Last September I was called to report for jury duty at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Downtown Los Angeles. As you can probably guess, I was not too excited for this venture. I perked up, though, when on my first day of service, I arrived at the courthouse to see a whole slew of paparazzi standing out front. Hoping BritBrit was there for a custody hearing, I asked one of the paps what news story he was covering and it turns out he was awaiting the verdict in the Phil Spector murder trial. Later that day I ended up being selected to serve on a jury for a brief four day trial and was floored to find out that the Phil Spector trial was actually taking place in the courtroom directly next door to mine! Due to jury deliberations, though, Phil was not actually at the courthouse. But a few days later, on September 26th to be exact, I returned from lunch to see Phil and his wife waiting outside the courtroom for his verdict to be read. Phil was definitely an oddball and didn’t seem as if he was entirely all there. And boy is he tiny!!!! He is probably about 5′ tall – while wearing platforms, no less! Seeing Phil during jury duty was definitely an “Only-in-L.A.” moment for me and really made the whole thing worthwhile. 🙂 Other “Only-in-L.A.” moments: looking at the hundreds of celebrity headshots on the jury waiting room walls detailing which stars have served their public duty at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center. But my personal favorite “Only-in-L.A.” moment was when our jury orientation included directions to the nearest Starbucks! I am not kidding! LOL
So in keeping with my October theme of all things haunted in Hollywood, I had to drag my boyfriend out to stalk Phil’s mansion this past weekend. It was at this home on February 3, 2003, that actress Lana Clarkson was shot to death – whether by her own hand or by Phil’s has yet to be determined. I got the address of Phil’s house from my very favorite star map – “The Movie Star Homes and Crime Scenes Map”. But, map or no map, I don’t think the home would have been hard to locate, as there is a large sign at the front gate which reads “Phil Spector’s Pyrenees Castle”. LOL Apparently before Lana’s death the sign read simply “Pyrenees Castle, 1700 Grand View Drive”, but during his murder trial he had it changed to its current wording. I swear, this guy couldn’t be more of a douchbag.
From the front gate of the home there is not a whole lot to see, other than signs warning against trespassing and alerting stalkers that the property is under 24 hour camera surveillance. There was no way I was getting out of the car for a photo op at this location as I imagine Phil doesn’t take too kindly to people posing for pics outside of his house. Then again, maybe he doesn’t mind too much – I mean he did put that sign out front! LOL
After seeing the front gate area, we drove around to Alta Vista Drive where there is a much better view of the home from the street.
After hitting up Alta Vista Drive, we headed over to Parkview Drive for yet another view of the house.
Sadly none of the streets offered an outstanding view of the home, but you can cyberstalk it on Zillow to see some better photos. Phil’s castle/mansion is actually located in a very modest, middle class neighborhood far from the lavish streets of Beverly Hills. Until reading this article, I was under the impression that Phil had actually built the home, but it turns out it was constructed in 1926 long before the “Wall of Sound” had been created. A very successful Frenchman by the name of Sylvester Dupuy spent about $250,000 to have the home built and he modeled it after a real chateau in France that he had admired as a child. The house was built on a three acre lot in the middle of a large expanse of vacant land. In 1936, ten years after the home’s construction, Dupuy died and left the property to his children. At the time of Dupuy’s death most of the fortune he had amassed from his successful agriculture business was gone. In 1946, Dupuy’s children sold the castle and it was converted into an eight room apartment building where Dupuy’s widow lived until her death. After a string of different owners, Phil Spector purchased the home in 1998 and had this to say about it, “I’ve bought myself a beautiful and enchanting castle in a hick town where there is no place to go that you shouldn’t.” I wouldn’t exactly call Alhambra a “hick town”, but I guess to a famous record producer and in comparison to Beverly Hills, the city might seem a bit “hickish”. LOL
I couldn’t figure out where the name “Pyrenees Castle” came from until looking at the above map. I believe at one time the castle’s land butted up to nearby Pyrenees Road, hence the name. In the years since its construction, much of the land must have been sold off and the property’s boundary line scaled back to Grand View Drive.
Until next time, Happy Stalking! 🙂
Stalk It: Phil Spector’s Pyrenees Castle is located at 1700 Grand View Drive in Alhambra. The main gate and sign reading “Phil Spector’s Pyrenees Castle” can be seen at the Grand View Drive entrance. But for the best views of the home, head over to Alta Vista Drive and follow it to where it ends at Phil’s back gate. After that, follow Parkview Drive to where it curves for a side view of the home.