The $12 Million Frank Sinatra Estate Where Marilyn Monroe Rendezvoused With Jack Kennedy
Morgan Brennan, Forbes Staff
In the late 1940s Dora Hutchinson, heir to the Chase Manhattan Bank fortune, commissioned Pereira & Luckman, architects famous for the Los Angeles International Airport and Pereira specifically for the Kennedy Center’s Studio Theater and the Transamerica Pyramid Building, to build a house just outside the heart of Los Angeles, CA. Once completed in 1951, the wealthy socialite used the house to throw massive who’s who parties for Hollywood, hosting the A-list likes of Lucille Ball and Ava Gardner, and shooting off fireworks to signal Happy Hour to her neighbors. After several years Hutchinson fled the West Coast for her hometown of New York, leaving the party palace behind. But rather than sell, she found a long-term tenant: crooner-turned actor, Frank Sinatra.
More than 50 years later, the Chatsworth, CA estate, known simply as Farralone, is coming to market. It is the first time the celebrity compound has ever been publicly listed for sale. Coldwell Banker Previews International will represent the listing, priced at $12 million.
“If walls could talk, this house has had more celebrities in it than just about any other house in Los Angeles,” says Lynn Teschner, a Coldwell Banker Previews International Realtor and Farralone’s listing agent.
Sinatra rented the estate for nearly a decade, starting in the 1950s, during his Rat Pack years. He occupied the 10,000-square foot, four bedroom main house, which touts 16 foot walls of glass curtains and a 50 foot swimming pool just outside.
The estate also boasts a 1,000-square foot, one bedroom guest house with a small pool of its own. Sinatra used to sublet the guesthouse to his friend: a blonde actress by the name of Marilyn Monroe. The swimming pool is alleged to be the site of one of the blonde bombshell’s last photo shoots, and more interestingly, the guesthouse is believed to be the alleged meeting spot for the late Monroe and President Jack Kennedy’s notorious reported affair.
Given the tantalizing history of the house, the current owners have updated, restored and decorated the living space to embody that time period. Farralone’s grounds encompass 14 acres that include a fledgling vineyard and parking for up to 200 cars. The compound sits behind a gated entry and visitors must drive up a winding private road to the top of a hill, where the mansion sits perched. Surrounding the compound is 3,000 acres of nature preserve. “You would have to be in a helicopter to see the house,” explains Teschner.
Farralone’s potential allure doesn’t end there. Sure, its history might make it the ultimate trophy home for Ol’ Blue Eyes or MM collectors, but the hilltop home is also quite the investment property. Television and movie watchers may find its pools and glass walls familiar as the house has hosted oodles of location shoots for films like Swordfish, Dreamgirls and Ali and TV shows like ‘Mad Men,’ ‘Californication,’ and next year’s ‘Savages’ series from Oliver Stone. Usher’s ‘Burn’ music video was shot in the pool as well. All those property cameos mean money for the owner.
“One of the big draws of this house is if someone wanted to use it as an income producing vehicle that generates several hundred thousand a year in location shoots,” says Teschner. She notes that the house has pulled in as much as $2 million annually in previous years from location shoots. If the future buyer chooses to continue renting the estate out to production studios, they would have little to do except plan a vacation around shoot dates: Farralone comes with a property manager who acts as a liaison with the studios, paid for by the studios. The main house also boasts a lower level production studio equipped with conference room, edit bays, private office and a separate entrance, all paid for and maintained by the studios.
“If this property was in Bel Air it would be a $100 million listing,” asserts Teschner. She expects that either an architecture-loving celebrity or international trophy home collector will snap it up. Whoever does will likely be someone who enjoys throwing lavish parties since it was, after all, built for that very purpose.
Teschner suspects that Farralone has the potential to sell quickly, likening its appeal to the Walt Disney estate in Los Feliz, CA, which sold after one week on the market earlier this year.
Forbes has the exclusive on this celebrated celebrity party pad as well as new images, courtesy of Nick Springett and Coldwell Banker Previews International. Check out Farralone in the slideshow above for yourself.
An earlier version of this article misstated that Farralone was the site of Judy Garland and Vincente Minelli’s wedding. The couple was married in Beverly Hills at the home of Garland’s mother. The sentence has been omitted to correct the error. Update to correction: Apparently Garland and Minelli updated their 1945 vows at Farralone after it was built and while Hutchinson resided there, according to the current owners.