The longtime home of comic Phyllis Diller has come on the market in Brentwood at $12.9 million.
The Country English-style house sits on 1.25 flat acres. It was built in 1914 as a summer home for Lawrence C. Phipps, who made his fortune in the steel industry and went on to serve as a U.S. senator from Colorado from 1919 to 1931.
Diller bought the 9,266-square-foot house in 1965 and personalized it to reflect her varied pursuits.
An upstairs gallery is filled with Diller’s artwork in oil, acrylics and watercolor and the walls in many rooms of the eight-bedroom, five-bathroom home are lined with art. Her son and executor, Perry Diller, plans to sell the home’s contents at auction.
He lived at the house during his high school years and recalls the kitchen as being at the center of their family life. “She was a great cook, and that’s where a lot of the activity was,” Perry Diller said. “We’d sit down and giggle a lot.”
Among her signature dishes was a Depression-era concoction called “garbage soup,” he said, which involved any sort of leftovers that were on hand. Chili, spaghetti and pork chops and sauerkraut were family favorites. There was also “heart burn salad,” so called because it had a kick of heat in the vinaigrette, Perry Diller said, not because it caused an upset stomach.
In the decades she owned the house, Diller named many of its 22 rooms. The living room became the Bob Hope Salon after the comic actor she considered her mentor. A large oil painting of Hope, presented to her by the actor, stands on an easel in the room, and a concert grand occupies an alcove. A classically trained musician, Diller played the piano, organ and harpsichord.
The Bach Room doubled as her office and a salon. Her baby grand sat on a stage at one end of the room.
Some room names were takes on sight gags: a yellow guest room was called the Canary Suite; the red-walled kitchen, the Scarlet Scullery; a room with an organ in it, the Pump Room. More than one room was devoted to her wigs and costumes.
But perhaps most reflective of her comic sensibilities are these two: A powder room named the Edith Head for the Academy Award-winning costume designer; and a mirrored telephone room called the John Wilkes Booth.
Phyllis Diller died this year at 95.
Bruce Nelson of John Bruce Nelson & Associates is the listing agent.
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