The year after 1960s and ’70s TV icon Patty Duke married film and TV director Harry Falk, the first of her four husbands and, at the time, an assistant director for her eponymous series, “The Patty Duke Show,” she purchased and they moved to a city-view colonial-style home perched on a high promontory in Beverly Hills. The Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe winner owned the home from 1966-1970, the years during which she busted out of her bubbly, good-girl image and into more adult roles such as her turn as pill popping vaudevillian actress Neely O’Hara in the legendary cult-favorite 1967 film version of Jacqueline Susann’s novel “Valley of the Dolls.”
Duke rented the house in the late 1960s to her “Valley of the Dolls” cast-mate Sharon Tate, when she was first pregnant, and filmmaker Roman Polanski. Though Tate and Polanski wanted to buy the house, Duke’s said, they instead fatefully moved to 10050 Cielo Drive, where, in August 1969, Tate, her unborn baby and four others were brutally killed under the direction of Tex Watson and Charles Manson by members of the Manson Family cult.
Sometime after the house was sold in 1970, Duke moved to a condo at the celeb-packed Sierra Towers building in West Hollywood, and her beloved Beverly Hills home was many years later owned by Nick Jones, founder of the swanky private Soho House clubs, who sold the property in 2013 for $5.65 million to its current heiress owner, Lily Pollard, a great-great-great niece of Henry Flagler, founder of Standard Oil. After about eight years, Pollard has now put the house up for sale at $7.9 million.
Originally designed by architect M.J. Bussand, the fully updated home was built in 1942. In Duke’s 1987 biography “Call Me Anna” she described the colonial home above Benedict Canyon as “jutting out on its own precipice at the top of a mountain with a twelve-car parking lot, a four-car garage and a 360-degree view of Los Angeles. It’s nine rooms were big, bright and airy, with bay windows and fireplaces everywhere.”
The four-car garage is gone — there is now a detached two-car version — and while the gated motor court will comfortably accommodate a handful of cars, it’s no longer the parking lot it apparently once was. It is, however, thanks to its lofty perch, still airy and full of light, with spectacular views, and, according to listings held by Drew Mandile and Dean Mandile of Sotheby’s International Realty, a total of four fireplaces.
Cleared of personal belongings and staged for the selling process with generic furnishings, the home was designed for elegant living and relaxed entertaining. The foyer showcases a sculptural and eye-catching curved staircase, adjoining living and dining spaces both measure in at about 30 feet long, and a petite bar room is discreetly nipped behind the stairs, between the foyer and living room. A more relaxed great room includes a kitchen awash in slabs of marble and kitted out with all the customary high-end stainless-steel appliances typically found in a multimillion dollar home. The kitchen flows easily into an informal dining area and lounge.
Each of the three second floor guest bedrooms has its own private bath, while the primary suite stretches nearly forty feet end-to-end with a fireplace, sitting area, fitted walk-in closet and spacious bath sheathed in acres of chocolate-brown marble. The main bedroom and the bathroom have French doors to a slim balcony with knee-buckling views over the city, while a separate guest suite, the home’s fifth bedroom, is tucked away on a lower level with an outside entrance, along with another bathroom and a notably large laundry room.
A brick terrace that runs along the backside of the house is the perfect spot for gazing over the city, and a lower terrace boasts a perennially-chic oval swimming pool.
Married to Jonathan Evans in at the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills in 2014 — the wedding was frothed over on MarthaStewart.com, Pollard has lived in California for many years but maintains a toehold in her home state of Florida, in Jacksonville, where tax records indicate that in 2019 she dropped $1.1 million on a traditional home in the quiet and historic San Marco neighborhood.