Thursday, January 7, 2016

Hollywood at Home: Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford

Was there any greater movie home than Pickfair?  Certainly no other filmdom residence received as much ink and attention as the beautiful mock Tudor estate of the reigning King and Queen of Hollywood.  (Pickfair being torn down still guts me to this day.)   Life magazine said that Pickfair was "a gathering place only slightly less important than the White House . . . and much more fun."

Pickfair was a hunting lodge when purchased by Fairbanks in 1919 for his new bride and was extensively remodeled by Walter Neff into a 4 story, 25 room mansion that was completed in 1924.  Ceiling frescos, parquet flooring, wood paneled halls of mahogany and pine, a screening room, glassed in sun porch, bowling alley and billiard room could all be found at Pickfair.  The home also boasted being the first private residence in the Los Angeles area with an in-ground swimming pool (old news today).

When Pickford and Fairbanks divorced in 1936, Pickford retained Pickfair and lived there until her death in 1979.

This is one of several photos that really capture the essence of not only the mythical Pickfair but the dashing and enviable couple.   Look at Fairbanks' dapper shoes (spiffy, right?) and Pickford's demure string of pearls.  Just a couple of homebodies.

I love the style of the time.  The curtains pooled at the entry to the living room are divine and were apparently a staple back before people began putting doors everywhere.  As were the steps going down into the living area. 

The curving staircase behind the couple is stunning, making it appear that a rotunda of sorts is directly above.  I die for that chandelier.  Luscious, with just enough bling to not be ostentatious.

What I wouldn't give to be able to time travel back to the 1920s for a personalized tour of Pickfair.  Of course Doug and Mary (along with their family of dogs) would be waiting to show you around . . .

Party time at Pickfair


  1. I ask; Was it M.Riklis and Pia Zadora that purchased Pickfair in the 80's and then tore it down?

    1. Hi SG -

      Yes, it was Pia Zadora and her husband that purchased Pickfair and then ripped it down. They claimed it had termite damage and was in too much disrepair to fix it but I'm giving the side eye to that statement. Regardless, it's another lost piece of Hollywood history.

      Thanks for commenting - - apologies for the delayed response!