Picks and Pans Review: The Estates of Beverly Hills

updated 12/10/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/10/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Charles Lockwood and Jeff Hyland

The house where William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies lived on North Beverly Drive is a bright pink villa with huge pools and tiny statuary. Pickfair, where Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks Sr. lived, is a bit more tasteful, with curving brick drives and beautiful landscaping. The 10-acre Harold Lloyd estate once had 12 different gardens, each with a different theme. Old photographs by Lloyd show some of the original landscaping, now gone. Walt Disney's estate in Holmby Hills had a miniature railroad, which the filmmaker designed. His family still owns the huge house, but after Disney's death in 1966 the railroad was dismantled. One of the most fascinating estates described in this book full of big color photographs was built by a nurse who married a multimillionaire named Charles Boldt. She spent more than $2 million on a 60-room mansion in Bel Air. When her money ran out, she sold it to Conrad Hilton for $22500, and after his death the place went for $12 million. These days it looks a little pretentious. (Today these estates are all inhabited by anonymous, though obviously prosperous, businesspersons. The real stars have moved farther out, for the most part, in search of more land and privacy.) Lockwood, who has written six books on American architecture, and Hyland, a Beverly Hills real estate salesman, satisfy some of the reader's morbid curiosity about the wretched excesses of the very rich, but this volume is so big and heavy that it will require a whole coffee table to display it. Better yet, just attach legs and let it be a coffee table. (Margrant Publishing, $100)

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