Barbara Warner Howard grew up in one of the most famous homes in all of Beverly Hills. Built in the 1930s by her father, entertainment industry pioneer and film executive Jack Warner, the founder of Warner Bros., the palatial Georgian-style mansion (and its ten acres of landscaped grounds) was later owned by David Geffen, who, after three decades in residence, sold up in 2020 for $165 million to Jeff Bezos.
As the daughter of one of Hollywood’s most influential moguls, Howard lived a life sprinkled with showbiz fairy dust. So the stories go: Judy Garland sang at her Sweet 16 party, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor attended her debutante ball, and she once climbed through a window at the legendary Brown Derby restaurant to escape the wandering hands of Robert Evans.
She later lived in Paris, where she married and divorced twice before returning to Los Angeles and marrying screenwriter and producer Cy Howard. They were married until his 1993 death. Howard eventually settled in New York City, where she became a dedicated patron of the arts and a founding member of the New York Theatre Workshop. She lived for a time in a double-height apartment at the Gainsborough Studios building on Central Park South before moving downtown to a penthouse apartment atop an old, converted hotel on lower Fifth Avenue.
In 2004, tax records show Howard dropped $1.45 million for a house back in Los Angeles, one much more modest in scale than her childhood home. The 2,600-square-foot home, set just above Hollywood Boulevard on a prime parcel in the historic Whitley Heights neighborhood and mostly obscured behind high hedging and security gates, is elevated atop a street-level two-car garage amid lush semi-tropical landscaping. The main living spaces are on the upper level to maximize light and views.
Howard, who died late last year at 88, sold the house in late 2013 for $1.6 million to TV producer Nick Rabb Weidenfeld and his wife Amantha. Tax records show the property last changed hands in 2021, when the Weidenfelds sold it for $2.5 million, and now the circa 1950, late Moderne-style residence is newly on the market with Tim Swan at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties for a tetch under $2.8 million.
Dubbed “Graciebird” and listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, the property offers sweeping views that, on a clear day, extend all the way from the downtown skyline to the Pacific Ocean. Updated with in-ceiling speakers and other creature comforts, the home retains many period details. Coved ceilings in the step-down fireside library/den and in the formal dining room add sensual curves matched in the decorative wrought iron railings featured both within the house and outside along a second-floor balcony.
Gigantic, mullioned picture windows converge in a corner of the nearly 400-square-foot living room, making for a cinematic view of the city lights through the surrounding trees, while the eat-in kitchen is up to date and the bathrooms showcase well-preserved vintage tile work.
All together, there are three bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms dispersed over two floors. On the lower level, along with a couple of bedrooms and baths, a family room opens to a herringbone-pattern brick patio amid lush tropical plantings.
The narrow, winding streets of the Whitley Heights neighborhood have long been popular with entertainment industry movers and shakers. Golden Age icons like Carole Lombard, Carmen Miranda, Rudolph Valentino, Ronald Reagan, and Charlie Chaplin all resided in the hilly enclave, as have modern-day film and TV stars Ellen Pompeo, Busy Philipps, Rachel Bilson, and Ginnifer Goodwin.
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