The Beverly House, where Jackie O & JFK Honeymooned and where Coppola Shot “The Godfather” Is No Easy Sell

The sprawling estate at 1011 N. Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, California, has a rich history, and it is a home worthy of presidents, business moguls, and iconic Hollywood movie directors. Its current owner has been trying to sell it for years, but the house is still on the market, with an asking price of $135 million, which makes it the most expensive home for sale in Beverly Hills.

the complete history of the beverly house

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What do JFK, Jackie O., William Randolph Hearst, Francis Ford Coppola, and Whitney Houston have in common, besides incredible fame and fortune? They’re all tied, in one way or another, to the house at 1011 N. Beverly Drive in California. 

Also known as the Beverly House, it’s probably the most expensive house for sale in Beverly Hills at the moment, having last been listed one year ago for $135 million. There’s no word of it having found a new owner yet, even though the price tag was lowered from its ambitious initial ask of $195 million. So, you’re probably wondering, ‘why is it so expensive?’

The history of the Beverly House

the complete history of the beverly house

The Beverly House, as we call it today, was designed by Gordon Kaufmann and built in 1926 for banking executive Milton Getz.

In 1946, it found a new owner in actress Marion Davies, who bought it for her lover, American media mogul William Randolph Hearst. The businessman, who never divorced his wife, Millicent Hearst, lived at the estate with Marion until his death in 1951. Their love affair, along with the wealth that surrounded it, was highly publicized at the time, with Orson Wells’ iconic Citizen Kane — recognized as the best movie ever made — being inspired by Hearst and Davies’ story.

In 1953, the Beverly House was one of the destinations for JFK and Jackie Kennedy’s honeymoon, and later, it even served as Kennedy’s West Coast presidential election headquarters. And the estate’s juicy history doesn’t end there.

Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy on their honeymoon at the Beverly House
Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy on their honeymoon at the Beverly House. Image credit: Leonard Ross // CNBC

Remember that scene in The Godfather when Hollywood producer Jack Woltz, after having crossed the Corleones, wakes up with a severed horse head in his bed? The infamous scene was allegedly filmed at the house at 1011 N. Beverly Drive, although the current owner suggests that might not be true, after all.

But we do know that scenes from The Bodyguard, with Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, were definitely filmed on site. 

You would think that buyers would line up in an instant to snag such a prestigious estate, but the Beverly House seems to be a tough sell, despite its fame.

It was put up for sale in 2007 with an asking price of $165 million, a pretty steep price at the time. After a few years on the market, it was listed again in 2010, with a ‘discounted price’ of $95 million. The Beverly House hit the market again in 2016, asking a whopping $195 million, but it failed to find a buyer. Last fall, it made the news rounds again, being put up for sale with a price tag of $135 million

That’s the last we’ve heard of it, and with the listing seemingly still active, we’re inclined to believe there aren’t any takers as of yet. Prospective buyers might not only be put off by the steep price, but by the overwhelming history of the house, as well.

Besides, there probably isn’t a lot of demand for 19-bedroom, 29-bathroom homes, not even in Beverly Hills. 

the complete history of the beverly house

Who owns the Beverly House?

The Beverly House has been owned by financier and attorney Leonard M. Ross for more than 40 years.

Ross declared bankruptcy in 2010, which might explain why the house was listed for ‘just’ $95 million that year, however, he didn’t have any luck finding a buyer. Ross is aware that there aren’t a lot of buyers out there interested in a property of this size, so he’s willing to sell just a percentage of the home, if needed.

Ross is also open to renting out the Beverly House, for a monthly rate of $600,000 to $900,000, or $20,000 to $30,000 a day. 

A sprawling estate with 19 bedrooms and 29 bathrooms

the complete history of the beverly house

The Beverly House, or the Hearst estate, as some call it, spreads across 3.5 acres of land, on a 153,692-square-foot lot. It features 19 bedrooms and a whopping 29 full bathrooms, as well as a jaw-dropping wood-paneled library, a covered ballroom that can accommodate more than 1,000 guests, a billiards room, and a tiled formal dining room that can seat up to 400 people. 

Other features include a massive courtyard and garden, gated entry, a hot tub/spa, swimming pool, a wine cellar, a bar, a tennis court, terrace and balconies. Outside, in the expansive gardens, there are Venetian columns, waterfalls, a projection room, and even a nightclub. 

Leonard Ross further added to the dazzling array of fabulous amenities by creating his very own Art Deco-style lounge, modeled after ‘Touch,’ Hugh Hefner’s former Beverly Hills club. Ross reportedly purchased the doors of the club when it closed, doors that were commissioned by Hefner himself, along with the etched glass and the bar. 

the complete history of the beverly house

The billiards room is also one of a kind, featuring herringbone parquet floors, a hand-carved stone fireplace mantle, and an intricate ceiling that’s identical to one of the ceilings at Hearst Castle. All of this just three blocks from the Beverly Hills Hotel and the bustling Sunset Boulevard. 

The property on Beverly Drive is known by many names: the Beverly House, the Godfather house, the Kennedy estate, the William Randolph Hearst house, or ‘that gigantic thing that everyone always talks about but that nobody wants to buy.’ Even so, we’re betting that Leonard Ross will eventually find the right owner to take the reigns at 1011 N. Beverly Drive. 

It obviously takes a while to find someone who’s willing to invest in such a sprawling residential property, but given the charm of the estate and its rich, celebrity filled history, we’re sure the Beverly House will keep attracting interest.

For now, there’s no news of anyone buying or in contract to buy the estate, but don’t worry, we’ll keep you posted on any updates. In the meantime, take a short tour of the estate by watching the video below, which was published recently:

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Written by Ioana Neamt

Experienced writer with a background in real estate and a fondness for soaring skyscrapers and Victorian-style mansions. Also loves fancy homes with crackling fireplaces and views of snowy mountains.

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