Star's Homes, Los Angeles
We picked dup a map on Sunset for 6 bucks and I was weary as to how accurate it would be. Was soon proven wrong when in Beverly Hills we came across the Osbourne house!! Unmistakable from the MTV show, it's much smaller than it appears on t.v (everything in Hollywood seems to be!) but it was indeed the Osbourne's home. Also checked out the homes of Halle Berry, Tobey Maguire, Madonna (only the front gate - the house is well secluded, but off a main road), Britney Spears, and the gate to Michael Jackson's house (small boys beware). I'd seen Britney's house in a copy of People magazine (I'm not her stalker, honestly), and this was her house, so the map turned out to be very much bona fide.
$6 well spent!
When I told my friends that I was coming to LA they all encouraged me to do the movie stars homes tour. I didn't have much interest in looking at where other people live, and if I were a star I wouldn't like people peering in my windows, but in the end I caved under the pressure of persuasion and I was delighted that I did.
It was a lot of fun and I saw the homes of such famous people as Richard Falk (Columbo), Lucille Ball, madonna, Tom Cruise, Dr. Phil and the Osbornes. I took pics of the nice ones for future building ideas;-)
Most tour companies offer the Movie Stars Homes tour as part of an LA tour or as a tour on its own. I would recommend taking the combined tour as you see just as much and it works out less expensive to do the two tours together. The combined tour costs around $60 and the Movie Stars Homes tour alone costs $45.
I'll leave the contact details of El Dorado Tours here as that's the company I used. I have to say they were good as they take small groups only and indeed there were just six in our lovely air conditioned minibus.
When in Hollywood, you have got to go and check out the celebrities homes in the Hollywood Hills, whether on a guided bus tour like we did, or by driving around yourself with a star map.
I think going on a bus tour is a bit more fun though, as the driver can tell you interesting stories and facts about the homes and celebrities that you wouldn't know if you just drove around by yourself. I took heaps of photos but I can't remember who's home is who's now ;)
The bus tour also took us to Beverly Hills and past some other well-known places in Hollywood, we also stopped off at Rodeo Drive for a quick look around. The bus tour was booked from our hotel, so I assume these would be available from most hotels in Hollywood as I'm sure they get some kind of kickback.
For sheer kicks drive around the enormous mansions in Beverly Hills north of sunset Boulevard. The excess and often bad taste is pretty amusing and amazing. But some homes are really nice, immersed in greenery and hedges and old oaks. Hell it's not for me, but out of towners love this stuff. Once in a while I go to some party or something in these houses. Here's a pool party. Not really my cup of tea, but the hillbillies were impressed :)
It is easy to find a ready-made tour organizer with a car, driver and a guide. The official guides have knowledge of the area and the history of the houses and the famous owners of them.
Another option is to take your own/rental car and buy a "celebrities' homes map" which is available. Then you can stop more often to take pictures and stay as long as you like.
It was interesting to see and imagine how Marilyn Monroe, Johnny Weissmüller, Elisabeth Taylor etc. have lived/live in their closed and camera-controlled areas.
We spent the day initially at Grumman 's Chinese Theater and the Kodak center . We took the tour company located at Grummans . Our tour guide was lots of fun . We did see Keane Reeves coming out of his home. You just have to be lucky to spot a celebrity . My husband couldn't have cared less but the girls and I had a fun time . Afterwards we went to the Kodak center and saw John Stamos
Driving around looking for stars homes is a must in L.A. It is one of the most exciting things you can do here. If you aren't interested in Movies etc. then Star gazing isnt for you. Buy a map to the stars homes on Sunset Blvd. for about $8 US and you are set. Just cruise in Bel Air and Beverly Hills with your map and your car, and your pair of eyes, and be amazed. Heres a pic of me (at a really young age) outside of Eddie Murphy's Benedict Canyon Dr. home.
--"Don't believe everything you read."
Sound advice, particularly in a place where success can change faster than Michael Jackson's nose.
You can buy dozens of different maps to the stars' homes, and they'll all be different...
The only spots even close to accurate will be those of stars long gone - Charlie Chaplin, for example... in the Golden Age of entertainment, when there were only reporters to contend with, and not paparazzi, stars were people - just famous people - and so they might even be in the phone book, name, address & number.
But today, you gotta dig for an address, deal with guards, dogs, gates, fences, alarms and sometimes, as in the case of the new-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, private hilltops... (the Schwarzecompound is on top of a hill, off (street name I'll have to dig up), along a busy stretch with no place for cars to stop (it's a small highway) or pedestrians to walk. The front gate is remote-controlled, and there's NO space in front of it to stop for a picture).
One day my friends and I were going to go to Magic Mountain, but it was closed. So instead we bought a map of the stars homes and drove around for a few hours trying to see beyond the gates.
Although this is very hollywood and touristy it was a lot of fun. We found some of our favorite actors' homes, and took pictures in front of them. It did get hectic when traffic really got bad, and a lot of the time was spent near or on Sunset because that's where the houses were. But it was fun to be goofy and drive around looking for these famous peoples' houses.
If you have a cool phone at hand, you can find out homes nearby where you are with door to door directions. Sites like Celebrityseeing.com will provide you a list of celebrity homes ordered by distance from your current location.
The Homes we saw;
Jack Nicholson’s with a tennis court on stilts over the canyon, John Travolta’s with 7 stories down a cliff side, Britney Spears current and her new house being upgraded, Wilt Chamberlains (now Ron Howards), Jennifer Lopez, Meg Ryans – every room has a canyon balcony, Julia Roberts, Leonardo DiCaprio – solar hallway, Sally Fields, Jermaine Jacksons, Lucille Balls, Oprahs, and even the restroom where George Michel had his incident…. We actually saw old Charlton Heston walking out his back door onto his patio wearing lounge clothes (pajamas)
It may seem a bit of a cheesy thing to do, but a trip round the movie stars homes in Beverley Hills is a good trip. You really get to see how the other half live. I expected to see gates at the end of driveways and not alot else. But you actually do see some very close up - Tom Hank's house inparticular. They are impressive and you may actually get to see a famous face - I spotted the one and only Kirk Douglas - Spartacus himself. Which was the highlight of my entire time in Los Angeles.
Do not spend too much time going around the houses in Beverly Hills, it's not big deal. It's better if you lose some time in Rodeo Drive shoping (or just watching, he,he)
It might sound cliche but you should take a drive through the Hollywood Hills. Whether it's to check out all the ridiculously huge houses or just get an amazing view of L.A...it's a must.
...I searched Hollywood Star's homes...but once there you can't see that much or anything as they are very well guarded or/and mostly behind walls or heavy vegetation!