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Pacific Palisades landmark Castillo del Mar lists for $6M

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The 1920s oceanfront estate was the scene of a notorious Old Hollywood scandal

Photos courtesy of Dan Urbach

One of Pacific Palisades’ most storied properties, Castillo del Mar, is now available for the first time in four decades.

A blend of Italian, Spanish, and Moorish styles, the sprawling seaside home was designed in 1927 by Nathaniel Coleman, architect of Whitley Heights’ Villa Vallombrosa.

The former estate of director Roland West, Castillo del Mar earned notoriety in the 1930s after the tragic death of actress Thelma Todd.

Todd, acclaimed for her comedic work in films such as the Marx Brothers' Monkey Business and Horse Feathers, was West’s sometime mistress, as well as partners with him in a popular nearby roadside cafe.

On December 16, 1935, Todd’s housekeeper discovered the 29-year-old actress, clad in a fur coat and evening gown, dead in the property's garage—a victim of carbon monoxide poisoning. Officially ruled as accidental, Todd's death continues to be the source of much speculation to this day.

The 15,000-square-foot building that once housed Todd’s eponymous cafe, a nightclub, and Todd’s apartment popped up on the market a few years ago with an $8 million price tag; it eventually sold for $6 million to a development company that plans to convert it to a complex housing “a select few of the city’s most prominent and exclusive offices.”

Now it’s the estate’s turn to go. On a 23,216-square-foot lot with spectacular ocean views, the property consists of a five-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath main house, a detached studio/chauffeur’s quarters, and garaged parking for four cars.

Per the listing, Castillo del Mar has not been significantly altered since being built 90 years ago, which is a boon given that its original features include solid oak peg-and-groove floors, leaded/stained glass windows, elaborately carved wood doors, art deco tiles, bow-and-truss ceilings, hand-burnished redwood beams and corbels, and thick lathe and plaster walls.

Asking price is an even $6 million.