Bob Hope’s historical importance has been enshrined at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and a City Council committee will consider Tuesday if his Toluca Lake home is worthy to be designated a historical monument.
The Planning and Land Use Committee will tangle with conflicting views on designating the 15,000-square-foot home a historical monument.
Bob Hope died in 2003 and his wife, Dolores Hope, died in 2011. A prolific film and television star, he hosted the Academy Awards a record 19 times.
The Cultural Heritage Commission voted in November against the designation, but the request for the designation came from the City Council itself via a motion from Councilman David Ryu, whose district includes Toluca Lake.
The Hope family is also opposed to the designation, and Hope’s daughter, Linda, told the Cultural Heritage Commission it would go against her parent’s wishes because the proceeds from the sale of the home are to be donated to the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation, which she chairs.
The designation would lower the value of the home, she said. She also argued that with the many streets, squares and buildings named after her father, the landmark designation for their home is unnecessary. The Hollywood Burbank Airport is named Bob Hope Airport.
“Clearly their legacy is well protected in Los Angeles,” she said.
She also argued that the home was not architecturally significant as it had undergone a “a hodge-podge of renovations.”
The commission was swayed by her arguments.
“My tendency is to not support the nomination based on the owner’s desire to be able to use the money to fulfill their nonprofit,” commission President Richard Barron said in November.
City Planner Ken Bernstein told the commission that staffers recommended the designation because the Hope home met a “high bar” for designating celebrity homes as landmarks.
“This is truly an iconic historic personage” who is “not just any figure in Los Angeles,” and the home has been “associated with Hope for over six decades,” he said.
The Hopes built the French and Tudor revival style estate in 1939 and used it as their primary residence until their deaths. It was designed by architect Robert Finkelhor, with some expansions and remodeling work designed by John Elgin Woolf.
—City News Service