Lisa McRee’s favorite room is filled with a lot of things — but don’t be fooled into thinking that the items decorating this cozy den are just your average bric-a-brac.
The award-winning television journalist and anchor of Spectrum News 1 has carefully curated what she calls her “memory museum.” (McRee will host The Times’ nightly show on Spectrum News 1, launching this month.)
Walking through the den in McRee’s 6,000-square-foot Greek Revival home in Hancock Park, it’s impossible not to stumble upon some extraordinary object. On a small coffee table in the corner is an original script for Billy Wilder’s “Some Like It Hot,” and sitting beside that is one of McRee’s five Emmy Awards.
The room is a reflection of McRee herself — a blend of family, career and history. Placed among the many pictures of McRee with her husband, producer Don Granger, and their two children are photographs of her with the likes of President Reagan and President Clinton. On display are signed letters from John Hancock and President Eisenhower.
“It’s ephemera, right?” said McRee, 57. “It’s just paper, but it means a lot. It gives me some sort of special joy.”
Although these treasures are invaluable, they’re not locked in a display case, but instead are out in the open for all to enjoy.
“I come in here and I just grab stuff,” said McRee, a former anchor on ABC’s “Good Morning, America” and KCET’s “California Connected.” “Here’s the thing — if you never put anything away, it’s never hard to find anything.”
Why is this your favorite room?
It’s got all my favorite stuff. It has things that are from my childrens’ lives, things from our family, things from my professional life. It just feels good.
There’s a lot of amazing stuff in here. Anything you particularly cherish?
My husband’s grandparents had all of this ephemera, these old scripts and remembrances of their friends. I treasure all of those things, from Grandpa’s slippers to Billy Wilder’s scripts. Those are things that mean a lot to us.
You have so many wonderful historical items in this room, too. Are you a history buff?
My husband, Don, is a huge history buff. When you run out of things to get your Revolutionary War history buff then you end up getting things like an old shoe buckle, or some dead guy’s wallet from the war, or a bayonet from the Revolutionary War. I probably should get him sweaters but that’s what he ends up with.
What’s the history of this house?
This is an old historic house. It was built around 1912. We’ve collected all sorts of things from the house’s history, including a photo of the first owner’s son. Someone knocked on my door one day and said, “Hello, I’m the granddaughter of the woman who built this house, and this is [a photo of] my father, and he grew up here.”
What’s the story behind all of the presidential photos?
I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing a lot of different presidents. President George H.W. Bush, who sent me a thank you note. We have a little book that President Carter signed for us. Nancy Reagan and President Reagan were good friends of Don’s parents, so we have a lot of mementos and gifts. They’re part of history, real history, but also part of our family history.
Do you have a favorite memory in this room?