Los Angeles, Calif.
Rock Hudson home – “The Castle”
9402 Beverly Crest Drive (private)
Situated on a ridge overlooking Beverly Hills, “The Castle” was home to actor Rock Hudson (1925-1985) from 1962 until his death. At the height of his career, Universal Studios purchased it for him as part of his contract renewal. Made of Spanish-style stucco with a red tile roof, the house was protected by a massive gate in the front and high cliffs on three sides, which ensured the closeted actor’s privacy. Oddly, though, the gate to the house and the front door were never locked. A friend explained, “He liked the excitement of the unknown.”
In his authorized biography, Hudson gave a detailed description of the house he loved and spent 23 years meticulously restoring. The interior included two living rooms, a steam room and gym, a theater with stage and footlights, and four fireplaces. Hudson liked to name the rooms of the house, and he christened his bedroom “the blue room” because it was carpeted in a rich royal blue. His bed was an immense wooden fourposter carved with a nude male figure. One of his favorite spots was the “playroom,” or theater, which had originally been a garage. It housed a vast collection of films and all the best in projection equipment. A collection of rare records filled one wall. On the wooden stage, he rehearsed upcoming roles.
The Castle was decorated in what one of Hudson‘s friends termed “early butch” – dark wood, pewter candlesticks, zebra skins, and an assortment of wrought iron. On the red-tiled patio stood sculptures of naked boys. The patio led to a 40-foot pool with jacuzzi and lion’s head fountain, and a 20-foot barbecue that could cook enough meat to feed a hundred people. Also on the three-and-a-half acres was a greenhouse overflowing with orchids.
For most of his years at The Castle, Hudson lived alone with his female housekeeper and seven dogs. But occasionally, he had a live-in lover. When he did, he was careful to maintain two separate phone lines for “appearances,” and to make sure he was never photographed with the other man.
After his death from complications of AIDS, Hudson‘s memorial service was held at The Castle, attended by several hundred guests who were treated to chili, margaritas, and a mariachi band. If Hudson‘s life in Beverly Hills had screamed ostentation, then so did his death.