy: Lawyer for Howard Hughes, L. B. Mayer, and others; polo player; cofounder of the Beverly Hills Speedway. Lover of Dolly Green.

Mary Beich McCarthy: Candy heiress, second wife of Neil, painter.

Stewart and Lynda Resnick: Former owners of the Franklin Mint; owners of FIJI Water, Teleflora, fruit and nut farms, and other enterprises.


750 Bel-Air Road (the “Beverly Hillbillies mansion”)

Lynn Atkinson: Public works builder.

Arnold S. Kirkeby: Hotelier.

A. Jerrold Perenchio: Agent, event promoter, entertainment mogul.

10644 Bellagio Road (later Casa Encantada and Bellagio House)

Hilda Olsen Boldt Weber: Former nurse, widow of glass bottle mogul Charles Boldt, later married to Joseph Otto Weber. Builder and first owner.

Conrad N. Hilton: Hotelier, great-grandfather of Paris Hilton.

Nicky and Barron Hilton: Sons of Conrad. The former briefly married actress Elizabeth Taylor. The latter is the grandfather of Paris Hilton.

David Murdock: Conglomerateur and head of Dole Food Company.

Gary Winnick: Former Drexel Burnham Lambert investment banker, founder of the defunct telecommunications firm Global Crossing.

10539 Bellagio Road:

Sol Wurtzel: Movie mogul. Builder and first owner.

Woody Feuert: Business partner of costume designer Adrian.

Anthony Norvell: Astrologer, psychic, metaphysician.

Howard Hughes, Elvis Presley, Prince Rainier of Monaco: Sublessors.

Reginald Owen: British character actor.

Dolly Green: See above.

Diane Hunt Stockmar: Alleged illegitimate daughter of Dolly Green and Neil McCarthy.

Bill and Maria Bell: Executive producer of The Bold and the Beautiful and The Young and the Restless and his wife, an arts philanthropist.

364 St. Cloud Road

Louis W. Zimmerman: Financier.

Casey Robinson and Tatiana Toumanova: Writer and producer at Twentieth Century Fox and his wife, a ballerina.

Tony Curtis and Christine Kauffman: Actor and his second wife, an actress (also see 141 South Carolwood).

Sonny and Cher Bono: Entertainers (also see 141 South Carolwood).

Larry Flynt: Founder, Flynt Publications, and publisher, Hustler.


375 North Carolwood Drive (since demolished)

Harold Janss: Builder and first owner (also see Other Notable Characters).

Gregory and Veronique Peck: Actor and his wife.

10060 Sunset Boulevard (since demolished)

Edwin Janss: Builder and first owner (also see Other Notable Characters).

Charles Reese “Jack” Warde: Insurance executive.

William Osco: Pornographic movie producer and director.

Ghazi Aita: See 141 South Carolwood.

Roland Arnall: See 141 South Carolwood.

10100 Sunset Boulevard (since demolished)

Hubert Prior “Rudy” Vallée: First owner, never occupied the house.

Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay: Actress and her bodybuilder husband.

Harold Greenlin: Former carny and vaudeville, burlesque, and pornographic theater owner.

Engelbert Humperdinck: Singer.

Ghazi Aita: Syrian-born middleman and investor and his wife (also see 141 South Carolwood).

Roland Arnall: Savings and loan owner and subprime mortgage pioneer (also see 141 South Carolwood).

10236 Charing Cross Road (now the Playboy mansion)

Arthur Letts Jr.: Son of Arthur Letts, builder and first owner.

Hugh M. Hefner: Founder of Playboy magazine.

594 South Mapleton Drive (since demolished)

Edna Letts and Malcolm McNaghten: Daughter of Arthur Letts and her husband. Builders and first owners.

Harry “Bing” Crosby: Singer and actor.

Patrick Frawley Jr.: Owner of Technicolor, Paper Mate and Schick; right-wing activist.

Aaron and Candy Spelling: Producer and his wife; they tore down the house and replaced it.

141 South Carolwood (now incorporates 10060 and 10100 Sunset)

Florence M. Letts and Charles Quinn: Builders and first owners (also, see Other Notable Characters).

Joseph W. Drown: Partner of Conrad Hilton, hotelier, first husband of Elizabeth “Bettye” Avery, later Libby Keck, creator and longtime owner of the Bel-Air and Ocean House hotels (the latter the former William Randolph Hearst–Marion Davies beach house in Santa Monica).

Joe Schenck: Movie pioneer, alleged lover and mentor of Marilyn Monroe, pardoned convicted perjurer.

William Myron Keck: Founder and president of Superior Oil; father of Howard Keck, the second husband of Elizabeth Avery Drown.

Tony Curtis: Actor, husband of actresses Janet Leigh and Christine Kaufmann and model Leslie “Penny” Allen.

Sonny and Cher Bono: Entertainers.

Cher and Gregg Allman: Entertainers.

Ralph and Chase Mishkin: Carpet company owner, theater producer.

Ghazi and Salma Aita: Syrian-born middleman, hotel owner, and investor and his wife.

Roland and Dawn Arnall: Savings and loan owner and subprime mortgage pioneer and his second wife.

Other Notable Characters

Brian Adler: Co-developer of Beverly Park.

Margaret and Stanley Anderson: Mother and son proprietors of the Hollywood Hotel and founder-proprietors of The Beverly Hills Hotel.

Alphonzo Edward Bell: Oil man, founder of Bel-Air, owner of the Santa Monica Mountain Park Ranch, second owner of La Quinta, which he renamed Capo di Monte (since demolished).

Elizabeth, Minnewa, and Alphonzo Bell, Jr.: Children of Alphonzo Bell.

Edson Benedict: A pioneer settler of Benedict Canyon.

Pierce Benedict: Son of Edson and the first president of Beverly Hills.

Alfred and Betsey Bloomingdale: Department store heir, credit card mogul, Reagan kitchen cabinet member and his socialite wife.

Leonard I. Bursten: First, failed developer of Beverly Park. Former prosecutor. Convicted tax evader.

Charles Adelbert Canfield: Edward Doheny’s partner in the oil business. Leader of the co-founders of Beverly Hills.

Daisy Canfield and Jacob Morris “Jake” Danziger: Daughter of Charles Canfield, and her husband, a lawyer and co-founder of the Beverly Hills Speedway. First owners of Bel-Air. Builders of La Quinta (since demolished).

Roland Coate Sr.: Architect of The Knoll.

Vince Conti: Pimp, actor.

Hernando Courtright: Banker-turned-manager and owner of the Beverly Hills and Beverly Wilshire hotels. Close friend of Dolly Green.

James Dolena: Architect of 10644 Bellagio Road.

I. Irving Davidson: Washington fixer. Co-owner of land that became Beverly Park.

Edward L. Doheny: Pioneer Los Angeles oil man. Builder of Greystone estate.

Robert Farquhar: Architect of 141 South Carolwood and Daisy Danziger’s Crestmount.

Heidi Fleiss: Waitress, madame, girlfriend of Bernie Cornfeld.

Miles Gray: Haberdashery heir and husband of Minnewa Bell and Burtie Green.

Allen R. Glick: Teamsters associate. Casino owner and mob front. Failed second developer of Beverly Park.

Elliott Gottfrucht: Co-developer of Beverly Park.

Burton Green: Oil man, partner of Max Whittier, co-founder and later, leader of Beverly Hills.

Dorothy, Liliore and Burton “Burtie” Green: Daughters of Burton Green.

Hyman Green: Teamsters associate. Co-owner of land that became Beverly Park.

William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies: Proprietor of the Los Angeles Examiner and Evening Herald and his mistress. Owned 1011 Beverly Drive and 415 Pacific Coast Highway (later the Ocean House hotel and now site of the Annenberg Community Beach House).

Charles Hopper: Head of sales in Bel Air during the Depression and World War II.

Howard Hughes: Texas oil heir, movie producer, aircraft manufacturer, airline owner, noted bachelor, and eccentric.

Sumner Hunt and Silas Burns: Architects of Grayhall.

Harold and Edwin Janss: Co-founders of Holmby Hills, Westwood, and Westwood Village, owners of Conejo Ranch (later Thousand Oaks, California) and benefactors of UCLA.

Gordon Kaufmann: Architect of Greystone, 10060 and 10100 Sunset, 375 North Carolwood, 594 South Mapleton.

Atwater Kent: Radio pioneer, inventor, engineer, party host, and third and last owner-occupant of La Quinta (since demolished).

Sidney Korshak: Lawyer; middleman between the Chicago Mafia and unions, Los Angeles investors, and Hollywood studios and producers.

Francis Xavier Lourdou: Architect of 9481 Sunset Boulevard.

Walter McCarty: Cofounder of the Beverly Hills Speedway, founder of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

Colleen Moore: First actress to own a home in Bel Air.

Antonio Moreno: Silent film actor, second husband of Daisy Canfield Danziger.

Vicki Morgan: Lover of Bernie Cornfeld and Alfred Bloomingdale, later murdered.

Llewelyn Arthur Nares: First estate owner in Beverly Hills.

Wallace Neff: Early architectural draftsman in Beverly Hills. Architect of Pickfair renovations, Enchanted Hill, and 10539 Bellagio Road.

Hugh Plunkett: Personal secretary and presumed murderer of Ned Doheny.

Florence Letts Quinn: Estranged wife and heiress of Arthur Letts; later married Charles Quinn.

Terence Harold Robsjohn-Gibbings Interior designer for 10644 Bellagio Road.

Enrique “Heini” Schondube: Mexican industrial heir. Third husband of Dolly Green.

Sumner Spaulding: Architect of Greenacres.

Fred Thomson and Frances Marion: Cowboy star and his wife, a screenwriter. Builders of Enchanted Hill.

Paul Trousdale: Developer of the Doheny Ranch as Trousdale Estates and other subdivisions.

Maria Rita Valdez: The first settler and owner of Beverly Hills, originally known as Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas.

For further information or to schedule an interview with the author, please contact
Dyana Messina at 212-572-2098 or at