2006 and 2007 found Coldwell Banker listing Beverly Hills as the most expensive housing market in the US, median home price over $2.2MM. Famous film stars of the early “silent movie” industry, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. transformed the sleepy Beverly Hills suburb of Los Angeles into a glamour capital of the world as others in the industry followed their lead and built their own mansions. Mary Pickford earned more than a million dollars a year back in “those early days.” They transformed a house they purchased into an elaborate 22-room mansion. Architect Wallace Neff redesigned the house, some said in the manor of a hunting lodge. He had frescos painted on the ceiling and added fine art from around the world. The couple were considered “Hollywood Royalty”. Guests included the most famous folks of the time from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Lord and Lady Mountbatten to Albert Einstein, George Bernard Shaw, Charlie Chaplin, Tom Mix, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Noel Coward and Rudolph Valentino. Due to an extramarital affair he had, Pickford divorced Fairbanks but kept the mansion. A series of unfortunate incidents drove her to alcohol and she became a recluse, though remarried to Charles “Buddy” Rogers, 12 years her junior, and having adopted two children together. The house fell into neglect and she saw less and less of her friends. After a series of subsequent owners, the house was bought, demolished and a new Georgian-style home was built by Meshulam Riklis and his wife, Pia Zadora. The only remaining portions of the old estate were the pool, front gate and a section of the original North Wing. There are 17 bedrooms and 16 bathrooms, though an advertisement for sale showed 30 bathrooms. Included were an elevator, ballroom sized living room, indoor glass dome spa, gym, disco and parking for 30 cars. Living sq ft: 25,243. Lot size: 2.25 acres. In 2005 the house was listed for $27MM and is now owned by UNICOM International a software company, purchased for a reported $15MM.

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