Architecture & Real Estate | September 3, 2021 1:25 pm

Hearst Estate, Featured in “The Godfather,” Finds a Buyer After $148M Discount

Other fans of the Beverly Hills mansion include JFK and Beyoncé

The terrace of the Hearst Estate at sunset featuring a fountain, multiple pools and lush greenery with palm trees in the background against a blue sky
The Hearst Estate, as seen in "The Godfather," among other films.
Jim Bartsch via

California abounds with mansions and estates featuring opulent design and rich histories. There’s only one, however, that’s also been immortalized on film when a guy woke up next to a severed horse’s head. That would be the Hearst Estate, also known as the Beverly House, where that indelible scene in The Godfather was shot. And after a long and arduous process, the estate has found a new buyer.

An article at details the space’s history, as well as the lengthy process that led to its current sale. Its history began when actress Marion Davies purchased it as a home for her paramour, William Randolph Hearst. (If you’re familiar with the real-life history behind Citizen Kane — or you watched Mank — those names should be very familiar.) The article notes that the couple lived there until Hearst died in 1951.

Parts of the Hearst Estate hearken back to its namesake’s previous home, Hearst Castle, notably its fireplace surround. The property also includes a nightclub which pays homage to the Hugh Hefner-owned club Touch and — as befits the cinematic history woven into its fabric — a screening room.

Besides its history with Hearst and The Godfather, the estate was also where Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy had their honeymoon. Its appeal continues to the present day as well; parts of Beyoncé’s Black is King were filmed there.

For the last 40 years, Leonard M. Ross has been the estate’s owner. The estate has been on the market at a host of prices, the highest being $195 million. The bid approved by the bankruptcy court was significantly smaller — $47 million — though as the LA Times reports larger bids are being accepted through September 14 when a final auction will take place.

It seems like this estate’s history is far from over.