Listing agent Charlie Hallam, a 45-year friend of McKuen, remembers walking through that Beverly Hills mansion only two weeks after McKuen bought it in early 1970 for $290,000. Now, Hallam is listing the 10,683-square-foot estate for $15 million.
"The home's beautiful. It has a wonderful floor plan," Hallam notes. But a buyer will likely want to do a lot of updating to the house, he adds.
'Now is next to nothing compared to where I've been'
McKuen essentially stopped working on the house in the 1980s as he battled depression, which his friend Liza Minnelli helped him eventually come to grips with, Hallam recalls.
"Rod was a recluse," Hallam says. "He had two sides to him: the outgoing side, but then he was very private and he was a real homebody."
While the Spanish-style home, built in 1928, may need updating, it definitely has good bones. The gated mansion includes seven bedrooms, five full baths, and three half-baths along with a full recording studio that McKuen used.
His obituary in the New York Times said, "He lived for many years in Beverly Hills, in what The Chicago Tribune described as an 'eight-bedroom, 15,000-square-foot mansion filled with more than 100,000 CDs and half a million records.'"
'The journey back is always longer than the forward run'
Rooms are large and feature high ceilings and seven fireplaces. The living room features a Baccarat crystal chandelier. Other rooms include a den, library, formal dining room, breakfast room, and atrium courtyard.
While McKuen made do with one maid, the home includes servants' quarters for multiple staff members, Hallam notes. It also has other features one would expect in a classic home, including a wine cellar, pool, sauna, and greenhouse. Although it's located in Beverly Hills, the lot is mostly level and features mature landscaping. Neighborhood notables over the years have included DreamWorks co-founder David Geffen and actress Marlo Thomas, Hallam recalls.
'Sorry no one could see how beautifully happy we were'
And when McKuen died from pneumonia at age 81 earlier this year, the New York Times said of him:
"For a generation of Americans at midcentury and afterward, Mr. McKuen's poetry formed an enduring, solidly constructed bridge between the Beat generation and New Age sensibilities."
Critics scoffed at McKuen, the Times obit noted, but the public and other performing artists loved him, making him widely popular. McKuen's songs were performed by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Johnny Mathis. His musical works for films garnered him two Academy Award nominations.
It's likely that at least some of his creativity originated in this mansion, meaning there will be good vibrations for a new owner to build on.
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