The infamous Alhambra, Calif., mansion where pioneering music producer Phil Spector shot and killed B-movie actress Lana Clarkson in 2003 has come up for sale at $5.5 million. Surrounded by unsightly suburban strip malls and perfectly ordinary middle-class homes and evocatively known as Pyrenees Castle, the 2.5-acre knoll-top estate’s turreted mansion sits at the end of a quarter-mile long gated driveway that circles up around a fountain between the main house and a detached four-car garage.
Photos from 2010 show the house was woefully dated and depressingly dumpy with stained carpeting, tarnished suits of armor and a variety of Chinese enameled urns but current marketing materials show the house and gardens have since been cleaned out and gussied up with a number of upgrades and improvements. There are nine bedrooms and seven full and three half bathrooms in almost 8,700 square feet. Disco-style mirrored panels line the walls of the marble-floored foyer and imposing fireplaces anchor baronial, wood-floored formal living and dining rooms that both have humongous wood beams across the ceilings, hand-stenciled decorative wall treatments and glitzy crystal chandeliers. The house additionally contains two complete kitchens, a games room, a hair salon and two dedicated home offices plus dedicated staff quarters with a separate employee entrance.
Designed by local architect John Walker Smart and completed in mid-1920s, Pyrenees Castle was built for French expat rancher and businessman Sylvester Dupuy to resemble the chateau that dot the French countryside where he lived in his youth. The Dupuy family hung on to the property until the mid-1940s at which point it was sold and converted to an eight-unit apartment house. The dilapidated property changed hands at least once before it was acquired in the 1980s by a Hong Kong businessman who, it’s been reported, spent a fortune on renovations and decorated the mansion with deep pile carpets and red velvet curtains. By the mid-‘90s the Hong Kong Bank had foreclosed on the grand but forlorn property and it was sold to Spector in 1998 for $1.1 million.
Spector, who transformed music in the 1960s with his innovative “Wall of Sound” production formula, lived in the mansion while he was out on bail and awaiting his first trial, during which time he married his third wife, Rachelle Short, in 2006, in the very same foyer where Clarkson had been found by police three years earlier with a single gunshot wound in her mouth and her teeth scattered on the marble floor. Spector claimed Clarkson shot herself but, after his first trial in 2007 was declared a mistrial due to a hung jury, he was sentenced in a 2009 trial to 19 years to life in prison. He is currently incarcerated in Stockton, California. The Wall Street Journal, where the listing was first reported, reported the property is being sold as part of the divorce settlement between Spector and Short.
Listing photos: Hilton & Hyland (via Redfin)