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Kirk Douglas’ Former Palm Springs House

Jul 2nd, 2013 | By | Category: Celebrity Homes

Switzerland Group (1 of 1)

The Grim Cheaper and I are finally home from a blissful two weeks in Switzerland. It was so hard to leave my best friend and his amazing family (pictured above) and the beauty of their country – especially being that when we returned to Palm Springs, temperatures were around 122 degrees! I will be sharing some pictures from our trip (and I took plenty – by ten days in, I had filled up an 8GB memory card!), as well as a few Swiss stalking locales that I visited while there, in the near future. But for today, I thought I would once again blog about a Behind the Candelabra-related location that I stalked prior to leaving for the Land of the Alps.

A few weeks ago, while doing some Behind the Candelabra research, I came across a The Guardian article in which Michael Douglas, who played the flamboyant pianist in the HBO biopic, talked about once meeting Liberace while visiting the desert home of his father, Kirk Douglas. Of the encounter, Michael said, “I met him once in passing. My father had a weekend house in Palm Springs and I remember driving out and we came to this cross-section and this Rolls-Royce convertible pulled up alongside. It was a sunny day and, my God, the reflections were bouncing off his gold jewelry and diamond rings and his hair was perfectly coiffed. Of course, we now know that he was wearing a wig.” Well, I, of course, immediately started itching to track down the house Michael was referring to in the article.

Kirk Douglas Palm Springs house (11 of 20)

As it turns out, I had actually stalked the home (at least what I think is the correct home) – and blogged about it – once before, way back in March 2008. My research on this location is not exactly definitive. In a The Irish Times article, Michael said that his encounter with Liberace took place around 1956. As Murphy’s Law would have it, though, Kirk Douglas moved from his first Palm Springs residence to his second right around that same time. Michael also mentioned in a Daily Mail article that his father’s house and Liberace’s house were in the same vicinity. But as Murphy’s Law would further have it, both of Kirk’s former desert dwellings are situated about two miles from Liberace’s earliest Coachella Valley abode, which is located at 1516 South Manzanita Avenue. Because the book Explorer’s Guide Palm Springs & Desert Resorts states that the pianist did not move into that home until 1957, though, I am 99.9% certain that the house where Michael’s Liberace encounter took place is the one pictured below.

Kirk Douglas Palm Springs house (1 of 20)

Kirk Douglas Palm Springs house (3 of 20)

Kirk’s original (and extremely nondescript) Palm Springs house, which he lived in for two years – from 1955 to 1957 – is located at 1069 East Marshall Way in the legendary Movie Colony neighborhood.

Kirk Douglas Palm Springs house (12 of 20)

Kirk Douglas Palm Springs house (18 of 20)

That property, which was recently remodeled and just sold about two weeks ago for $639,900, boasts three bedrooms, two baths, 2,095 square feet of living space, a one-bedroom, one-bath casita, travertine flooring, a pool, a 0.26-acre plot of land, and mountain views. You can check out some interior photographs of the dwelling here.

Kirk Douglas Palm Springs house (16 of 20)

Kirk Douglas Palm Springs house (17 of 20)

Kirk’s second desert house, which he owned for over four decades, is located at 515 Via Lola in the Old Las Palmas area of Palm Springs. The five-bedroom, five-bath, 3,790-square-foot abode, which sits on a 0.75-acre plot of land, was designed in 1954 by architects Richard Harrison and Donald Wexler. The modern post-and-beam residence, which originally featured four bedrooms, low ceilings, an asphalt and gravel roof, flagstone walls, and glass adornments, was commissioned by Robert Howard, the one-time owner of the Colony Palms Hotel, which I blogged about back in May. Howard put the property on the market two years after it was completed and it was subsequently purchased by Kirk and his second wife, Anne Buydens, in 1957. Upon buying the residence, the couple added a new façade, interior atriums, a three-car motor court, and quite a bit of square footage. They also transformed the garage into guest quarters. Kirk later bought an adjacent parcel of land on which he installed a tennis court, a gymnasium and a spa.

Kirk Douglas Palm Springs house (9 of 20)

Kirk Douglas Palm Springs house (10 of 20)

According to the fabulous book Palm Springs Confidential, the couple entertained quite a bit during their tenure at the home. Just a few of the famous guests who visited over the years include Natalie Wood, Gregory Peck, Stanley Kubrick, Billy Wilder, Yul Brynner, Warren Beatty, Burt Lancaster, Robert Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, Lady Bird Johnson, and Lynda Bird Johnson. Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn even leased the house from Kirk and Anne for a summer getaway on two different occasions and Vincente Minnelli held the wedding reception for his marriage to Lee Anderson (his fourth wife) there.

Kirk Douglas Palm Springs house (7 of 20)

Kirk Douglas Palm Springs house (6 of 20)

Kirk and Anne sold the home in October 1999 – for a cool $1.3 million – in order to move to Montecito to be closer to Michael.

Kirk Douglas Palm Springs house (8 of 20)

To me, the residence exemplifies the Rat Pack-style of architecture that Palm Springs has become so synonymous with. I absolutely LOVE the two palm trees that are the focal point of the front yard.

kirkdouglashousecollage

Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for even more stalking fun! And you can check out my other blog, The Well-Heeled Diabetic, here.

Kirk Douglas Palm Springs house (2 of 20)

Until next time, Happy Stalking! Smile

Stalk It: Kirk Douglas’ longtime former Palm Springs home is located at 515 Via Lola in the Old Las Palmas neighborhood of Palm Springs. His first desert home can be found just about a mile away at 1069 East Marshall Way in the Movie Colony.

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One comment

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  1. Jack Kinkele says:

    Note the short fat palm trees in your recent post. These are known as California palms and are different from the common palm in Vegas which are Mexican Fan palms. I have no idea what the very tall skinny ones are but they are all over Los Angeles and Hollywood. It would be interesting to know what the are.


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