Way back in 2016, producer, director, and writer Luc Besson bought Charlton Heston’s onetime estate in Beverly Hills for $12 million. This month, the house—which is planted imperiously on three acres above Coldwater Canyon—surfaced on the open market. Besson is looking for a buyer with $14.9 million to take ownership of this piece of Hollywood history. And responsibility for a job partially completed.
Heston had the high modern house custom built in the 1950s, commissioning architect William S. Beckett to design it. The residence that resulted was avant-garde in its day, and still packs a wallop as a starkly iconoclastic piece of work. Besson had it gutted but the full overhaul was never completed.
In keeping with its era, this modern’s materials are warm, with abundant stone and hardwood acting as ornament. It artfully blends uncompromising geometry with the softening effect of gracefully curving lines. And it is both distinguished from and part and parcel of its setting, establishing dialogue between human engineering and the natural world. It was completed in 1959, the same year that Heston’s most financially rewarding film hit theaters: the Ben-Hur remake that was hailed as ‘the experience of a lifetime.’
With nearly 15,000 square feet of interior living space, it also qualifies as a mansion. As a most unique of fixer-uppers, it presents a new owner with carte blanche to strike out in a new direction, honor the period of its original construction, or strike an artful balance between the two.
The future owner’s taste and the value and size of the parcel will decide whether the home is on its way to oblivion, or a rebirth.