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The Kirkeby Mansion from “The Beverly Hillbillies”

Nov 13th, 2012 | By | Category: TV Locations


Hold on to your hats, my fellow stalkers, ‘cause today’s post is going to be a long one.  A few weeks ago, my mom called me up to ask about one of the answers provided in the “Ask Chris” column from the September 2012 issue of Los Angeles Magazine.  In the column, an inquiring mind asked associate editor Chris Nichols for the location of the “crazy” abode featured in the 1960 movie Cinderfella.  Chris informed him that the property used was none other than the Kirkeby Mansion in Bel-Air, which also stood in for the Clampett residence in The Beverly Hillbillies television series, but that most of the place had been demolished in 1986.  Because the magazine had been mistaken in its reporting of locations in the past (you can read my post about the incorrectly identified Leave It To Beaver house here), my mom wanted to know if the Kirkeby Mansion had, in fact, been torn down.  And while I had, at the time, never stalked or done any research on the property, come to find out, Chris’ information was indeed erroneous.  I am very happy to report that the Kirkeby Mansion is still currently standing at 750 Bel Air Road in Bel-Air in almost the exact same condition (the exterior anyway) it was in the 1960s when The Beverly Hillbillies was filmed.  It is, sadly, just no longer visible from the street.

Construction on the Kirkeby Mansion, which began in 1933 and took five years to carry out, cost a whopping $2 million – and we’re talking 1930s money!  The home was commissioned by a wealthy engineer named Lynn Atkinson.  When it was completed, the French neoclassical Beaux Arts-style property featured ten bedrooms, twelve baths, 21,523 square feet of living space, a copper roof, walnut paneling, several Baccarat chandeliers, a 150-foot waterfall, gold-plated doorknobs and bathroom fixtures, a pipe organ, an orchestra stage, an elevator that ran seventy feet below ground, underground tunnels that led from the home to the pool area, and a landing pad for autogyros (yeah, I had to look that one up, too).  Supposedly Atkinson had the place built for his wife, Berenice, as a surprise and when he first brought her there, under the ruse of attending a party, she took one look at the opulent manse and said, “Who would ever live in a house like this?  It’s so grandiose.”  Fail!  The Atkinsons never wound up living on the premises and the pad was eventually acquired by hotelier Arnold Kirkeby in 1945 for about $250,000.

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There are quite a few differing reports as to how and why Kirkeby came to own the mansion, including the rumor that Atkinson owed Kirkeby capital for a gambling debt, that Kirkeby had actually bankrolled the house for Atkinson and, when funds ran out, was given the keys, and that Atkinson had lost a bundle of money that he had borrowed from Kirkeby in order to invest in floating islands during World War II.  Whatever the case may be, Arnold and his wife, Carlotta, acquired the manse in 1945 and, from that time on, the pad was known as the Kirkeby Mansion.  In a fateful decision, Arnold decided to allow The Beverly Hillbillies to film at his estate at a rate of $500 a day because he apparently thought the show would be a dud.  It ended up becoming a colossal hit, turning his house into a major tourist trap, but Arnold never lived to see that day.  He passed away in a plane crash on March 1, 1962, several months before the first episode ever aired.  Carlotta continued to live in the mansion until her death in 1986, but apparently the countless fans of the series who stalked the abode drove her crazy.  After Carlotta passed away, the residence was purchased by TV executive Jerry Perenchio for $13.7 million.  And while Jerry did spend the next five years remodeling the interior of the property (which did not appear in The Beverly Hillbillies or Cinderfella), he did NOT demolish it and the exterior was left completely intact (except for the roof area).  To deter the hoards of tourists who would stop by to stalk the mansion on a regular basis, Jerry also had the entrance gate moved to a different part of the property, rendering the place invisible from the street.  Boo!

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While the Grim Cheaper and I were stalking the place, someone opened the gate and started speaking to us in a foreign language.  I have no idea what the guy was saying, but the GC proceeded to snap away with his camera anyway.  Nice work, honey!

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Sadly though, even with the gate open, the only part of the property that was visible was a long driveway and the back of some sort of guard shack.

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The exterior of the Kirkeby Mansion was featured each week on The Beverly Hillbillies in establishing shots of the Clampett residence, which was said to be located at 518 Crestview Drive in Beverly Hills.  In the second episode of the series, which was titled “Getting Settled”, the Clampetts were told that the manse was originally built for actor John Barrymore, Drew’s grandfather.





The interior of the Clampett house was just a set, though, that was built at General Services Studios (now Hollywood Center Studios) where the series was lensed.



The Clampett’s pool, ahem, ceee-ment pond also only existed at General Services Studios.  According to the TV Acres website, the swimming pool set was 27 inches deep, cost $20,000 to construct, and took half a day to heat for filming.



As you can see in the aerial views below, which were featured in the Season 3 episode of The Beverly Hillbillies titled “Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood”, as compared to the current aerial views from Bing, the mansion looks almost exactly the same today as it did in 1964 when the episode was filmed.  The grounds have changed a bit, although not as much as I had expected, and the gate, of course, moved, but otherwise the residence is completely recognizable as the The Beverly Hillbillies mansion.





A poster named LifeinLA wrote a comment on a SitcomsOnline message board thread stating, “I have some good news for everyone who is wondering about the house.  I was friends with the Kirkeby family and spent much time in the house before it was sold in 1985 to Jerry Perenchio, the owner of Univision, upon the death of Mrs. Kirkeby.  Believe me, it was an amazing place.  First of all, it is still there, in it’s entirety, but no longer visible from the street.  The only thing that the new owner did was remove the beautiful, solid copper roof, which appeared blue from the oxidation (and very beautiful), and make some much needed improvements to a home that was over sixty years old when he bought it.  The kitchen was old, the bathrooms needed upgrading, the plumbing and electrical needed to be modernized.  And, of course, he did redo all of the grounds, moved the tennis court and rebuilt the pool.  He incorporated a new entrance, one that afforded more privacy, as this was always a problem for the Kirkeby family, what with such a high-profile home.  He also bought back several neighboring homes that were once part of the estate, but sold off over the years and returned the property to it’s almost ten-acre original glory.”  You can see the different roofs in the aerial views pictured below.



The Kirkeby Mansion was also featured in the very beginning of the 1956 flick High Society as the residence where C.K. Dexter-Haven (Bing Crosby) lived.  The roofline was changed for the filming, though, via, what I am guessing, was a matte painting.



The interior of C.K.’s house was, I believe, just a set and, as you can see below, looks nothing at all like the interior of the Clampett residence.



In the 1960 flick Cinderfella, the Kirkeby Mansion was where Cinderfella (Jerry Lewis) lived with his Wicked Stepmother (Judith Anderson) and her two sons, Maximilian (Henry Silva) and Rupert (Robert Hutton).



The interior of the Cinderfella mansion was also, I believe, just a set and, again, looks nothing like either the Clampett residence or C.K.’s residence from High Society.



In the 1987 comedy Disorderlies, the Kirkeby mansion was where Winslow Lowry (Anthony Geary) lived with his ailing uncle, Albert Dennison (Pretty Woman’s Ralph Bellamy).



Unlike the previous productions filmed at the estate, the real life interior of the Kirkeby Mansion was actually used in Disorderlies.



The manse was also featured in 1987’s Over the Top as the home of Jason Cutler (Robert Loggia), although the front door area and balcony were changed a bit for the filming . . .



. . . due to the fact that in one scene Lincoln Hawk (Sylvester Stallone) drives his truck into the place, destroying it.



The interior of the manse also appeared in Over the Top and, as you can see below, the entrance hallway, tile flooring, staircase, and roped-staircase railing match perfectly to what appeared in Disorderlies.



Some fabulous current aerial views of the Kirkeby Mansion were shown in a REP Interactive clip about the most expensive homes in the world.



You can watch that clip by clicking below.

Kirkeby Estate–Current Aerial Views

You can find me on Facebook here and on Twitter at @IAMNOTASTALKER.  And be sure to check out my other blog, The Well-Heeled Diabetic.

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Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: The Kirkeby Mansion from The Beverly Hillbillies television series is located at 750 Bel Air Road in Bel-Air.  The front entrance to the home is now located around the corner at 875 Nimes Road, but, sadly, no part of the property is visible from the street.



Leave a comment »

  1. Richard Charles says:

    Two years since the last post but! how I enjoyed this walk through the history of the home. I was fortunate enough to see through the fretwork gate when I took my family for a tour of ”old” Hollywood homes. Thank you to all who contributed! 11-20-2017,

  2. Delores Belvin says:

    “Blithe Spirit” w/ Rex Harrison – was the staircase the same as any of these places/sets? Thank you!

  3. Paul says:

    Just as a comparison, “Spelling Manor” is currently on the market for a staggering $200 Million and it in NOOOOO WAY COMPARES TO THE OPULENCE OF THE KIRKEBY ESTATE.

  4. anthony (toronto) says:

    I was in Bel-Air 12/2/16 searching for and hoping to see homes of the Stars and the Kirkeby mansion, but was disappointed that I could not see it, as it is well hidden since the main entrance had been moved around the corner.Fun experience exploring the estates never the less.

  5. harry kosky says:

    I understand a need for privacy. I knew the home the early 1950. I had a play date there. I was 5. I still.have the pictures. It was a magical place. Iam very pleased there keeping up with the upkeep. The house is in good hands. Harry

  6. harry kosky says:

    To the owner of this masterpiece. The house is a masterpiece. To cover it up is criminal. This house is an american palace. This was mean be shared. For those of us will never recieve an invatation. Just a glimps is a small price to pay. This is a palace to be shared with america. Your humble servent. Harry in san diego

  7. Bill says:

    I read somewhere that the Kirkeby mansion was leveled thus explaining the change in the interior

  8. harry kosky says:

    Part of the orignal vision for the estate was lost when the front gates were removed. This house was a great work of art and meant to be seen. The place lost it catche. Harry

    • Stallings says:

      I understand your point, but if you own the place you would probably feel differently when dealing with people hanging out at the gate seven days a week.

      • Frank says:

        You have a valid point too, but I’ll bet the current owners new exactly what they were buying (gawkers and all) and probably wanted a piece of Hollywood history to call their own and impress their friends. In a way, it’s not much different from an actor who enjoys his celebrity but hates those bothersome fans requesting autographs and selfies.

      • Scott says:

        I saw the Kirkeby mansion in the early 1960’s and it was magnificent. It is too bad it is now hidden from the street.

  9. Fatima aziz says:

    I love hillbillies.I remember watching it on tv in UK when I was about 11. I come across some dvds at hmv and bought them. So much fun watching them. Love it when they film the mansion from ‘cement pond’. Hope the actual mansion captures the scenery there. Wonder if I was to see it in real life would feel as magical as the movies.


  11. bokehboihal says:

    The Kirkeby mansion was used for the first time in the 1952 suspense film by Director Joseph l. Mankiewicz…He used the front of the mansion, front lawn, front gate, and gate house, with stars James Mason, Michael Rennie, and Danielle Darrieux.

  12. matin says:

    How much is this house?

  13. R Cummings says:

    Great info! I was wondering if the Clampett’s scenes in which they are exiting the mansion actually showed the interior of the mansion?

    • Paul Muenks says:

      The actual house at 750 Bel Air Rd. did not have a circular staircase. As you entered the entry, you went up the stairs to the right, and at a right angle, crossed over the entrance door and then made another right angle to continued on up the stairs to the second floor.

      • RC says:

        Thanks. So the scenes when the Clampetts supposedly come out of the front door, and the scenes where they are sitting on the front porch are actually on a set? I noticed once that you could almost see inside when they had the front door open, and it looked a little different than the interior scenes, which were definitely on a set. Anyway, thanks for your reply. I love those old mansions, and the Playboy Mansion is prominently featured in a couple of episodes (long before Hef purchased it). Interesting stuff…

        • Paul Muenks says:

          The best scenes of the true interior of what is known as the “Clampett mansion” can be seen in the 1987 movie…..”Diorderlies”. I bought my dvd from Amazon. The entire movie was filmed both inside and out at the actual house at 750 Bel Air Rd. There are great scenes showing the staircase and even upstairs halls. The ceilings are actually MUCH TALLER than what they showed in the sets when they filmed the “Beverly Hillbillies!” It’s also interesting to note that when you go in the entry and turn to the right, there is a hall that has a rather grand open staircase going to the lower level. I still search for the real floorplan of the house. It’s very much different than what the tv series implied. It is a magnificent house for sure, and I can remember in the 1970’s lining up with other cars in front of the house to photograph it. That was when it was totally visible from the street! Unfortunately, now there isn’t a hint of it!

        • Paul Muenks says:

          I forgot to mention that the real house was used for exterior shots only, especially the impressive driveway. The actual double front doors had glass inserts and we’re not solid as the tv series suggested.

          • RC says:

            Interesting that they would let a “B” movie like Disorderlies film there! But thank you for your “inside information”, since the reruns of the Hillbillies are currently showing, I’m looking at them differently now. All of the long shots of the grounds are amazing (and you have to give it to the set designers, because they blend the real shots in very well – I could live on that set!)

          • Paul Muenks says:

            I think it was only because it was up for sale during that time that they were given the chance to film both inside and out of the real house. As Miss Jane once said in an episode….”it’s a veritable palace!” The grounds and trimmed trees and hedges along the driveway way were perfection!

  14. Frank says:

    Just a bit of Hollywood trivia – the staircase in C K’s house that Bing Crosby is descending is an old MGM set used in the 1938 film Marie Antoinette where Louis XV is sitting as the young Marie makes her entrance at Versailles and the curved staircase in your pic from the film Cinderfella was also used in the Shirley Maclaine movie What a Way to Go, although painted entirely in pink. She’s descending it in the opening scene, on her way to husband Pinky’s funeral.

    And thanks for the GREAT history of the home!

    • John says:

      I seem to recall that the Y- shaped staircase was also the one used in the Beverly Hillbillies scene, where the Clampetts went to Gloria Swanson’s home, and she descended that staircase while telling her butler not to throw them out.

  15. Jay Hall says:

    Great Article. Thanks for the info and pics.

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