William Randolph Hearst’s Grand L.A. Mansion Sells At Auction For $63.1 Million

hearst estate beverly hills
Originally built for local banker Milton Getz, the Gordon Kaufmann-designed mansion took a star turn decades ago when it was featured in the movie "The Godfather."

The Beverly House, a legendary Los Angeles estate once owned by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, sold at an auction held on Tuesday. The winning bid was $63.1 million, according to sources familiar with the deal.

Listing agent Gary Gold of Beverly Hills-based brokerage Hilton & Hyland declined to comment on the price but says that the auction process helped establish a clear market value for an estate with few comparables.

“It seems like everyone was very pleased with the outcome,” Gold says.

library inside hearst estate in beverly hills

The two-story library/den features paneled walls and a fireplace sourced from Hearst Castle in San Simeon. (Hilton & Hyland)

The future of the 29,000-square-foot mansion was cemented in August when it was announced that it was scheduled to go to auction on September 14 with an accepted offer in hand for $47 million. An intense interest at the courthouse helped push the price even higher, with six parties taking part, Gold says. “It was quite the scene. You have all these people bidding at one time. There was a lot of interest in the property.”

In the end, it was Berggruen Institute think tank co-founder Nicolas Berggruen who came away with the legendary property, according to The Los Angeles Times. Burggruen, nicknamed “the homeless billionaire” for his jet-setting lifestyle and lack of a physical address, was represented by Hilton & Hyland power agents Linda May and Drew Fenton.

carved details and arched ceilings hearst estate in beverly hills

A barrel-rolled ceiling decorated in elaborate stenciling draws the eyes upward inside the Hearst Estate. (Hilton & Hyland)

The compound, encompassing 3.5 acres in a prime section of Beverly Hills, had bounced around the real estate market for more than a decade before the sale. Attorney-investor Leonard M. Ross had owned the estate for more than four decades, and it had been listed for as much as $195 million, which, at the time, included an additional house and acreage.

Designed by architect Gordon Kaufmann, the sprawling estate was built in 1926 for banker Milton Getz. The Hearst connection—the Beverly House is where the newspaper magnate and actress Marion Davies lived during their 30-plus-year affair, helped the grand estate achieve a new level of recognition in the pantheon of Los Angeles real estate. The property is also where Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy honeymooned in 1953.

Considered one of Kaufmann’s finest masterpieces, the sprawling residence is museum-like with its intricately carved ceilings, paneled walls and a 50-foot entry hall with loggia. Other highlights include a 22-foot-high arched, hand-painted ceiling and a two-story library wrapped in hand-carved woodwork. The billiard room holds a large antique fireplace that was sourced from Hearst Castle in San Simeon, Calif.

gardens and pool at the hearst estate in beverly hills

A view of the gardens and swimming pool at the Hearst Estate in Beverly Hills. (Hilton & Hyland)

Gold, who sold the Playboy Mansion in 2016 for $100 million, called the sale of the Beverly House one of the most rewarding of his career.

“I consider this to be my third Super Bowl ring. There are ten legendary estates on the Westside of Los Angeles, and in the last five years, I’ve sold three of them.”

In addition to being another feather in Gold’s cap, the sale is the latest in a string of high-dollar luxury sales in Los Angeles this year. Among the biggest deals of 2021 was the $61.5-million deal for the Barron Hilton estate and Villa Firenze, a massive Beverly Park compound, which sold in at auction in April for $51 million.

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Neal is the Chief Content Officer at Forbes Global Properties. A content strategist with more than a decade of experience in the sports, entertainment and real estate spaces he previously launched a sports real estate column and chronicled L.A.’s biggest home sales for the Los Angeles Times' award-winning “Hot Property” section.