Fifty years after her untimely death in a car wreck, a new documentary on Jayne Mansfield has just been released. It’s an event we’re pouncing on as an excuse to peruse some vintage photos of the atomic-era bombshell’s wild Holmby Hills home (also, alas, gone too soon).
Located at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Carolwood Drive, the sprawling Mediterranean was built in 1929 for megaphone-crooner Rudy Vallee.
In 1957, a year after the release of her breakout film, The Girl Can’t Help It, Mansfield forked out $76,000 for the 40-room mansion. With the help of her new husband, body builder Mickey Hargitay, and theatrical set designer Glen Holse, the star got busy remaking it into her signature “Pink Palace.”
Along with a pink exterior, the house was endowed with wall-to-wall pink shag carpet, a pink-marble bathtub, and a fountain spurting pink champagne. Heart-shapes abounded—in tubs, fireplaces, the driveway, and, of course, the swimming pool.
Offering the occasional hard-edged counterpoint to the home’s dominant fuzzy-pink theme were mirrored walls, rock walls, even tufted-red-leather walls.
The Pink Palace would serve as Mansfield’s family residence-slash-branding tool for a decade, until her death in 1967. Subsequent owners included Ringo Starr, Mama Cass Elliot, and Engelbert Humperdinck.
In 2002, Humperdinck (whose given name, we feel compelled to point out as a side note, was the perfectly agreeable Arnold George Dorsey) sold the property to his neighbor Roland Arnall for $30 million.
The founder of subprime mortgage lender Ameriquest and then-owner of the storied Owlwood estate, Arnall purchased Mansfield’s beloved palace solely to raze it and enlarge Owlwood’s already-quite-substantial lot.
“Seeing it demolished was like losing a member of the community,” recalls Vintage L.A.’s Alison Martino. “There was nothing else like it. There are no other pink palaces in the neighborhood.”
More views of the exuberant mansion can be enjoyed in Mansfield 66/67. Directed by P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes, the documentary feature premieres this weekend at the Ahrya Fine Arts theater in Beverly Hills.
As a special Halloween tie-in, 30 attendees of Sunday’s matinee screening received free passes to Hollywood’s Dearly Departed Museum, where the 1966 Buick Electra the actress was riding in when she met her untimely demise is on display now.
- Mansfield 66/67 [Official site]
- Owlwood Estate: One of LA’s grandest mansions is for sale again—for $180M [Curbed LA]
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Rudy Vallee.