Home Sweet Home
One of the earliest Hollywood movie star mansions, Pickfair was named by the media and not by its residents. The early days of creating celebrity news and gossip was a little rough. They hadn't managed to smooth out the rough edges and everyone needed a headline. And so, the media christened the mansion "Pickfair" out of cuteness and a desire to make this new breed of larger than life movie stars cause folks at home in Nebraska to "ooh" and "ahh."
The marriage of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks began with a regal ceremony and then an extended "storybook honeymoon." After all that pomp and circumstance, they settled into their new home, which the media christened "Pickfair."
In case you folks at home are a little slow, and no, I don't mean you in particular. I think you are just fine and quite intelligent. This note is for people like Uncle Nester who is looking over your shoulder while eating dried plums and making that "ughuth ughuth" sound that really annoys you. Anyway, in case you folks at home are a little slow, Pickfair is derived from taking the first four letters of Pickford and the first four letters of Fairbanks, the last names of our happy couple, and putting them together to form a new word.
In 1911, Pickfair existed merely as stables, but that all would change as it morphed into an awe-inspiring American Colonial style manor with green gables and lush flora and some sort of duck pond. It was, at the time, considered the second most famous residence in the United States of America, topped only by something presumtiously called The White House. However, Pickfair wasn't really all that large, comparable in size to a large one family house in the American suburbs. However, it was the mystical allure of Pickfair that made it so famous.
Stories of the activities at Pickfair were once a devotion of the press. Everyone who was anyone in the movie business attended parties there and it welcomed foreign dignitaries with open arms. There were dinner parties, movie screenings, and according to at least one report, "the enjoyment of peanut brittle as a snack." (I am completely uncertain as to why that has been documented for the ages.) Then there was the pool, around which were hosted many an elaborate cocktail party, but beyond that, there were additions to the swimming pool to allow for "canoe races" and part of the swimming complex was bordered by sandy beaches.
After Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford divorced in 1936, Mary continued to live in Pickfair with her new spouse, Charles "Buddy" Rogers until her death in 1979. It was all downhill from there for Pickfair. In 1988, Pia Zadora and husband Meshulam Riklis purchased Pickfair. Two years later, contractors reported that Pickfair was ravaged by termites and Pia Zadora announced plans to raze Pickfair so Riklis could build her a palace on the same grounds.
Home Sweet Home
Thanks to the "Pickfair Dynasty Webring" for research assistance
and to the nice people who keep old newpaper articles alive electronically.