Richard Nixon’s helicopter once landed on the back lawn so the president could play a round at the nearby Lakeside Golf Club. Lucille Ball and Jack Benny drank and gossiped at the holiday parties in the living room. And the homeowner, Bob Hope, tried out punch lines on his kids in the dining room.
For the first time since the long-lived entertainer built his home in a San Fernando Valley walnut grove in 1939, Hope’s 5.16-acre Toluca Lake estate will go on the market Monday, at an asking price of $27.5 million.
The compound that Hope shared with his wife, Dolores, and their four children has a nearly 15,000-square-foot house, a golf hole, an indoor pool and a manicured rose garden. The flat, sprawling lot is unusual for the upscale neighborhood and others like it; in Toluca Lake and similar ZIP Codes in Sherman Oaks, Encino, Studio City, Bel-Air, Holmby Hills and Beverly Hills, there are only 22 properties of more than five acres that belong to a single owner, according to a property search conducted by the estate.
The comedian and movie star collected real estate and at one point was one of California’s largest individual property owners, holding some 10,000 acres in the San Fernando Valley alone. But it was the house at 10346 Moorpark St. that he considered home, according to his daughter, Linda Hope, who still lives a few blocks away.
“The Moorpark house is a very special property in the Valley and something that meant a whole lot to my mother and dad,” she said. “They built what for them was kind of a dream house.”
The sale will mark a major change in the neighborhood that the Hopes helped to shape.
The home, which is listed with Jade Mills of Coldwell Banker and Drew Fenton of Hilton & Hyland, has grown and evolved over the years. Architect Robert Finkelhor designed the original English traditional-style main house, and in the 1950s, John Elgin Woolf renovated it in a more contemporary style, using glass to accommodate Dolores’ desire to bring the expansive feeling of the grounds inside.