Arnold Kirkeby

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Arnold Kirkeby (June 12, 1901 – March 1, 1962) was an American hotelier, art collector and real estate investor.

He is now best known for owning the mansion in the West Los Angeles suburb of Bel-Air, which was the exterior set for the CBS TV show The Beverly Hillbillies.[1]


Arnold S. Kirkeby was born on June 12, 1901, in Chicago, Illinois, and died in March 1962 in the American Airlines plane crash just after leaving New York known as American Airlines Flight 1.[2]

TV fans will note that Kirkeby owned the stately mansion used for the hit CBS sitcom "The Beverly Hillbillies" exterior shots, located at 750 Bel Air Road, Bel Air, California. Series producer Paul Henning paid the family (Mr. Kirkeby was killed in a plane crash prior to the series debut) $500 per day for filming on the mansion's grounds. The mansion's interior and rear were duplicated on Stage 4 at General Service Studios. Contractual provisions at the time prevented disclosure of the mansion's address in press releases and required restoration of the grounds after each shoot. The mansion had been previously used by Jerry Lewis for 1960's "Cinderfella."

The son of Norwegian immigrants, he was married to Carlotta Cuesta, the daughter of Angel LaMadrid Cuesta, founder of the Cuesta-Rey Cigar Company based in Tampa, Florida.

Arnold Kirkeby was the founder of the Kirkeby Hotel chain, beginning in Chicago with the Drake Hotel, and ending his hotel interests when he sold the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, CA.

After selling the hotel, he then invested in the Janss Brothers' Westwood, Los Angeles, California development in 1959.[3] As part of this project, Kirkeby broke ground on the Kirkeby Center on Wilshire Boulevard in 1960, but died in the crash of American Airlines Flight 1 on March 1, 1962, before the building was completed.

The Kirkeby Center is now known as the Occidental Petroleum headquarters, and is also now the home of the Armand Hammer museum.


The Sherry-Netherland Hotel in New York

The Kirkeby Hotel organization included:


  1. ^
  2. ^,9171,939941,00.html
  3. ^
  4. ^ Peninsula Hotels
  5. ^,9171,797863,00.html

External links[edit]

Ron Fields Designs: Memories of Westwood [1]