Friday, September 20, 2013

End of Week Pick Up Sticks: Mitzi Gaynor

SELLER: Mitzi Gaynor
LOCATION: Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $5,495,000
SIZE: 4,167 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 5.75 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama knows that some of the children, especially the young ones, are hissing and spitting, "Mitzi, who? Gay, what?" But, hunties, iffin you don't know who Mitzi is, well, we suggest you crack open your encyclopedia of Hollywood history and look her up because anyone who knows anything at all about the history of Hollywood knows that Mitzi Gaynor is a goddamn Tinseltown legend who, we first learned from the gossip juggernaut TMZ, has put her long-time residence on a tree-lined street in the Flats of Beverly Hills (CA) up for sale with a $5,495,000 million asking price.

Miz Gaynor, an honest-to-goodness triple threat performer with a definite and smoldering yet demure and approachable carnality, starred in a slew of silver screen musicals in the 1950s and early '60s. She hoofed in with Bing Crosby in Anything Goes, she held her own against Marilyn Monroe in There's No Business Like Show Business, and she stuck it in South Pacific opposite the suave Italian actor Rossano Brazzi. Starting in the late sixties and throughout most of the 1970s Miz Gayner starred in highly rated annual musical specials (see below video) and she was a frequent and popular performer on Hollywood awards shows. And, ladies and gentlemen, this lady killed it in Las Vegas spectaculars long before anyone in the lower 48 had even heard of Céline D-whatshername from Canada. Miz Gaynor was, in her day, the shit and she deserves the respect due a Hollywood veteran of her stature. Okay?

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We're not quite sure when Miz Gaynor, now in her 80s, and her late husband/manager Jack Bean bought the house but we know it ages ago. They probably paid pennies for it compared to its current price tag and good for them. Listing details show the two-story Spanish style casa was built in 1929 and has five bedrooms and 5.75 bathrooms* in 4,167 square feet of dated but carefully maintained interior space that, as per listing description, "captures the glamour of Hollywood's Golden Age."

Many of the homes original details survive, such as the groin-vaulted entry loggia, Spanish tile and Parquet de Versailles style wood flooring, beamed ceiling in the living room (that's regrettably been painted white), leaded glass sky lights, and casement windows and French doors.

Public and entertaining spaces include a center hall entry with wrought iron railed staircase, generously proportioned formal living and dining rooms—the former with a black marble fireplace, and a sun room in which a row of over-sized arched windows lead out to a red-brick dining terrace that's shaded by a blue and white striped awning and over looks the backyard and swimming pool.

Although dated and fairly utilitarian with bull-nosed granite counter tops and ho-hum raised panel cabinetry, the kitchen is reasonably sized with a small center work island, a high-end commercial-style six-burner range, and an adjacent butler's pantry lined with glass-fronted upper cabinets. The nearby breakfast room is an exquisite—if Old School—jewel box with honey-toned Venetian plaster walls, original casement windows, a built-in buffet with leaded glass details, and a decadent antique crystal chandelier.

Listing details indicate there are two guest/family bedrooms up stairs plus the super-sized master suite that encompasses a bedroom chamber and adjoining sitting room, a Juliet balcony that overlooks the backyard, and a closet-lined dressing room as well as a roomy walk-in closet chock-full of Miz Gaynor's (probably Bob Mackie-designed) cocktail gowns. The master bathroom was left un-described and un-photographed in all of the digital listings Your Mama perused. Make of that what you will.

A fourth potential bedroom/library with private bathroom is located on the main floor. Your Mama recklessly assumes that's the room in which the same graphic striped fabric was applied to the walls, the roll-armed divan, the (uncomfortable looking patio-like) chair cushions and the curtains. It was also stuck to at least three of the four walls in the attached bathroom. This sort of day-core just isn't done anymore so, as far as Your Mama is concerned, it's a marvelous little decorative time capsule. Like many of these older homes that lined the painstakingly manicured streets in the Flats of Beverly Hills, there's a staff bedroom and bathroom tucked back into the service area behind the kitchen.

We have not one single piece of intel as to her future real estate plans but if Your Mama were the wagering type—and we're not—we'd put a few pennies on Miz Gayner downsizes to a two or three bedroom condo in one of the full-service luxury towers that line the Wilshire Corridor near Westwood and Century City.

listing photos: Wish Sotheby's International Realty


lil' gay boy said...

Love the TMZ quote:

Fun Fact -- Mitzi is 82. The home is 84.

Now this is a Med I can get behind -- pure vintage schmaltz. Needs a (very) little updating, but I wouldn't touch the dining room -- I don't know quite why, but I love it.

Anyone contemplating tearing down a home in The Flats (a la the Gershwin residence) needs to take a long, hard look at Mitzi's house & then rethink their strategy.

Anonymous said...

Mitzi caused quite a flap when she appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show before the Beatles wearing a dress that look like it has been sprayed on. Pretty daring for the times.

Anonymous said...

Oh MAMA!! This is so fantastic. I have not heard Mitzi's name in years. As a young gay boy, I well remember how fantastic she was. I will say prayers that her home falls into the right hands, and is not bladed that some horrible Tuscakardashian mess goes up.

Anonymous said...

It's cliché but the essence of good design is not knowing why something works, it just does. This house interior works. The dining room won my soul over. That striped room makes me swoon. I'd eat raisin bran, just to have breakfast in the morning room. Playing dress up in the big closet. It so reminds me of my Grandma's house. Running around on visits, sharing wild stories and crazy secrets. It sucks that this place will be stripped and sacrificed to some architectural abomination.

Thanks Mama, for bringing me back to a place of such good memories.

Anonymous said...

Very chic house! Don't even mind the kitchen.
The striped room is wonderful and you can still get a room that's covered in a single fabric from a good French decorator, like Jacques Grange or Jacques Garcia.
Love the back yard, too!

Anonymous said...

Most of it is really garish with colors and patterns that, over time, could induce suicidal urges.

Anonymous said...

The Rabbi is head over heals in love with the soon to be former Gaynor residence. She furthermore experiences the fabulous breakfast room chandelier as analogous to wearing diamonds before brunch! The Rabbi invites Anonymous 3:17 p.m. (Tuscakardashian!), Anonymous 3:19 p.m., her Protestant good friend Rosco Mare, and the Kinderlach of faith to pray for the salvation of Maison Mitzi. Finally, the Rabbi respectfully requests to partner with magickal Madam Pince, who could effortlessly hex and jinx any prospective demolition plans for 610 North Arden Drive, while the Rabbi would simultaneously bind a Kabbalistic kibosh upon the diabolic demolition proposals! Mme Pince, might you concur?

Rabbi Hedda LaCasa
Sent via her sousaphone

Diamonds in the Daytime said...

Everything about this little gem is perfect although the décor, bless her heart, is remiss of my highly evolved sense of style.

Wagering my biggest rock that the little library ladder area is additional dressing room space for oodles of frocks and endless rows of Choos.

I must now purse my iPod, zip up last night's coture and slip out before last night's plus-one awakens in this dumpy hotel room and drive home with one eye gracefully shut.

Home to vault my tierra, delicately down sunrise hair-of-the-dog Bloody Marys and await my scrumptious pool boy Pectorio. He's very generous with Vicodin and long delicious massages before champagne brunch.

Rosco Mare said...

Love this post, the property, and LOVE Mitzi Gaynor who graciously posed for a picture with me last year. Like our Mama Dearest writes, Mitzi is a Grade A, talented, and gorgeous movie star....the real deal and a real nice lady who knows probably every other Grade A talented person in the Industry.

Like LGB, I am digging the light Tony Duquette feel of the dining room...don't anyone touch the chandelier. Also wouldn't alter the breakfast room or the authentic old school Billy Baldwin-goes-Hollywood green-striped room. (Imagine getting dressed up in this room for whatever function is on for the evening.) I also like the elegantly landscaped backyard with a pool.

Happy new year dear Rabbi; this house is on my prayer list. Let's also pray that one of Mama Dearest's appreciative children will buy it. I would, if I could...but I can't.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you Mama. Enchanting non-pastiche homes like this are why some of us tune in regularly.

Merci to you and Mitzi

Anonymous said...

I can see her in these rooms, circa 1976, getting dressed to go
to the premiere of "Rocky" and going to Ma Maison for drinks after, or Cyranos or La Rue on the
Strip, in a chocolate brown Mercedes 380SL....