The Minnelli mansion used to be the residence of Vincente and Liza Minnelli. It might be hard to believe this when you see what the property now looks like. She first moved into this Beverly Hills estate back in the ‘50s. However, the house has since witnessed a death, a lawsuit, and a reversal of fortune. The home still caries whispers of its Old Hollywood past. Get ready to find out what happened to this mansion!
An anonymous source got in touch with Curbed Los Angeles, a real estate website, about this sprawling but abandoned Beverly Hills mansion located on Crescent Drive. The tipster did not know much about it. However, they apparently drove past it a lot of times in the past few years. They had stumbled upon something very interesting…
Tip Gone Wrong
This person was drawn to the neglected “Paul Williams-esque style” property that still had traces of its old glory. It clearly came with a history, but they had no clue that it was haunted by Old Hollywood tales and a recent lawsuit. The eary feel given off was well recognized but if only they had known who previously lived in this abandoned residence.
A little research conducted by Curbed Los Angeles revealed that it used to be the residence of Vicente Minnelli, the musical movie director. Built in 1925, this house was redesigned by architect John Elgin Woolf of Hollywood Regency.
There is not much known about previous tenants, but the Hollywood royalty first bought it in the mid ‘50s. Back then, his career was going strong. However, not many knew that his personal affairs had been getting more and more tumultuous as well.
His directing career truly took off one decade before the family moved into the Beverly Hills mansion. In 1940, he first signed with the career-launching studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He then went on to earn a reputation as an auteur with the release of his first feature film: Cabin in the Sky. This was just the beginning for Vincente…
Vincente Living The Dream
The following year was a big one for both his personal and professional life. He filmed Meet Me in St. Louis, his next major motion picture. Behind the scenes, he fell for Judy Garland, the lead actress and singer of the film. They got married within the year and later welcomed a baby girl together.
In June 1945, Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli tied the knot. They welcomed their beautiful daughter Liza Minnelli on the 12th of March 1946. She became the center of their worlds in no time at all. This small family might have seemed perfect, but the truth was that it was not idyllic.
Claims About Garland
Minnelli kept helming hit films for MGM, but his married life was not ideal. The New Yorker claimed that Garland was suffering from depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. There was more to the story, however.
While Garland was dealing with her issues, Minnelli appeared to only have two priorities. His wife claimed that “he lived to work” and to lavish their only child. With his work and daughter taking up his time, it seemed like he did not have much room left for Judy Garland.
Her Inner Conflicts
Her battle with her inner demons became worrisome as time went on. She was released from her deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, and things just got worse. She tried to take her life twice after that. By 1950, only five years into their marriage, Minnelli, and Garland found themselves in a rough patch.
Released from her contract and feeling unhappy with her marriage, the actress started an affair with Sidney Luft, a show businessman. Minnelli and Garland ultimately split up and divorced in 1951. This year was a pivotal one for Minnelli in more ways than one.
A Little Light For Minelli
Not long after they broke up, Minnelli went on to win an Academy Award for the first time with An American In Paris. He also moved into that Beverly Hills mansion. The home was truly impressive when he first acquired it. We are sure that no one imagined the way it turned out in the years that followed.
The Minnelli estate is located on Crescent Drive and spread out across 5,900 square-feet. This 19-room mansion had 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, a dining room, living rooms, and more. Minnelli, together with his second wife Georgette Magnani, lived like certified A-list celebs. The home for Minnelli was worth the hardwork and workaholic lifestyle.
Dream Home For Daddy’s Little Girl
A profile published by the Los Angeles Times decades later said that the home had huge dressing rooms as well as rooms dedicated to mementos to the films made by Minnelli. The director wanted the place to be perfect for his princess, Liza. To him, it was very important to turn it into her very own dream house!
After the divorce of her parents, young Liza spent six months with her mother and the rest with her father. Vincente took each opportunity he could to dote on his little girl. Emmanuel Levy, his biographer, said that the director even commissioned outfits for her each year. Liza had to have the best.
Best Of The Best
He did not cut costs at all when his daughter was concerned. He also hired stage and film artist Tony Duquette to make a big playhouse on the property. Minnelli had been living large, but he had no idea that his luck would not stick forever. He was simply concerned with the present and ensuring she had the best of the best.
As Liza was growing up in the Beverly Hills mansion, the home became a hotspot for her peers. Actress Candice Bergen said this about the house: “I remember always asking to go to Liza’s to play dress-up…Liza’s father had had the most famous leading women’s costumes from MGM movies copied by the designers themselves — all scaled down to perfect six-year-old sizes.”
Trouble Came Knocking
However, Liza did not stay young forever nor did Minnelli’s directorial standing. By the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, Liza moved out and Minnelli found himself in financial trouble. The house was the first one to feel the impact of this. He had been so hard-working but too much of a spender as it seemed.
Reversal Of Fortune
In 1975, Minnelli directed his final movie. His career was winding down, which made his excessive lifestyle impossible. In “A Hundred or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli,” biographer Mark Griffin said, “Some of Minnelli’s friends noticed that the house on Crescent Drive looked rather ‘threadbare.’” Despite Vincente’s career coming to an end this was not the case for Liza.
His money and star power might have been fading, but Liza was gaining a lot of fame in Hollywood. As a testament to this, she even won an Oscar for her performance in Cabaret! Some reports also claim that Liza was the one to come and help her dad out.
The Beverly Hills mansion, the place where she lived out her childhood days, needed some help. Outlets said that Liza must have made some mortgage payments on the Minnelli mansion. Vincente Minnelli, now living there with fourth wife Lee Anderson Minnelli, was not feeling very well at 83 years old.
Liza returned to Crescent Drive so that she could spend time with her father. She could not stay long as she had to go to France for work. Sadly, Vincente died not long after that. What happened after this?
Reading His Will
After Vincente Minnelli died, his will was read. He had always made Liza his priority, so it was not a surprise that he left the house to Liza Minnelli. However, there was a crucial stipulation in there. The $1.1 million was hers, but $100,000 was supposed to go to Lee. He also added an instruction to let his last wife stay there for as long as she wanted. In the beginning, this was not a problem for either of the ladies. However, things eventually ended up changing.
Vincente Minnelli had been dead for 13 years as of 1999. As the will indicated, his widow remained in the Crescent Drive mansion on her own. That was the year that she got profiled by the Los Angeles Times in the home. The interviewer saw just how much the house had aged.
Same Minnelli Mansion
The reporter said, “His widow has changed almost nothing in their home… Even his paints and easel are where he left them in his dressing room.” The house was basically a time capsule even by 2002.
In 2002, Liza made the executive decision to sell her childhood home. With her father’s widow still residing there, it was no doubt there was going to be an argument. Lee ended up suing her stepdaughter for this reason!
The Los Angeles Times said that Liza started to look for a buyer in 2000. It was only in 2002 that she ultimately sold it. If the house did not belong to her anymore, what happened to Lee? Here was what Liza said when she spoke to Daily Variety: “My father left me the house, saying ‘It is my wish if you sell the house that you move her to a residence.’”
After finding a buyer for the mansion, Liza was aware that Lee needed a place. This was the reason she offered her stepmother a tax-free condo worth $450,000. Clearly, the actress did not expect the response Lee gave her.
The older woman responded to the sale of the house with a lawsuit! She alleged that Liza dismissed the groundskeepers, turned the electricity off, and let the home be neglected. This caused Lee “extreme stress, humiliation, embarrassment and worry.”
Lee And Liza Head To Head
The lawsuit also claimed, “While the defendant is honeymooning all over the world, having fed 850 of her closest friends a 12-foot cake, the plaintiff is alone in a cold, dark house, at age 94.” A month after this, Lee decided to withdraw it. But why?
Living There Still
Apparently, Lee and Liza decided to just work out the issues on their own. Lee managed to get what she was after her, which is to stay in her late husband’s house. The lawsuit delayed the procedures, and Liza officially sold it off in 2004. However, the new owners could not take possession of it until Lee either died or left of her own accord.
Happy Ending For All
The escrow was finalized in 2006, when Lee was 98 years old. At the time, Liza was technically renting it from the new owners. Her stepmother passed away in 2009, which meant that it was no longer her responsibility. What big plans did the new homeowners have for this estate?
No New Tenants
In 2006, a Beverly Hills realtor by the name of Sheila Rose informed the Times that while Lee was alive and kicking, “The buyers will eventually move in and refurbish the house for themselves.” When she passed away, it seemed that the house was bound for a remodel since Liza Minnelli was no longer linked to the property.
A Decade Later
However, no one has moved into the house in a decade. We acknowledge the homeowners were in no rush, after all, they waited for Lee to die but surely they had some kind of plans. Despite this, there has been a reason to think that certain individuals have been occupying the neglected house.
Using The House
The tipster who asked Curbed Los Angeles about the estate said they “noticed some torn drapes through an upstairs window, and my curiosity was piqued…Clearly various squatters have been in residence, and some of the trash seemed fairly recent.” They took a peek inside and found evidence of habitation.
While a couple of the rooms still bore artifacts from the days when it was occupied by the Minnelli’s, there is barely any remains of its former glory. It feels more like a time capsule since personal items have been removed a long time ago. The house now tells a different story in this day and age.
During the initial lawsuit, it was said that the groundskeepers were dismissed, but whether the overgrowth on the estate is a result of this remains unclear. What we know for sure is that the grounds were untouched, and the property was left unkempt in the decade that went by. Crumbling columns, piles of debris, and more are scattered across the yard. It is not hard to imagine the parties thrown there if you survey the grounds. The formerly glorious swimming pool is now empty and covered in graffiti, not unlike the other parts of the house.
In one of the rooms, somewhere who knows their Hollywood history scribbled “Judy Garland” on the wall. The home had previously been described to have “python-skin-covered walls,” many of which are now full of holes. Even though the abandoned house has been cleared out of personal mementos and possessions, many rooms still come with furniture. The mansion last got a remodel during the late ‘40s or early ‘50s. With what is left in the room, it is hard to imagine that it used to house the Minnelli family.
There is one room that comes with mirrored walls, a bathtub, and a mattress. It is not clear if the room was Lee’s or one of Vincente’s dressing rooms. What kind of room has a bathtub and a mattress at the same time anyway? It looks like the interior was tampered with. The home is basically abandoned, which is why both passersby and squatters have all helped themselves to what the house had to offer. A Youtuber called adamthewoo even learned that the house has no running water, among other things.
As the social media star made his way through the home, he made sure to film everything he finds. He had a theory in mind as well. The mysterious homeowners never resided in this Beverly Hills mansion, which meant that all the VHS tapes, furniture pieces, and dishware were all left over from the time the Minnelli family lived there. He told Abandoned Explorers, “Maybe Liza retrieved some things she wanted from the home, but she certainly wouldn’t be interested in old furniture…So those were probably left since the house needed a complete renovation…” There was one room that was especially interesting.
The journalists who visited the home in 1999 said that Lee left the estate exactly the way it was when Vincente still lived there. The tables came with books, the closets had designer clothes, and photographs were hung everywhere. You would not find such personal touches in there anymore. One room with floor-to-ceiling mirrors also came with a fireplace in the center of the wall. He found evidence that it was recently used, which only supported his theory that squatters used the house. As he continued with his tour of the home, viewers were treated to its tale of eventual ruin as well.
The plaster ceilings look like they were coming down in nearly all the rooms in the house. Inside, you will have a hard time looking for remains of its old glory. It looks worse from the outside, but it does not betray the real condition of the house at one glance. As the tipster said, new trees had been planted at one point in 2013. It must have been paid for the mysterious yet negligent owners. But what could it mean? Did this mean that the owners finally want to renovate the abandoned Minnelli mansion?
Sadly, the house still has to show signs of renovation. Yes, this remains true even though a utility truck has been seen outside of the home and the fact that new trees crop up occasionally. It rests there unoccupied, but some people think that the owners want the squatters or vandals to burn it down or ruin it beyond repair. Regardless of the reason they had left it untouched, the mansion remains open for onlookers to sneak inside when they find themselves close to Crescent Drive. Previously occupied by a legendary auteur, the home is now only a shell of the lavish Hollywood mansion that it used to be.
The mansion has since lured in abandoned place enthusiasts and thrill seekers. They wander through the crumbling Hollywood mansion. You will be able to find YouTube videos of explorers going through the home. The current owners, who paid $2.75 million for the house, have yet to move in and simply left it open for these folks. The walls are now crumbling, but explorers can still enter and feel like they just took up residency in a multimillion dollar Hollywood home. A neglected one at that, but still.
The house is not the sole thing that has been forgotten. Throughout the mansion, trespassers have stumbled upon some trinkets from the time that Vincente Minnelli took up residence there. In the room that once served as the master bedroom, there exists a record rack that used to be on the wall beside the bed. To this day, the records remain on the floors.
Still Filled With Memory
This is a great way to find out more about the life that had been lived in the confines of the house. It embodies Vincente’s interests still to this very day. Can you believe it used to be filled with music and life?
Proof Of Habitation
Apart from the master bedroom, it looks like remnants of its past could still be found there if you look hard enough. You might find debris anywhere, but there are certain artifacts that will clue you in that the Minnelli family used to live there. Adamthewoo went through the mansion and discovered a spice chart still on the back of a door. Upon closer inspection, he came to the realization that the top had the label “Minnelli.” What used to be an ordinary piece of paper is now more like a museum artifact!
If you want to understand more about the decay of the mansion, you should see what it used to look like. On the 28th of March 2002, not long after the death of Vincente Minnelli, Getty Images got permission to go inside the home to take photos behind the curtains. Back then, the house was nothing like it is at the moment. The master bedroom looked like a true classic Hollywood dream. Its master bedroom came with a huge bed, an en suite, golden curtains, and decorative chairs.
From The Past
If you see the master bedroom now, you might not realize that it is the same room that served as the quarters of Vincente and Lee Minnelli. The ceiling has chipping paint, while the golden curtains are now dingy orange and ripping away. Eerily, however, there is a signature piece that has survived the test of time. The floral decorative lounge chairs located in the master bedroom are still there, but they are now tattered. Film enthusiasts who go through the home might be able to imagine the filmmaker lounging in those chairs as he worked on one of the most iconic movie musicals the world has ever seen.
In 2019, the Los Angeles Times ran a story about the Beverly Hills house Liza Minnelli lived in. She had been leasing it from Veronica De Laurentiis, but it was on the market once more. The 3,271 sq. ft. home came with a huge swimming pool and a koi pond. It was available for $10,900 per month. As we know by name, it was not her first home with a pool on the property. A huge pool with a hot tub is still sitting in the backyard of her childhood home. However, it has been emptied of water and serves as nothing more than an inground rectangular hole.
You would not have a hard time sifting through the things that still exist in the old Minnelli mansion. Whole rooms are full of old artifacts from their glory days. This is a house with a history, especially when you consider the fact that people like Lee, Vincente, Liza, and Judy Garland lived there at one point. There was one artifact sitting there that demonstrated that it has since turned into a time capsule. Adamthewoo found an old magazine featuring a 1-year-old Prince William from the 27th of June 1983!
Liza must have hoped that her childhood home would be restored to its former glory, but this did not come true. Nothing has been updated or remodeled, much to the delight of thrill seekers who want to take a peek inside. However, explorers believe that they found evidence of what might be the beginning of renovations. In a room, there was a square that got cut out of the beige carpeting and revealed the floorboards together with carpet padding so old it has disintegrated into something sand-like.
If the new owners of the mansion actually want to take on the challenge of renovating the house, they have a ton of things to do. You will find proof of wear and tear that the house has suffered in basically all of the rooms there. The walls and ceilings have chipping paint, with the carpets all torn up and the glass broken. There are also big holes in the walls that have been left there from neglect or by the squatters.
Yes, this house that once sheltered Hollywood A-listers is nothing more than a shell of what it once was. The mansion is now truly something else at this point. Tourists in the area often take Hollywood home tours on buses, but the Minnelli home is something you should look into if you love abandoned places.
An Abandoned Adventure
If you check on Google, you will find testimonials and videos from folks who have dared to enter the home. It has been called “The Hilton for Squatters,” but thrill-seekers are also very fond of this house. Such a shame to think that this was once home to so many fond memories and Liza’s childhood.