5230 W. Linwood Drive 90027
5230 W. Linwood Drive 90027 Los Feliz USA
Spanish Colonial Revival
Home was originally built for Raymond Griffith, silent screen star and later Golden Era producer of Shirley Temple films. (Source: real estate brochure)
Listed at $2,395,000 in 2002. (Source: real estate brochure)
Raymond Griffith was one of the five most important silent comedy film stars along with Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd and Langdon. Griffith’s talent propelled him into well respected comedy features throughout the 1920s as a contract player at Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount Studios, and his career was much busier than the other famous cinema comedians of the time. Unfortunately, much of his best work is lost or locked up in archives. Griffith’s character was markedly different from any other comedian’s at the time. His costume was usually a top hat and tuxedo, and his grinning characters were very cunning. Every situation was another game where he had to try to figure out how to save his skin.
Griffith was born into a theatrical family on January 23, 1895 in Boston, Massachusetts. According to his official 1927 Paramount biography, he was 15 months old when he made his stage debut, playing a baby in his parents’ stage company. When he was seven years old, he starred as Little Lord Fauntleroy. He even played “the little girl” in a production when he was eight. After a stint in the army, Griffith started his film career in 1915 at Vitagraph in New York in Lehrman Knock-Out Komedies (L-KO). In March of 1916, he left L-KO and went to Mack Sennett’s studios at Triangle. Soon after, Griffith appeared in one comedy for Fox, before returning to Triangle where he made over a dozen additional one-reel comedies. For a while in 1918, Griffith became a gagman, writer, and assistant director for Mack Sennett, and he worked on many shorts and features at Sennett until 1921.
In 1922, Griffith moved to Marshall Neilan’s independent studio where he played one of the leads with Priscilla Dean in a serious drama called “White Tiger.” In 1923, Griffith wrote several successful screenplays for Douglas MacLean Productions/Associated Exhibitors. In 1924, Griffith began working under contract at Paramount always in supporting roles, but he had a knack for stealing the movie from its “bigger” stars. “Paths to Paradise” (1925) was his first big hit as a comedian, while “Hands Up!” (1925) is touted by most critics to be Griffith’s best film. In late 1925, Griffith started having problems working with Paramount, and he decided to break his contract with them in 1927. This decision nearly killed his career.
On January 8, 1928 Griffith married the stage actress Bertha Mann, who had appeared in at least one silent film, “The Blindness of Divorce” (Fox, 1918). She would appear in several talkies in the early 1930s. Griffith had first seen her in a stage production on Broadway about ten years earlier. After the performance, he went backstage to meet her, and they began a long-distance relationship.
Variety reported on November 7, 1928, that Griffith was to sign a contract with Hal Roach to make musical comedies, but unfortunately, the deal fell through. Griffith also was supposedly under contract with Howard Hughes, but nothing came from this deal either. Griffith’s work in “Trent’s Last Case” (Fox, 1929) is considered to be the worst film that he ever made. The trouble was that it was a talkie and Griffith’s vocal chords were damaged permanently from diptheria when he was a child. Thus, he was only able to speak in a hoarse whisper, so talking films doomed his acting film career. He made one final film, however, that turned out to be his best-remembered one. In “All Quiet on the Western Front” (Universal, 1930) he played Gerard Duval, a French soldier in the foxhole. In a poignant scene, he is killed by Lew Ayres’ character Paul Baumer. As Duval lies dying, Baumer realizes the horror of the war. Griffith’s wordless cameo performance was one of the highlights of the movie that won the Academy Award for best picture of 1930.
By 1931, Griffith was already well known as a “script doctor,” and he was credited with rewrites on five films that year. In 1932, Griffith was promoted to the job of associate producer, and he produced several films at Warner Brothers including notable titles such as “Three on a Match” (1932) and “20,000 Years in Sing, Sing” (1933). After 1933, Griffith produced films at 20th Century/Fox starring Shirley Temple, Sonja Henie, the Ritz Brothers and many others. Among the important films that he produced were “Heidi” (1937), “Drums Along the Mohawk” (1938) and “The Mark of Zorro” (1940).
Griffith retired in 1940. He had begun to grow apart from Bertha and had an extramarital affair. Although they decided not to separate for the sake of their children, Griffith’s daughter Patricia says that her mother never really forgave him. Also, Patricia believes that her father had a nervous breakdown shortly after he admitted the affair.
On the evening of November 25th, 1957, he was having dinner at “The Masquers Club,” a private club for actors and producers in Los Angeles. He was dining with two friends when he choked on some food and died. Bertha lived until 1967. She died on December 20, 1967 from pneumonia. Raymond and Bertha are buried side-by-side at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Griffith’s prints on the Hollywood Walk of Fame are at 6100 Hollywood Boulevard.
Also home to Producer Patrick Crowley in 2001, and to actress Portia de Rossi in 2002. (Source: www.movielanddirectory.com)
5230 Linwood Drive (Value: $35,000): 1) Raymond Griffith, owner and head of household; 35 year old married white male; married at age 33; born in Massachusetts; father born in California, mother in France; an actor in the cinema. 2) Bertha M. Griffith, wife; 33 year old married white female; married at age 31; born in Georgia; father born in New Jersey, mother in Georgia; an actress in the theater. 3) El-dridge Pitts, servant; 30 year old Negro married male; married at age 18; born in Illinois; parents born in Tennessee; a servant in a private family. 4) Lillian Pitts, servant; 28 year old married Negro female; mar-ried at age 16; born in Kansas; father born in Ohio, mother in Illinois; a servant in a private family. (71st ED, page 29A, lines 18-21)
5230 Linwood Drive (Value $11,000): 1) Stephen Wilmann, head of household; white married male 37 years of age; born in California; proprietor/manager of a leather factory; earns $4,700. 2) Margery Wil-mann, wife; white married female 31 years of age; born in California; not working. 3) Stephen Willmann, son; white male 3 years of age; born in California. 4) Julia Sokolosky, maid; white single female 24 years of age; born in Montana; housekeeper in the private family; earns $480.
Type: Spanish Colonial Revival Sold
Area: 19,500 sqft
Lot Size: 19,500 sqft
Year Built: 1922