Villa Paradiso was a perfect match for movie star heartthrob Cary Grant and he was drawn to it like moths to a porch light. Both were elegant, gracious, sophisticated and one of a kind.
With Grant, it was his magnetic personality and suave urban style lightly disguising a rather British sense of humor, fun and eye for adventure.
We remember him and re-watch An Affair to Remember, North by Northwest and so many more that have become classics.
Villa Paradiso was pure luxury that took full advantage of its Palm Springs environment of mountain views and desert setting.
It was the celebrity playground close enough to the Hollywood studios that provided a quick getaway for golf and partying with peers.
Many of the big stars of the 1950s through the 1980s purchased vacation homes there where they could entertain their friends or have private down time and Palm Springs has been experiencing a new popularity with current generations.
But Cary Grant lucked out when it came to Palm Springs real estate.
Why buy a whole property with its upkeep and necessary monitoring when one could have at least a semi-permanent home on someone else’s estate.
Cary wasn’t short of friends and Las Vegas hotel owner Charlie “Kewpie” Rich built a pool guest house just for him.
Grant was actually the one who named the estate Villa Paradiso, because like he said when referring to the property, “It was all of that and more.”
Villa Paradiso was built in 1928 by an unnamed Chicago heiress, and later purchased by Las Vegas Dunes Hotel owner Charlie “Kewpie” Rich.
The mansion and its three guest houses occupy almost four acres, dwarfing other homes in the heart of the Old Las Palmas neighborhood.
Rich built the pool house for Grant while he was married to Dyan Cannon – Cary’s fourth marriage. The couple stayed there often with their daughter Jennifer.
In Jennifer’s book Good Stuff, a memoir about her father, she referred to the Villa many times as “‘Uncle Charlie’s lush, four-acre Coachella Valley oasis’ and ‘I learned to drive a golf cart and play putt-putt on that lawn.
We stayed in the pool house, near the good-for-guppy-hunting pond and gorgeous rose gardens.’”
She also described it as “my adolescent wonderland” and a “desert Disneyland” and when writing about Charlie Rich, said, “Uncle Charlie was a staple in our life. Kewpie was maybe five feet tall, bald as they come, with a year-round tan (sometimes orange out of the Coppertone bottle – which Dad heckled him for) and a heart that never stopped giving.”
The main villa with its Moorish architecture was built with 17-inch thick walls – perfect for maintaining a cooler indoor temperature in the desert sun.
The large foyer tips its hat to entertainment with show/film posters colorfully covering the wall curving up the grand stairway.
Formal and informal rooms still have their old Hollywood glamour within the structure’s exotic walls with spacious public rooms and terraces designed for entertaining.
The Cary Grant pool house interior is almost identical to when the Grant family lolled away their weekends at the pool.
The walled and gated acreage has four separate buildings – the main villa with two bedrooms, a fireplace, living room, kitchen and three guest residences.
In total, the homes make up about 15,000 square feet of living space with eight bedrooms, fourteen baths, three kitchens, four living rooms and a climate controlled four-car garage.
The grounds have large expanses of lawn, a swimming pool, pond, over one hundred palm trees, several eighty-year-old Cypress trees, panoramic mountain views and complete privacy.
Listing agents are Marc Lange and Carl Blea of HOM Sotheby’s, Palm Springs, California.
Vacation or live year-round in the style of Cary Grant in Palm Springs – Hollywood’s playground of the stars; now seeing an influx of new celebrities and fans of mid-century architecture.
Villa Paradiso is priced at $13 million.