The former estate of Hollywood Mogul Harry M. Warner, one of the founders of Warner Brothers Studio, is currently on the market and today’s open house is an ideal opportunity to view a historic property in our area. The listing price is $5,800,000.
Located at 501 S. Rossmore Avenue, the story goes the home was sold or refinanced in order to fund the first talking picture, “The Jazz Singer” with Al Jolson, according to Windsor Square Hancock Park Historical Society President Richard Battaglia.
“This house was on our 2019 home tour when it was the home of the late Jim Inman,” wrote Battaglia in an email to historical society members. “Previously the house was owned by current Historical Society member, Gerry Kimbrough. If you do venture inside be sure to view the basement screening room where the projection room still has its window but was turned into a powder room.”
The following history was written by Jane Gilman, founder and former publisher of the Larchmont Chronicle, for the historical society’s home tour.
The architect of this Georgian Colonial home was A. Burnside Sturges. The home has seven bedrooms and five and one-half baths. The basement contains the original screening room with paneled walls and a movie projection booth. The house, tennis court, swimming pool, and guesthouse are on the 30,000-square-foot property.
Built in 1923, it was purchased by Harry Warner, one of the four Warner brothers who founded the movie studio bearing their name. When the movie company ran into financial difficulties in the mid-1920s, Sam Warner persuaded his brothers to develop a patent on Vitaphone that made “talkies” possible. It is said that Harry Warner had to sell his home to help finance the movie, “The Jazz Singer,” filmdom’s first talking picture.
The book, “Hollywood Be Thy Name,” written by Harry Warner’s granddaughter, Cass Warner Sperling with Jack Warner, Jr. and Cork Millner includes photos with the family at the 501 address. Warner sold the house a year later to William Dye. The next owner was Jerry Kent (1929 to 1931) general manager of the Midfield Oil Company and his wife Lillian. Helen Irwin owned the property from 1935 to 1937, and she sold it to Dr. Clyde Early. Dr. Early, who lived in the home from 1937 to 1941, was the owner and director of Golden State Hospital. He served on the staff of California Hospital and Cedars. He and his wife Hazel had a son, Jack. The Earlys sold the house to Clara Naftzger in 1941 and six years later the property was sold to William Kays. The next owner, in 1950, was Arthur Kimbrough who lived in the Rossmore Avenue home until his death in 1992. An attorney, Kimbrough graduated from UCLA and UC-Berkeley Law School. He was a partner in the law firm of Latham & Watkins. After he died, his widow Gerry remodeled the house. All the bathrooms were remodeled, and the pool was upgraded. She had flooring installed around the pool and added a barbecue. The guest house was remodeled. In 2010, Thomas Seltz and his wife moved in with their twin girls. Six years later, David Tannous purchased the home. The current owner bought the home in 2017.
The house is currently listed by John Duerler of Hancock Homes, a member of the historical society and a Buzz advertiser.