There’s No Place Like the Hollywood Hills House Judy & Liza Called Home

Judy Garland must have loved houses. By my count, she lived in over 30 during her short life! But there’s one special house in the Hollywood Hills where the legendary actress taught her newborn daughter how to walk (and presumedly how to hit a high note).

Judy, the star, of course, of classic films The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Pirate, A Star is Born, and many more, came to town  in the 1920s and quickly took Hollywood (and its houses) by storm. Thanks to to the Judy Garland Database, we’re able to see virtually all the homes Judy ever lived at, beginning in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, then Lancaster, California, to, of course, Hollywood Hills, West Hollywood, Atwater Village, Silver Lake, Malibu, Manhattan, then back to the Hollywood Hills. 

It’s safe to say Judy moved around a lot. We could possibly attribute this to her restless spirit, the power of her star during this time of her life in the spotlight, or maybe the affordable prices of real estate at the time. While maintaining the homes she shared with her husband at the time, filmmaker Vincente Minnelli, she was known to jet to Europe, or rent a house in Carmel, or even an an apartment just miles away to get away from it all and clear her head. It is rumored she once rented Marlene Dietrich’s former apartment on Sweetzer, paying for a year lease in full, then not spending so much as one night there.

But it’s her Hollywood Hills home “away above the chimney tops” that she moved into with Vincente Minnelli, and eventually had their daughter Liza. Below, Judy, Liza, and Vincente gather for a picture in front of Liza’s playhouse.

The family only lived at the house reportedly six years, and even then jetted around the world so often it was difficult for their friends and family to remember how to reach them. This is the house where we can assume Judy spent the early years of Liza’s life teaching her that fame can be wonderful but that it does not come without its hardships.

Today, it’s easy to see what originally attracted Judy and Vicente to the home. Although back then the facade was said to be pink stucco, obviously that has changed over the years. (Sammy Davis Jr. once owned the home and did an extensive remodel, but that’s another story for another time!)

The residence is located in The Birds Streets of the Hollywood Hills. It’s now a 5 bedroom, 8 bathroom estate that last sold in 2013 for $3.85 million. Before that it sold once in 2007, and again in 1995 for just $500,000. That’s right, at 6,600 square feet, that is just about $75 a foot.

The balcony off the great room provides for sweeping vistas of the hills. Much of the original ironwork, flooring and design has been preserved.

The grounds are private and lush with wildlife.

The views from the “Judy Garland Suite” are exceptional.

A few years ago the home was retrofitted with numerous environmentally green features.

And the resort-style pool is just gorgeous at night.

During this marriage and her time at this house, Judy’s career flourished. She sang “The Trolley Song” in Meet Me in St. Louis and was praised for her first nonsinging dramatic performance, in The Clock, played with Gene Kelly in The Pirate, and Fred Astaire in Easter Parade. As The New York Times put it, during this phase of her life, “she was indisputably the leading musical star in films.”

But then, almost simultaneously as her and her family left and sold the Hollywood Hills mansion her career began to wane. In 1950, living in a string of short term rentals, she failed to report for work on three successive films and amid talk of Judy’s nervous breakdown and drug use, her longtime studio home MGM suspended her contract. Mr. Minnelli and Judy were divorced the next year.

“Over the Rainbow,” the song that became her trademark seemed to promise happiness and fulfillment, but over the years that promise eluded her.  Judy would go on to make several comebacks over the years, always struggling with addiction, a constant need for applause, and a rotating list of men and zip codes. Liza grew up and into a star in her own right, winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for the film Cabaret in 1972. It’s hard not to imagine what may have happened to Judy had she put down permanent roots at the Hollywood Hills house. After all, as she says in The Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.”

The Judy Garland Database
NBC Los Angeles
Locale Magazine
The New York Times

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One Response to “There’s No Place Like the Hollywood Hills House Judy & Liza Called Home”

  1. John says:

    Hi. It is good article. Thank you.

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