Thursday, November 16, 2023


Villa Collina, a Mediterranean Revival masterpiece nestled in the hills of Los Feliz in the shadow of Griffith Observatory, has a historic Hollywood pedigree stretching back almost a century. Designed by architect Henry Harwood Hewitt in 1927, the four-bedroom, four-bath estate was built for Olympian Clement E. Smoot, who was part of the 1904 gold medal-winning golfing team. A later resident was Artur Rodzinski, famed Polish conductor of the LA Philharmonic.

But Villa Collina became famous as the home of legendary English director James Whale in the 1930s.

One of the most prolific directors of the decade, Whale — portrayed by Ian McKellen in the 1998 feature Gods and Monsters — directed horror classics including Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, Bride of Frankenstein and appropriately, The Old Dark House. He also directed classics including Showboat and The Man in the Iron Mask. “A director must be pretty bad if he can’t get a thrill out of war, murder, robbery,” he once said.

The extensively refurbished home features handmade tiles, a chef’s kitchen with glass Sub Zero refrigerator, a half-acre of gardens with a Roman pool and gazebo, a private tower room and a newly redesigned hotel-style guest apartment that doubles as a spa with a marble steam shower.

Previously sold in 2021 for $5.62 million, the house has been co-listed by Nourmand & Associates agent Konstantine Valissarakos and Richard Yohon at Sotheby’s. For $7.24 million, a buyer can become the owner of a true Hollywood classic. But knowing Villa Collina’s history, they might have to share it with a ghost or two...

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