HORACE HEIDT ESTATES
HORACE HEIDT ESTATES: THE VALLEY’S MOST HISTORIC RENTAL COMMUNITY
Horace Heidt Estates
For Hollywoodmystique, history, and sheer coolness, it’s hard to beat Horace Heidt Estates.Although this ahead-of-its-time resort-living rental community officiallycelebrates its 50th anniversary this year, it’s actually been theliving quarters for some of Hollywood’shardest-working musicians, actors and “industry people” ever since the early1940s.
In 1939, the renowned New York City big band leader Horace Heidt, Sr., was calledto Hollywood tofilm a movie.
“What was different about my dadthan any actor or comedian was that he had a 30-piece band that came with him,”said his son, Horace Heidt, Jr. “So he did something unusual: he bought an oldhorse ranch property in Sherman Oaks so that he could put up his band while hewas out here. That’s how this place started.”
By 1955, he’d begun construction of45 elegant apartment units, large and small, in classic Palm Springs Resortstyle, with swimming pools and an 18-hole golf course. In the mid 1960s, headded a “Hawaiian Village” consisting of115 more apartments, a ballroom, and ten stand-alone houses, each with a pool.By now, the property had 150 palm trees, 14 swimming pools, the golf course,health club, aviary, and seven waterfalls.
The aviary and three waterfallshave since been replaced by a tennis court, and Heidt, Jr. added the newHaleakala Apartments in 2006, but other than that, the property is much thesame as it was when Heidt Sr. had it. There is also the original recordingstudio, production offices, and a Big Band Museum on site.
Most of the tenants are workingfolks in the entertainment industry. The names have changed over the decades(they’ve included Dick Van Patton and family, Ed Begley Sr. and Jr., Bob Cummings,Barbara Hale and family, and Tanya Tucker, to name a few), but the mix ofcelebrities, character actors, production folks, musicians, andbehind-the-scenes professionals is about the same as it’s been for more than 50years.
This past year, Horace Heidt Jr.completed the book “Horace Heidt, Big Band Star-Maker.” A must-have for anyoneinterested in the history of the San Fernando Valley,it’s about his father, the ranch, Big Band music, and the world’s firsttraveling televised talent show, “The Original Youth Opportunity Program,”which was hosted by Horace Heidt Sr. and was, in 1948, the first “AmericanIdol.”
Horace Heidt Estates is at 14155 Magnolia Blvd., Sherman Oaks. For information, call (818)784-8211 or visit www.horaceheidtestates.com.
They’re roadside attractions.