Place

Bob and Dolores Hope Estate

Lost

Historic places that have been demolished or irreparably altered.

Overview

Internationally known entertainer Bob Hope (1903-2003) lived at the 1939 estate at 10346 Moorpark Street with his wife Dolores (1909-2011) and family for over six decades. Situated on 5.16 acres in Toluca Lake, the estate includes a large, two-story French Revival residence and additional buildings, a swimming pool, and extensive landscaping.  The estate has been identified as National Register-eligible through the city’s SurveyLA.

With a career spanning six decades, Bob Hope became one of America’s most popular and successful entertainers of the twentieth century, appearing in Hollywood films in addition to his broadcasting with NBC radio and television. Hope is also remembered for his 50-year career with the USO (United Service Organizations Inc.) from 1941 through 1991. He hosted the Academy Awards ceremony fourteen times between 1939 and 1977.

About This Place

About This Place

In addition to its association with Hope, the estate at 10346 Moorpark Street is also significant for its architectural design. The house was originally designed by local architect Robert Finkelhor and completed in 1939. In the 1950s, the Hopes commissioned master architect John Elgin Woolf and interior designer Robert Koch Woolf to design a series of expansions.

John Elgin Woolf (1908-1980) began his Los Angeles career in the mid-1930s, quickly establishing himself as an architect to Hollywood’s elite. He focused primarily on residential designs and his clients included Errol Flynn, Mae West, Greta Garbo and Cary Grant. His work, which included both new construction and remodels of existing residences, were characterized by their glamorous yet functional designs, which often included mansard roofs and overscaled front doors. Interior designer Robert Koch because Woolf’s business and life partner. Together, they opened the offices of John and Robert K. Woolf on Melrose Place in West Hollywood.

Woolf’s residential designs were profiled in Exterior Decoration: Hollywood’s Inside-Out Houses by architectural historian John Chase and was the subject of a 2002 exhibit “The Art of Luxury: 9 Hollywood Homes by John Elgin Woolf” by the University of California at Santa Barbara Art Museum.

Our Position

The Conservancy believes the Bob and Dolores Hope Estate is highly significant as a rare, intact estate associated with the Hollywood entertainment industry, with a six-plus decade history owned by a single couple that shaped its design and subsequent expansion.

Bob Hope was one of America’s most popular and successful entertainers of the twentieth century, with a six-decade career spanning vaudeville, Broadway, radio, television and film.

Hope is also remembered for his 50-year career with the USO (United Service Organizations Inc.) from 1941 through 1991, including his live shows to U.S. troops overseas.

While the house and structures were designed by noted architects Robert Finkelhor and John Elgin Woolf, it is the estate’s cultural significance as the longtime residence of internationally known entertainer Bob Hope that makes it an irreplaceable part of both Hollywood and San Fernando Valley history.

In June 2018, the Los Angeles Times reported that Los Angeles businessman Ron Burkle purchased the historic Bob and Dolores Hope Estate. The Conservancy is encouraged to hear that Burkle, former owner of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House, has purchased the estate. We encourage Mr. Burkle to renew the effort to secure local landmark designation for this culturally significant residence.

Before Burkle purchased the estate, in February 2017, the City Council voted 8-2 with five absences to deny listing of the Bob and Dolores Hope Estate as a Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM). Councilmember David Ryu initiated designation by a Council motion. Previous to Ryu’s motion, the City’s Cultural Heritage Commission (CHC) voted 4-0 with one absence against recommending designation.  A minimum of 10 votes by the City Council was then required to secure the designation. Councilmembers Wesson and Krekorian cast the dissenting votes. Without protection from local landmark designation, the house, and the history it represents remains at risk from future development threats.

The Conservancy is deeply disappointed in both the final vote by City Council and the CHC’s recommendation against designation, as the Bob and Dolores Hope Estate met the city’s criterion for designation through cultural significance. In a city with innumerable properties associated with celebrities, the Hope Estate is unmatched in Los Angeles for its 6-decade history with a single couple associated with the Hollywood entertainment industry. Bob Hope was one of America’s most celebrated entertainers of the 20th century, who commissioned this house in 1939, put Toluca Lake on the map as a high-end residential enclave, and actively shaped the estate’s design and expansion throughout his lifetime.

To learn more about the CHC’s action, read the final staff report and recommendation.

Timeline