Cedric Gibbons – design genius – husband of the most beautiful woman in Hollywood – philanderer

My uncle – when he still drove – used to take me on architectural tours of Los Angeles. We saw Frank Lloyd Wright’s leaky La Miniatura in a rain storm. We checked out a Neutra belonging to a friend of his that was perched in the Hollywood Hills and had jetliner views. I saw the legendary art director Cedric Gibbon’s estate in Santa Monica well before Joe Roth sold it (if you want to see it on film watch: TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA). And, one day we took off in my uncle’s ancient Jag for the hinterlands of Glendale and a neighborhood called Adams Hill that was tucked away behind Forest Lawn Cemetery (where Michael Jackson is buried).

Cedric Gibbons had a house there too. It was a simple Spanish bungalow on a hillside. The house was in disrepair and nothing special but the landscaping was something else… Mr. Gibbons kept the property to house… friends of the female persuasion… and yes, at the time he bought it he was married to the movie star, Dolores Del Rio. Anyway, back to the old garden it had stone walls and trysting benches and a stream and waterfalls and faux tree trunks sculpted in concrete artfully arranged (and you can bet studio craftsmen supplied the labor gratis) under spreading oaks. Now, I wished I had toted along a camera, but then I just gawked at the artifice.

Well, here is the Moderne Masterpiece that has been extremely well photographed over the years – and you’ll just have to take my word for the starlet’s haven. Enjoy!

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  1. Heather in Arles
    November 17, 2013

    I guess that answers my question about the Del Rio-Gibbons marriage now, doesn’t it? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • November 17, 2013

      I was in a Frank Lloyd Wright house yesterday that was on the market… And YOU would not have been able stand up straight in the upstairs hallway with out bumping your head against the Mayan carved decorative beams… HUMPH!

      • November 17, 2013

        LOL That happened to me when I was ten and visited my great grandmothers house in Oklahoma! The house was built in the 1800s and she was only 4’10”!

  2. November 17, 2013

    What adventures you had with your uncle. And still you must be on adventures if you were in a Frank Lloyd Wright house yesterday.

    • November 18, 2013

      I was with my cousin yesterday! He’s an architecture freak just like me ๐Ÿ™‚ .

      • November 18, 2013


    • November 18, 2013

      I’m going to have to go rambling back to Adam’s Hill and see if it’s still there (that adventure was about 18 years ago). I’ll report back.

  3. November 18, 2013

    I LOVE the Gibbons-Del Rio house, which I first saw in the 1998 film “Twilight,” whose plot had nothing to do with vampires. It served as the house of Susan Sarandon and Gene Hackman and was the highlight of an otherwise turgid drama. (The other star was Paul Newman, but somehow he wasn’t able to help matters.) It’s worth a look, if only for the architecture.

    • November 19, 2013

      I will have to watch… although, only for the Gibbon’s design, Corbusier-style house!

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