Gershwin's California Home Is Demolished

Classic Arts News   Gershwin's California Home Is Demolished
In a move that shocked preservationists and theater and music fans, the Beverly Hills home where composer George Gershwin spent his final years was recently demolished, the Los Angeles Times reported.

While living at the Spanish Colonial Revival house at 1019 North Roxbury Drive, George and his brother Ira wrote such immortal songs as "They Can't Take That Away From Me," "Shall We Dance," "Our Love Is Here to Stay" and "A Foggy Day in London Town." George fell ill and died while residing at the address.

Despite a letter-writing campaign designed to save the building, Beverly Hills, which has no preservation ordinance, issued a demolition permit in July. The house has a pool, tennis court and chauffeur's quarters. George kept a grand piano in the sunken living room.

The home was built in 1928 for silent film star Monte Blue. Russ Columbo, the crooner who died young of an accidental gun shot, rented it in 1934. The Gershwins took up residency soon after. Bandleader Ginny Simms bought the place in the early '40s, and sold it in 1953 to Jose Ferrer and Rosemary Clooney, then married. The couple later divorced, but Clooney lived there until her death in 2002.

The Gershwins moved to Hollywood intent on making money, so as to return to New York to produce new stage and concert works. They worked on the Astaire-Rogers film Shall We Dance while dwelling on Roxbury Drive.

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