All You Need to Know About 'The Godfather' House
William Randolph Hearst was one of the influential men who ever lived, and that man lived in style. For his last remaining years on this planet, Hearst and his longtime lover, actress Marion Davies, lived in this gloriously over-the-top estate located in Beverly Hills.
But that's not the Hearst Estate's only claim to fame. This megamansion was the honeymoon spot for John F. Kennedy and Jackie Onassis and has appeared in some blockbuster films, including "The Godfather."
But now, money problems plague the property, forcing the current owner to sell the opulent home at a multimillion-dollar discount. It'll only cost you $89.75 million. Want to take a tour?
50,000 Square Feet of Living Space
Located on an astoundingly large (for the area) 3.53-acre property, the main house is 29,000 feet while the estate boasts over 50,000 square feet of living space in total.
The address is 1011 N Beverly Dr. (90210 zip code), and the house has 19-21 bedrooms (depending on how you arrange them) with 15 full bathrooms.
Gordon Kaufman, a master of Art Deco architecture who built the Hoover Dam, built the house in 1926 for banking executive Milton Getz.
The Davies Estate
While Hearst Estate is known today as the Beverly House, it could also be called the Davies Estate.
Davies purchased the property for her partner in 1946, and the couple lived there until Hearst died in 1951.
It's not entirely clear how long Davies remained there.
A Long Drive Up
To enter the estate, you'll need to pass through an iron gate and drive up an 725-foot-long driveway to reach the home.
The house is located three blocks from Sunset Boulevard and the Beverly Hills Hotel. But why send guests there? This place has more than enough room.
It's Even Bigger Now
As it is now, the house is even bigger than it was when Hearst and Davies owned it.
The current owner of the home — who, according to the listing's property records, bought it for just $473,000 in 1976 — expanded the estate by 20,000 square feet in 1995.
That's nearly a 19,000 perdent price increase.
The Motor Court Has a Fountain Pool
Does your motor court double as a courtyard and have a fountain pool? No?
Then clearly you haven't made it as the king of yellow journalism, with enough control over printed media that you could influence public opinion on virtually anyone you wanted.
And you probably weren't born to a multimillion-dollar mining family, as Hearst was.
Who Owns It?
Beverly House is owned by real estate mogul and attorney Leonard Ross, who picked up the house for pennies (comparatively, anyhow).
This isn't the first time Beverly House went up for sale. First, it went up for sale at $165 million in 2007. Then, in 2016, at the age of 71, Ross put the home on the market for $195 million.
But five years later Ross cut the price tag by 54 percent.
It's Up for Sale Due to Bankruptcy
Hearst had his own money problems, and apparently so does the estate's modern-day owner.
The limited liability company that owns the property, which is also owned by Ross, was placed under Chapter 11 bankruptcy after an investment group claimed it owed over $52.3 million in unpaid loans and interest, according to The Wall Street Journal.
A bankruptcy court ordered him to sell the property.
An Offer He Couldn't Refuse
The house was used as the setting for one of the most famous scenes in "The Godfather" — when movie producer Jack Woltz wakes up to find a severed horse head under his silken sheets.
The house looks pretty much the same as it did, minus the statues, from 1972, when "The Godfather" was filmed.
According to Business Insider, the actual bed scene wasn't shot in this house, though.
Run to You? Run Here Instead
Remember Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing" and "Run to You" hit singles from the 1990s?
The house was also used as the mansion belonging to Houston's character in "The Bodyguard" with Kevin Costner, where those songs originated from.
However, only the exterior shots were used. But don't worry. The home comes stalker-free.
Real Estate Is King
If it's good enough for Beyoncé, it must be worth the price tag.
Most recently and most notably, Beyoncé used the home as a filming location for her visual album, "Black Is King."
Here's a clip featuring a shot of the house, and the entire album can be streamed on Disney+.
You Can Ride a Bike Down the Halls
One of the home's striking features (of many) is an 82-foot-long hallway. Why so much space? Because when you're William Randolph Hearst — or just love him so much you want to get him a present — why the hell not?
Space may as well be a symbol of power, real estate-wise, and this house is all about living with power.
For Rent at $600,000 Per Month
According to the Beverly House website, the home's former listing, the estate could be rented for $600,000 per month. That's $20,000 a day, or $140,000 a week.
Significantly more than most married couples make all year.
As we mentioned before, JFK and Jackie honeymooned here after they were married in 1953. JFK was 36, while Jackie was just 24. He wrote a "thank you" letter about his time at the estate, and it's still there. The Beverly Estate scanned it, although the scanned copy is almost indecipherable.
We're not sure who owned the estate then, but whoever did had an interest in politics. When JFK ran for president in 1960, it served as his presidential election headquarters for the West Coast.
It Has Bulletproof Windows
Part of Ross' update was to include bulletproof windows, so there will be no "Godfather"-esque drive-by shootings.
The reasoning, he told the Wall Street Journal, was because the house had hosted some very important clientele, including royalty.
The coffered ceiling here is something unique, made with exposed wood beams and painted details.
Crowdfunding a Refi?
Bizarrely, in 2016, Ross attempted to use the crowdfunding platform StartEngine to try and crowdfund another $40 million to refinance the property.
According to The Real Deal, investors needed to sink a minimum of $125,000. For their funds, they would receive a trust deed secured loan which would come with an annual base interest rate return of 5 percent. If the property sold for over $130 million, those lucky investors would get a bonus.
That didn't work out.
Adele Threw a Birthday Bash Here
Davis and Hearst rarely shied away from a party and this estate (like all of his others) have room after room after room of entertaining spaces. At least six massive mirrors flank the walls of this room, which also houses multiple seating sets.
With this much space available, it is no wonder "Hello" singer Adele was able to comfortably fit in so many party guests when she rented the space for her 31st birthday bash.
The theme? "The Great Gatsby," of course.
We like to picture famous people stretching out on the insane amount of seating crammed into this space, but this room's real star is the intricate, barrel-vaulted ceiling. While Kaufman was famous for transforming the utilitarian Hoover Dam into an Art Deco masterpiece, he also made a mark on 1920s style homes.
In Beverly House, nearly every room features a different ornate ceiling, adding that over-the-top glitz that the over-the-top era demanded.
The Library Is Enormous
One of the estates many, many features is this massive library. Nearly big enough to be a public satellite library, the two-story room features rows upon rows of built-in bookshelves, a large seating area (complete with fireplace) and plenty of architectural details— including an ornate, Art Deco-style ceiling.
While most of the home's amenities were designed with the younger Hollywood crowd in mind, we imagine Hearst spent many a night in the study of this massive library.
No Expenses Spared
As Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane" went to great lengths to point out, Hearst (both real and fictionalized) had everything. This wasn't a man who skimped on the details. And this library has the details.
While the ornate ceiling and the curved archways framing the second floor draw the eye up, every single panel in the room has been expertly carved in a different Art Deco design.
Study Hard, Old Sport
At one end of the library, underneath a massive chandelier, sits a study fit for a newspaper magnate. Was this the room that inspired Adele to throw her birthday bash? Probably not, but we can picture Jay Gatsby sitting here, scotch in hand, pining for the woman he loved and lost.
As usual, there's a massive amount of Art Deco fixings to make this space shine. The paneling on the library's second story is probably worth more than most cars.
Touches of Greek Revival
Architects have always subtly borrowed from different styles and eras to create their work. Kaufman wasn't subtle.
Here, Kaufman included a massive Greek-style entryway leading into the billiards room. The imposing structure features two pillars wrapped with small, intricate carvings under a large stone arch.
Old World Feel
The billiards room has a kind of British, Old World feel, complete with hand-carved wainscoting, a massive fireplace and herringbone wood floors.
Despite being larger than many tiny homes, the space feels intimate through these details. But since this is a Hearst property, don't be surprised if a lot of partying (and late-night, drunken arguments) happened in this room.
Remnants from Hearst Castle
When commoners like us buy a new house, we take pieces of our former homes with us. A sofa, our bedroom set, maybe a light fixture or two. When Davies and Hearst moved into the estate, they took a few reasonable items from the incomplete Hearst Castle as well.
The billiards room features a massive stone fireplace, wood-carved ceiling, and a large chandelier that all originally sat in the castle.
Dine Like Hearst
The home's dining area features wall-to-wall ornate gold-patterned mirrors set under a crystal chandelier.
By the time this estate was built, almost half of all home's in the nation were equipped with electricity, but this is the kind of room designed for candlelight dining.
The mirrors create an illusion of space. Even though the house doesn't need it.
Of course, no dining area in a Hearst property is complete without over-the-top details, and this room has those, too.
The space is highlighted by massive ornate carved wood doors, plenty of natural lighting, and a hand-laid brick floor.
And while the current owner has the room set up for a 10-person dining event, the expansive space could easily fit a century's worth of 1920s partygoers to rant about Orson Welles and his horribly inaccurate depiction of you.
Step Into the Courtyard and Back in Time
The home's unusual "H" shape centers around a secluded courtyard. When you have a courtyard, you need a view from the inside. And when you're Hearst, that view needs to scream "wealth."
At first glance, this room could be just another of the man's many entertaining spaces. And it is, of course. But it also features floor-to-ceiling arched windows overlooking the courtyard, a hand-laid brick floor, and even more Greek-inspired ceiling details.
Greek and Marble Statues
Continuing with the Greek-inspired details, the courtyard/motor court's fountain pool is surrounded by Greek marble statues, well-appointed landscaping, and slate flooring.
In the center of it all is a patina-colored fountain. Sort of like Hearst's own private Trevi Fountain.
Little Details Everywhere
Entering the home from the courtyard and you're met with a rather small (by this estate's standards) entranceway. But the lack of square footage doesn't skimp on the details.
On the ceiling, every panel of hardwood is intricately carved. The floors feature a geometric, Art Deco pattern, and the iron, Moroccan-influenced chandelier adds just enough light to make the small space feel romantic.
Does It Come Furnished? Possibly
Up a few steps from that entryway is another long hallway with floor-to-ceiling windows to capture the view.
Currently, the owners are using the space to house their Greek bust collection, possibly before they need to sell it off, too.
No word yet on whether the house comes furnished, but we're willing to bet it can be arranged.
The Study Is Glamorous
The main study has rich wood paneling, Art Deco-style, floor-to-ceiling windows with dramatic classic curtains and even a small, 1920s-style bar with mirrored backing built into the corner.
Electric candelabra light fixtures reinforce the grand Old World charm, while the ceiling has recessed lighting for when you actually want to get some work done.
So Many Places to Sit and Eat
There are a ridiculous number of places to sit in this home. This room houses a simple, intimate dining table, and partially is covered in classic 1920s-style wallpaper.
This is certainly one room that can be turned into a bedroom. Because really, how many places do you need to sit down and eat?
There's a Nightclub
One of the home's many amenities is a truly gorgeous piece of Art Deco style — the in-house bar/night club. While lots of mansions feature a wet bar tucked away in a game room, the Beverly House has a full-service bar to rival that of any five-star hotel.
The bar features a glass backdrop, complete with Art Deco gold-inlaid design. And the whole thing is set under a massive Art Deco drop-down ceiling. It looks more like a movie set than a private home.
Maybe that's why this estate has been featured in so many movies? The after-parties must have been nuts.
Remnants from Hugh Hefner
The bar/nightclub is a new addition and also includes a stunning Art Deco fireplace with a gold mantle and herringbone pattern firebox.
According to the Wall Street Journal, pieces in this area, which was part of the expansion, were brought in from Hugh Hefner's private Los Angeles nightclub called Touch, which Hefner closed in 1986.
Boogey Like It's 1920
Here's how Touch was described by the Los Angeles Times, which quoted an anonymous member:
"It had what she described as 'museum-quality examples of Art Deco, an irreplaceable, three-dimensional mural (by New York artist Dennis Abbe) and beautiful etched glass, marble floor, live palm trees growing inside and little lights that twinkled like stars as the night sky appeared through the skylights and reflected off the mirrored walls.' The interiors, which really are spectacular, were designed by Stanley Felderman."
You could make similar comments about this speakeasy-esque place.
Who Needs Rooms When You Have So Much Space?
This place is so large, there aren't even rooms. There are just places to be. In addition to the 80-foot hallway downstairs, there's a 100-foot hallway on the main level.
Floor-to-ceiling windows line the courtyard-facing wall, creating something that looks straight out of a "Chinatown"-esque noir film.
This house really is something else.
Swim Like the Greeks
Out back is a long pool flanked on three sides by Greek- and Mediterranean-inspired arbors. It's not the Neptune Pool from Hearst Castle, but it's close enough.
Also on the grounds is a suite-style pool house with two bathrooms, a tennis pavilion and professionally designed gardens.
There's Even More Property to Purchase
Altogether, the house has enough dining rooms to accommodate 1,000 guests. In addition to the main house, there are two staff apartments, a pool house, and a two-story, five-bedroom gatehouse.
Additionally, there's a whole other property, also owned by Ross, that's being sold next door. For whatever reason, that 6,365-square-foot house with nearly an acre of land is being sold separately for $15.5 million.
It can be combined with the purchase of Hearst's house for 4.4 acres of land and even more square feet.