Dreaming of a white Christmas at former Bing Crosby estate
A Toluca Lake home still referred to as the Bing Crosby Estate despite a succession of other entertainment industry owners has sold for $4.02 million.
The singer and actor lived on the property from 1936 until early January 1943, when the 20-room house there was gutted in a Christmas tree fire, according to Times archives. Crosby was out at the time of the fire. His wife, Dixie Lee, and their four sons escaped injury.
The damage to the structure and its contents was estimated at $200,000, and the family’s cocker spaniel, a complete collection of Crosby’s recordings, his golf trophies and his pipe collection were lost. Among items recovered from the ruins was $2,000 cash in the pocket of one of Crosby’s coats.
The rebuilt Southern Colonial that stands on the site has six bedrooms, 51/2 bathrooms and five fireplaces in 7,132 square feet. There is a living room with marble fireplace, a billiards room and a den with a wet bar.
The 2 acres of gated grounds include rose gardens, fruit trees, a tennis court with grandstands, a swimming pool, a 21/2-bathroom cabana with changing rooms, sitting area and a kitchen, and a two-bedroom, two-bathroom guesthouse with a kitchen.
The estate was a childhood home of Micky Dolenz, the Monkees drummer and singer.
Subsequent owners included actor Andy Griffith in the 1980s and actor Jerry Van Dyke and his wife, Shirley, who sold the home in 1997 for $1.93 million, public records show.
Crosby won a best actor Oscar for “Going My Way” (1944) and was paired with Bob Hope in the “Road” movies from 1940 to 1962.
His recording of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” featured in the movie “Holiday Inn,” became a No. 1 hit in late 1942 and stayed there for 11 weeks.
The property came on the market two years ago at $10 million.
Shirley Duenckel and Jon Molin of Ramsey-Shilling Associates in Toluca Lake were the listing agents. Anthony Marguleas of Amalfi Estates represented the buyer.