Arnold Kirkeby

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Arnold Kirkeby
Born Arnold Sigurd Kirkeby
(1901-06-12)June 12, 1901
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died March 1, 1962(1962-03-01) (aged 60)
Jamaica Bay, New York, U.S.
Cause of death Crash of American Airlines Flight 1
Resting place Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
Occupation Hotelier, real estate investor, art collector
Spouse(s) Carlotta Cuesta (m. 1928)

Arnold Sigurd 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 television show The Beverly Hillbillies.[1]


Kirkeby was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Norwegian immigrants. He was married to Carlotta Cuesta (1906–1985), 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, California.

After selling the hotel chain, he then invested in the Janss Investment Company development of Westwood, Los Angeles, California in 1959.[2][3] As part of this project, Kirkeby broke ground on the Kirkeby Center on Wilshire Boulevard in 1960, but died before the building was completed. Kirkeby Center is now known as the Occidental Petroleum Building, and is the home of the Armand Hammer Museum.[4]

Television fans will note that Kirkeby owned the stately mansion located at 750 Bel Air Road, Bel Air, California used for exterior shots in the hit CBS sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies. 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 in the 1960 film Cinderfella.

Kirkeby died aboard American Airlines Flight 1 when it crashed shortly after takeoff from New York City.[2]


The Sherry-Netherland Hotel in New York

The Kirkeby Hotel organization included:




New York

New Jersey





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