Get starry-eyed with this DIY, Palm Springs celebrity home tour! Walk, bike or drive your way by 27 homes of classic Hollywood royalty, from Marilyn Monroe to Cary Grant. Remain socially distanced and travel in your own time with this self-guided tour.
Why was Palm Springs such a celebrity hotspot?
Following World War II, Palm Springs became a popular winter escape for Hollywood royalty and wealthy industrialists from the east coast. Movie industry lore tells us that Hollywood studios contracted their stars to be available within two-hours notice. Palm Springs fulfilled the need for a desirable resort town within a short commute of Los Angeles.
Where the glamorous went, the wealthy followed and they all wanted to look as cool as their neighbours! Custom vacation homes were commissioned from leading architects, complete with the latest gadgets and trendiest designs.
Recently, Palm Springs has seen a resurgence as a new generation of Hollywood elite and influencers embrace the desert destination. Also, the resort town’s outstanding architectural history is being recognised on a broader scale, drawing Mid-Century Modern fans from all over the world with events such as Modernism Week. Should Mid-Century Modern design be right up your alley, also check out my Palm Springs self-guided architecture tour here.
About this celebrity homes tour
Former and current celebrity abodes can be found all over Palm Springs. Many of today’s stars keep to gated communities and even some of the older homes are in secure estates (no, you won’t be able to do a drive-by of the Kardashian’s place). Therefore, this tour is confined to publicly accessible streets where you can observe from the sidewalk.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this, dear reader, but a reminder to be respectful of homeowners and their property. Imagine it is your front yard and treat it accordingly. Let’s NOT be the people who use strangers’ front doors for Instagram photoshoots or trod through their gardens. Just be cool, ok?!
Furthermore, the scope for “celebrity homes” in Palm Springs is pretty much endless if you include movie directors, film producers, homes used as movie locations, authors and so on. In the interest of keeping this tour to under a couple of hours in length, I have eliminated out-of-the-way properties and focused on those across the Little Tuscany, Vista Las Palmas, Las Palmas and Movie Colony neighbourhoods where there is a high concentration of A-lister’s abodes in a relatively condensed area. If you have the time and enthusiasm, I have marked some of the additional properties on the map below.
Finally, this is a self-drive, skate, ride, cycle tour of about 9.6km (6mi), which would take about 25-30mins to drive without stopping.
Let’s get underway…
Palm Spring celebrity homes self-guided tour
1. Elvis Presley Estate – 845 W Chino Canyon Road (Little Tuscany)
Make your way to our first property at 845 W Chino Canyon Road, one of two properties often associated with Elvis Presley in Palm Springs. The performer recorded nine songs at the residence some refer to as “Graceland West”. The West Chino Canyon home was under Presley’s ownership at the time of his death and four years after his passing, sold to Frankie Valli.
The home was designed by starchitect Albert Frey in a Spanish Colonial ranch style that he did not employ often. Apparently, Elvis bought the home from Richard “Dick” McDonald, co-founder of the McDonald’s fast-food chain.
2. Zsa Zsa Gabor – 595 W Chino Canyon Drive (Little Tuscany)
Travelling east along West Chino Canyon Drive, not far from Elvis’ abode, you’ll find one of several residences Zsa Zsa Gabor is said to have occupied in Palm Springs though she did not own this one. The 4-bedroom home was built in 1968 and may have belonged to Los Angeles interior designer Hamilton Garland.
3. Kaufmann House (Barry Manilow) – 470 Vista Chino (Little Tuscany)
Kaufmann House is a “celebrity” home on so many levels…The original owner, Edgar J. Kaufmann, was a department store mogul whose other vacation property is the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Fallingwater in Pennsylvania. He commissioned well-known architect Richard Neutra to design this custom desert home—a modernist masterpiece—which he later sold to Barry Manilow. Whether you realise it or not, you’ve probably seen the uber-famous Poolside Gossip photos taken by Slim Aarons in 1970 by the Kaufmann House pool.
4. Jack Benny Estate – 424 W. Vista Chino (Little Tuscany)
Take a right at N Via Norte and again at W Vista Chino, and the blush house right there on the corner is our next stop. Formerly owned by Jack Benny, entertainer across vaudeville, radio and screen, the 1950s home was re-modelled in the mid-90s and retains its Mid-Century charm whilst sporting a millennial pink hue.
5. Alan Ladd – 323 Camino Norte West (Old Las Palmas)
Follow W Vista Chino has it veers left and take the second left into Camino Norte. On the right hand side you will first pass actor, Alan Ladd’s former home which he shared with his wife, Sue. Ladd was an actor known for his roles in cowboy classics This Gun for Hire and Shane. He also established the Ladd Hardware Store that for many years was located at The Five Hundred building at 500 South Palm Canyon Drive.
Ladd’s Mid-Century Modern home has serious design cred. The Donald Wexler design was featured on the Palm Springs Modernism Week 2019 A Peek Behind the Hedges Tour. In an ugly turn, Ladd was found dead in this home in early 1964 after overdosing on sedatives and alcohol.
6. Dinah Shore & George Montgomery – 317 Camino Norte West (Old Las Palmas)
Right next door you’ll find number 317—the former home of songstress and actress Dinah Shore and husband, actor George Montgomery. The home design is believed to be the work of famed architect, William Cody who is responsible for a number of stunning Mid-Mod buildings in Palm Springs including the Del Marcos Hotel.
7. Liberace House – 1441 North Kaweah (Old Las Palmas)
A few steps away on the corner of North Kaweah Rd, let the statues and piano-shaped mailbox lead you to Liberace House aka Piazza di Liberace. This is one of four homes owned by the man who was once the world’s highest-paid pianist, and one of six properties he owned in the broader Coachella Valley. Old neighbours of the performer recalled hearing him play his piano in the evenings, and on Halloween night he would give out silver dollars to trick-or-treaters.
8. Marilyn Monroe – 1326 North Rose Ave (Vista Las Palmas)
Continue on West Stevens Road and take a left at North Rose Avenue. At number 1326 you’ll find the bungalow once rented by Marilyn Monroe. The 1950s built home has four bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. It was not far from here at Charlie Farrell’s Racquet Club, where Marilyn (still Norma Jean at that stage) was spotted by the pool by talent agent Johnny Hyde.
9. Nat “King” Cole – 1258 North Rose Ave (Vista Las Palmas)
A few houses down you’ll find Nat “King” Cole’s former vacation home, which was also owned by his daughter, Natalie. You won’t see much here due to the home’s lush front garden.
10. Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway – 1350 Ladera Circle (Vista Las Palmas)
Take three left-hand turns and you’ll find yourself in a short cul-de-sac where the House of Tomorrow aka Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway is located. This home is known for being a cutting-edge Mid-Century design with the most tech-forward amenities of the day. It is also where Elvis Presley and wife Priscilla spent most of 1966. The couple are reported to have thrown lavish parties in the four-bedroom, five-bathroom abode featuring an in-ground pool, tennis court and chef’s kitchen. The House of Tomorrow sold in 2020 for a $2.6 million. Tours of the home are available.
11. Lawford-Kennedy Estate – 1295 North Via Monte Vista (Vista Las Palmas)
This mid-century home was originally constructed for actor and Rat Pack member Peter Lawford. Apparently, his brother-in-law, President Kennedy, stayed here when he visited Palm Springs. The house can now be rented, starting at $300 per night.
12. Cyd Charisse & Tony Martin – 1197 N Via Monte Vista (Vista Las Palmas)
Two houses down from the Lawford-Kennedy Estate is the former home of actress and dancer Cyd Charisse and her actor-husband Tony Martin. The 1957-built residence was last sold in 2020 for $1.535 million.
13. Dean Martin House – 1123 N Via Monte Vista (Vista Las Palmas)
Another Rat Pack member lived only a few houses down. He bought this home with his second wife Jeanne in the 1960s for $56,000 (the equivalent of about $525,000 today). The couple’s grandchildren were often spotted with a lemonade stand our front. Jeanne got the house when here and Dean divorced.
14. Kirk Douglas – 515 West Via Lola (Old Las Palmas)
Take a left into Cam Sur, right down Mission Road and right again into West Via Lola. On the left you’ll see number 515 which once belonged to the actor, Kirk Douglas. Douglas is known for roles in films such as Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Lust for Life and Spartacus, and as the father of actor Michael Douglas. He bought the home at 1069 East Marshall Way in 1955, before purchasing this five-bedroom property designed by Richard Harrison and Donald Wexler.
15. Goldie Hawn & Kurt Russell – 550 W Lola (Old Las Palmas)
Continue on West Via Lola and right before it veers left into North Patencio Road, is the 1974-constructed winter escape of actors Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell.
16. Dinah Shore Estate – 432 Hermosa Place (Old Las Palmas)
A short distance down North Patencia Road left into Hermosa Place. On the left you’ll find Dinah Shore Estate, now owned by Leonardo Dicaprio. The $4500 per night rental is set on 1.3 acres, has six bedrooms, 7.5-bathrooms, a tennis court, pool and grand piano. The home was a 1964 Donald Wexler design noted by mid-century modern architecture enthusiasts.
17. Elizabeth Taylor – 417 Hermosa Place (Old Las Palmas)
Directly opposite is a large, Spanish Colonial-style estate built in the 1930s by a Las Vegas businessman. Its most famous resident was Elizabeth Taylor.
18. Liberace – 226 Alejo Road/501 Belardo Road, Palm Springs
Backtrack down Hermosa and turn south onto North Patencio Rd. Turn left into Vine Avenue and again into West Alejo Road. On the left, at the corner of Belardo Road is another Liberace property in a Colonial Spanish style dubbed The Cloisters when it was a boutique hotel in the 60s. This home was purchased by the Grammy-winner in 1967 and remodelled with various themed rooms. The performer is said to have died here in February 1987.
19. Frank Sinatra – 1145 E Vía Colusa
Crossing over Palm Canyon Drive into The Movie Colony estate, our first stop is 1145 E Via Colusa, the address of Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate. If you could see through the fencing you’d be caught up in the 1947 E. Stewart Williams, Mid-Century design and piano-shaped swimming pool.
20. Hedy Lamarr – 1232 East El Alameda (Movie Colony)
You can’t see much of this home once leased by Hedy Lamar, actress and inventor, the azalea-framed pink door is worth a peek.
21. Bob & Delores Hope – 1188 East El Alameda (Movie Colony)
Just across the street is the home Bob and Delores Hope purchased prior to commissioning their futuristic, John Lautner-designed residence (located in a gated community). The five-bedroom house on El Alameda was built in 1935.
22. Bing Crosby – 1101 East El Alameda (Movie Colony)
Singer, Bing Crosby purchased this home with first wife Dixie Lee and lived there with their four children. The four-bedroom, Spanish Colonial-style home was constructed in 1934.
23. Kirk Douglas – 1069 East Marshall Way (Movie Colony)
The aforementioned Kirk Douglas property he owned prior to moving to the Old Las Palmas neighbourhood.
24. Truman Capote – 853 East Paseo El Mirador (Movie Colony)
The author of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood rented and then purchased this home in 1968.
25. Lucille Ball & Desi Arnez – 1194 North Via Miraleste (Movie Colony)
Sometimes called “The Lucy House”, the six-bedroom abode is now rented for events and as a vacation home starting from $876 per night. From the outside, you won’t see much more than a ficus hedge and gate. On the inside, it’s a beautifully restored Spanish Colonial.
26. Cary Grant – 928 North Avenida Palmas (Movie Colony)
Also known as “Las Palomas”, this 1927-built Movie Colony home once belonged to Cary Grant and his wife Betsey Drake. Inspired by Spanish farmhouses, the property features the original royal blue shutters and wood-burning fireplace.
27. Al Jolson – 570 North Via Corta (Movie Colony)
Curiously, Al Jolson owned this property twice in his lifetime. He commissioned the construction of the home with wife Ruby Keeler in the 1930s. After they spent the majority of their time at the El Mirador Hotel, he sold it. Later in the mid-1940s after Jolson had divorced Keeler and remarried, his wife Erie Galbraith coincidently selected the home.
More celebrity sites in Palm Springs
Ladies and gentlemen, that concludes our tour for today. Again, check out some of the purple and orange pins on the map for additional properties outside this route. These include homes along with clubs and restaurants that were known celebrity hangouts, namely:
- Copley’s Restaurant, located in the guesthouse of Cary Grant’s former estate.
- Melvyn’s where The Rat Pack liked to party.
- Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn which has hosted Albert Einstein among other celebrities.
- The Purple Room, another Rat Pack hangout.
Palm Springs celebrity homes map
Get this Southwest road trip map by clicking in the top righthand corner, and saving a copy to use later. Maps are saved to your Google Drive so you need to log in to your Google account to do this.
If you would like to nominate a property that is missing or share your favourite—please leave a comment below.
Peace, love & inspiring travel,