Palm Springs, California has long been a playground for the biggest Hollywood celebrities. With proximity to Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix, good weather and over 100 golf courses, movie stars such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Cary Grant had homes in Palm Springs. The Coachella Valley area, which includes both Palm Springs and Palm Desert, has one of the most important collections of mid-century-style architecture in the world. One of these homes was the long time residence of Kirk and Anne Douglas where they lived with their sons Michael, Joel, Peter and Eric for over 42 years, until they sold it in 1999.
The 4,000-square-foot home, designed by Donald Wexler in 1954 for the owner of the champion racehorse Seabiscuit, retains the purity of Wexler’s original design with its flagstone-and-pecky cypress foyer, walls of floor-to-ceiling glass and beamed ceilings. The open floor plan includes formal dining and sitting areas with casual fireside seating, the original mirrored wet bar reminding of old Hollywood, updated baths and kitchen. The five bedrooms and eight baths include two master suites – Kirk’s suite and Anne’s suite designed each to their personal preferences, both opening to terraces overlooking the mature landscaped grounds. A large interior atrium opens the main rooms to outdoor living and the exterior gated perimeter wall encloses gardens, pool terrace and tennis court. The new owner is now the next door neighbor of Leonardo DiCaprio, who recently purchased Dinah Shore’s former home.
At 99, Kirk Douglas is one of the few Old Hollywood great actors still living. With all the challenges of a poor childhood helping his immigrant parents to thrive in their new country, hard work and determination were no strangers to Douglas. He once explained, “Acting is the most direct way of escaping reality, and in my case it was a means of escaping a drab and dismal background.” Among his 60 films, some of his best known acting roles have been “Lust for Life,” “Spartacus,” and “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.” Douglas has received numerous international film awards and honors over his lifetime including lifetime achievement awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom award from President Ronald Reagan for his and his wife’s private international trips to promote democracy around the world. Now retired from acting, producing and directing, Douglas has authored eleven books and still writes a blog that has been hosted by the “Huffington Post” since 2012. Keeping it all in the family, Kirk’s four sons have all followed him into the film industry.
The Palm Springs mid-century modern family vacation retreat of the Kirk Douglas family has sold near the asking price of $3.45 million. Jim Schwietz of Bennion Deville Homes – Palm Springs was the listing agent.