Falcon Lair

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Falcon Lair
Falcon Lair is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Falcon Lair
General information
Type House
Architectural style Spanish Colonial Revival
Location Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles, California
Coordinates 34°05′45″N 118°25′56″W / 34.09593°N 118.43227°W / 34.09593; -118.43227Coordinates: 34°05′45″N 118°25′56″W / 34.09593°N 118.43227°W / 34.09593; -118.43227
Construction started 1924
Demolished 2006
Technical details
Floor area 4,700 sq ft (440 m2)
Design and construction
Architect Wallace Neff

Falcon Lair is an estate above Benedict Canyon in Beverly Hills, California, that was owned by Rudolph Valentino, who originally named it Falcon Lair after an unproduced film of his titled The Hooded Falcon.[1] It was later owned by Doris Duke.[2][3]

Valentino bought the four-acre estate in 1925 for US$175,000 (as of 2014, about US$2 million) and named it “Falcon Lair”.[4] He filled the house with antiques and memorabilia from his travels. Shortly after the purchase, he and Natacha Rambova divorced. Valentino retained Falcon Lair, hosted parties, and kept horses in his stable. After his death in 1926 the place was auctioned off to settle his debts.[2]

After several owners, Doris Duke acquired the estate in the early 1950s to be with her companion, jazz musician Joe Castro, and to mingle with the Hollywood crowd. Falcon’s Lair became a venue for jazz concerts. Duke befriended Sharon Tate, her neighbour at Benedict Canyon.[5] Eventually, she settled on a pattern where she would rotate her residence during the year staying at Duke Farms and Rough Point during the Summer, on November 22 (her birthday) she would fly to Falcon's Lair, and later spend the Winter at Shangri La in Hawaii.[6] In 1993 after hip surgery, knee surgery, and a stroke Doris Duke was kept in isolation—in a virtual "prison"[7]—at Falcon's Lair until her death. Thereafter, Lafferty, Duke's butler and initial executor of her will, renovated the bedroom for his own use.

Falcon Lair was sold by the Duke estate in 1998.[2] A renovation project started in 2003 but was not completed; the property was offered for sale in 2006.[2] The historic main building of the estate was bulldozed in 2006.[2][4] In April 2009, the property was on the market for $7.95 million.[8]



  1. ^ Kotowski, Mariusz (2014). Pola Negri:Hollywood's First Femme Fatale. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky. p. 131-132. ISBN 978-0-8131-4490-0 – via Project MUSE. (subscription required (help)). 
  2. ^ a b c d e Hill, Donna. "Falcon Lair Tour. The Rudolph Valentino Homepage". Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  3. ^ Brown, Gordon; Myres, Scott (2008-06-16). Administration of Wills, Trusts, and Estates (4th ed.). Delmar. p. 450. ISBN 1-4283-2176-4. 
  4. ^ a b Soares, Andre (January 6, 2006). "Rudolph Valentino's Falcon Lair for Sale". Retrieved March 27, 2010. 
  5. ^ Duke, Pony. Too Rich. The Family Secrets of Doris Duke. HarperCollins, 1996. p. 185. ISBN 0-06-017218-5. 
  6. ^ Duke, ibid. p. 204.
  7. ^ Duke, ibid. pp. 144–145.
  8. ^ Porter, Wes (February 2, 2010). "Profiling Celebrity Gardeners. The Latin Lover". Retrieved March 28, 2010. 

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