His unforgettably unusual name won’t likely ring a lot of bells for post-Millennial music lovers in the same way those of some of today’s more inventively named pop stars like Charli XCX, Lil Nas X and H.E.R. do. But silky-voiced British balladeer Engelbert Humperdinck, now 86, is a legendary entertainer who still dons a dark suit and struts his stuff on international stages, mostly to the delight of people of a certain age.
Over his seven decades in show business, the “Release Me” singer has sold more than 140 million records, with 64 gold and 35 platinum albums, headlined hundreds of Las Vegas shows, performed for the Queen of England four times, appeared on “The Love Boat” and “Fantasy Island,” been immortalized on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and represented the UK in the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, though he finished 25th out of 26 contestants. He recently performed at London’s Palladium, and he has concert dates booked across the United States and Canada throughout the summer and fall.
In his heyday, the wavy maned, sometimes bearded or mustachioed and often prodigiously side burned “Quando, Quando, Quando” crooner, whose given name is the far more prosaic Arnold Dorsey, was so appealing to women around the world that his late wife Patricia, who passed last year after nearly 60 years of marriage, joked they could wallpaper their bedroom in all the paternity lawsuits filed against her husband. (As it turns out, two women did successfully sue Humperdinck for paternity in the 1970s and ‘80s.)
On the real estate front, Humperdinck was the last showbiz owner of what’s known as the Pink Palace in L.A.’s Holmby Hills. Built for teen idol Rudy Vallée, the Sunset Boulevard mansion was made famous when pinup icon Jayne Mansfield bought it, painted it bubblegum-pink and added a heart-shaped swimming pool. It was later rented or owned by Ringo Starr and Mama Cass Elliot. Humperdinck purchased the 40-room manse in 1976 and owned it until 2002, after which it was razed and the land incorporated into the neighboring Owlwood estate, which changed hands last year for $88 million.
It was a few years after they sold the Pink Palace that the Humperdincks acquired another pale pink house, in the upper reaches of Bel Air just south of the Stone Canyon Reservoir. Scooped up in 2005 for about $3 million, the stone quoined 1980s neo-Mediterranean is now back up for sale at $6.2 million with David Kessler of Coldwell Banker Realty and Allisun Sturges at FrontGate Real Estate.
Marketed as an “Excellent opportunity” for developers, owner/users, and visionaries to “reimagine the home for today’s lifestyle or build your own,” the ridgeline residence sits on almost a third of an acre with sweeping canyon, mountain, and partial city views.
Though likely to be radically altered or torn down entirely, the existing house spans more than 5,600 square feet, with five bedrooms and six and a half bathrooms that include a separate one-bed/one-bath apartment with its own entrance, living room and kitchen. The foyer is double height with an inlaid marble floor, the combination living/dining room spills out to a huge but otherwise featureless terrace that hangs over the canyon, and the kitchen is arranged around a granite-topped island beneath a lighted floral-pattern stained-glass ceiling.
Tucked away on a lower level, there’s a sound-baffled movie theater. Other interior spaces include a wine cellar, a fitness area and sauna, and a massive game room. Due to steep slope that falls away at the back of the house, the heated swimming pool and spa were placed in the front yard, where they’re surrounded by brick-red concrete and tightly hemmed by a meticulously clipped hedge.
Born in India and brought to the U.K. by his parents at ten, Humperdinck has long maintained another, though much older stone-quoined red-brick home in Leicester, England. The sprawling estate includes its own pub, The Red Fox, and a ballroom converted to an office filled with a lifetime of memorabilia, along with extensive gardens, a swimming pool, and a tennis court.