The interiors of this lovely and well-preserved Spanish Revival estate just north of Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills haven't changed too much since the 1930s, when it was home to famed and famously private German actress Marlene Dietrich. Dietrich didn't own the 1926 house; it was owned by her friend, socialite Countess Dorothy di Frasso, says the Wall Street Journal. It was di Frasso who hired Elsie de Wolfe—the woman "credited with single-handedly inventing the profession of interior decorating," the New Yorker once wrote—to design these interiors. Many of de Wolfe's Art Deco flourishes from that time, including handpainted wallpaper, can still be seen in recent listing photos. The house has just sold for only the third time since then.
Di Frasso used the house for parties (as socialites are wont to do) and one guest, pianist José Iturbi, was so enchanted by the place, he reportedly told di Frasso that, if she ever wanted to sell, she should tell him first. When the time came (sometime in the 1940s), Iturbi bought the house and all the furnishings inside.
Until recently, even much of the 1930s-era furniture remained, a comparison on a Dietrich fan blog shows. Iturbi lived there until his death in 1980; in 2008, the house was purchased by clothing company executive Shawn Far, who paid $7 million, but apparently never got around to moving in.
The approximately 8,000-square-foot main house on the property has four bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms, a mirrored dining room, striking wallpaper, and vast grounds, according to a recent listing, along with a two-bedroom guesthouse and a pool. The new buyer is described as international, and as someone "with homes all over the world." The mansion was listed for $25 million, but ended up going for $23.5 million.
· Marlene Dietrich's Onetime Beverly Hills Home Sells for $23.5 Million [WSJ]
· Stunning Beverly Hills Estate [Hilton & Hyland]