Once the luxe home of famed Hollywood director Vincente Minnelli and his daughter Liza, the multi million dollar Minnelli mansion in Beverly Hills is completely unrecognizable today. Built in 1925, the 42,500 square foot estate has seen glory, death, lawsuits, and decline. Take a look inside the abandoned house and listen to whispers of Old Hollywood glamour.
1. The House Of A Hollywood Icon
The sprawling mansion on Crescent Drive was bought for $1.1 million by legendary musical movie director Vincente Minnelli in the 1950s. It's a Paul Williams-esque style mansion, designed by the famed Hollywood Regency architect John Elgin Woolf. The vacant house is haunted by tales of Old Hollywood, and there are still traces of its former glory.
2. The Hollywood Royalty Homeowner
A decade before moving into the house, Minnelli had seen success in his directing career. On the set of his 1944 motion picture, Meet Me in St. Louis, the director fell for the movie's lead actress Judy Garland. They got married within a year and welcomed their daughter Liza the next. Everything seemed perfect for the Hollywood family, but the reality was much less idyllic.
3. Minnelli Moved Into The Mansion
As Minnelli devoted all of his time to helming hits and doting on their only daughter, Judy began feeling adrift and suffered from anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. Things got even worse when Judy was released from her contract and began having affairs. Ultimately, the couple called it quits in 1951. Shortly after, Minnelli moved into the estate.
4. An Impressive Acquisition
The new Minnelli mansion spanned an expansive 5,900 square feet. It boasted 19 rooms, including six bedrooms, six bathrooms, a spacious living room, a vast dressing room, and a room dedicated to housing mementos from Minnelli's movies. It was quite an impressive property, and no one could have imagined what would become of it in the years to come.
5. The House In Its Full Glory
In its heyday, the glamorous mansion was a real paradise. Just look at the master bedroom in its full glory. It really seemed like something out of a classic Hollywood dream, featuring an expansive bed, golden curtains, some blast-from-the-past decorative chairs, and a modern en suite bathroom. Minnelli and his family were definitely living the life of true A-list stars.
6. A Hotspot For Stars
Minnelli lived large and spared no expense to indulge his darling daughter. He commissioned stage and film artist Tony Duquette to design a huge playhouse and let costume designers copy the leading actresses' outfits in his films for Liza. For these, the incredible home attracted many stars Liza's age to play dress-up. Unfortunately, when Minnelli's fortune dwindled in the late '60s, the house was the first thing to take the hit.
7. Minnelli Died In The House
In the '70s, Minnelli's career continued to fade, and the extravagant lifestyle he'd been living was no longer possible. Once a glamorous abode Liza had lived out her Hollywood fantasies, the house then became rather threadbare. Still, Minnelli continued to live there with his fourth wife, Lee. At age 83, the once in-demand director was unwell and finally passed away in the house.
8. The House Became A Time Capsule
Of course, the million dollar house was left to his beloved daughter Liza, but there was a very crucial stipulation in Minnelli's will - that his widow Lee was to be allowed to live on the property for as long as she liked. So Lee lived there all alone for decades and "has changed almost nothing in their home… Even his paints and easel are where he left them in his dressing room." It meant that the mansion was essentially a time capsule until 2002.
9. Lee Filed A Lawsuit Against Liza
In 2002, Liza tried to sell the house and offered Lee a $450,000 tax-free condo, but Lee refused Liza's plan and even sued her, alleging that Liza's turning off the electricity and dismissing the groundskeepers had led her to suffer from "extreme stress, humiliation, embarrassment and worry." Unexpectedly, a mere month later, Lee withdrew the lawsuit.
10. A Decade With No New Tenants
As it turned out, the two had reached a compromise for Lee to continue to live in the house. In 2004, Liza sold the mansion officially for $2.75 million, but on the condition that she paid rent to the new buyers to allow Lee to keep living here. It was not until 2009 when Lee died at 100 that the new homeowners took possession of the estate. You may expect that the buyers would refurbish it and move in, but the house has never been remodeled or formally inhabited ever since.
11. The House Tells A Different Story Now
Neglected for a decade, the property is now completely unkempt. Piles of debris and crumbling columns litter the yard. The once luxurious swimming pool is empty and covered entirely in graffiti. Clearly, vandals have entered the abandoned house. Many of the walls in the house are riddled with holes and words such as "Judy Garland."
12. The Once Glamorous Master Bedroom
The once luxe master bedroom of Vincente and Lee Minnelli is completely unrecognizable now. The plaster ceilings are falling down. The once golden curtains have turned into a dingy orange and are peeling away from the windows. Debris is scattered across the aged floor and the shabby mattress. The floral decorative lounge chairs remain, but are tattered.
13. No Personal Touches Remain
We know that Lee left the house exactly as it had been when her husband was still alive before she died. Tables were covered with various books, closets were stocked with beautiful costumes, and photos were everywhere. But today, all those personal items have gone. However, some rooms still contain furniture and artifacts from the days when the house was Minnelli's home.
14. Descent From Glory Into Ruin
Without the Minnellis' personal items, the house seems like an empty time capsule today, and very few traces of its former glory remain. The plaster is tearing away from walls and ceilings in almost every room of the house. Its crumbling exterior immediately betrays the wear and tear the mansion has gone through over the years.
15. Tokens From The Past
Though the once opulent mansion has been left to rack and ruin, remnants of Minnelli's past life can still be found inside. In one room, old vinyl records are strewn all over the floor. A spice chart labeled "Minnelli" on the top is still attached to the back of a door. Other artifacts include assorted dishware and old magazines. All of those items remind people of the house's rich history.
16. The House Has Been Used
After taking a tour inside, you could easily assume that squatters had taken up residence in the house. One fireplace centered in the wall of a room contains evidence of recent use, and some of the trash seems fairly recent, too. There are also new trees planted on the grounds. Is it possible that the buyers finally decide to renovate the crumbling house?
17. The Mysteriously Absent Owners
The new trees have clearly been trimmed, and a utility truck was once seen parked outside, but the house itself doesn't show any signs of renovation. If the current owners do try to restore the house to its former glory, they'll have plenty of work to do. Maybe they're just waiting for vandals to destroy the house beyond repair.
18. A Paradise For Thrill Seekers
Whatever the reason for the house's sitting untouched, the mansion is now a paradise for curious thrill seekers and abandoned place enthusiasts. There are now videos all over the Internet of explorers wandering through the abandoned mansion. Melancholy is abound, as once the home of an iconic Hollywood auteur is now just a shell of its Hollywood heyday.