“I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Outta Here!”
First let me be clear. Kathy Bates has absolutely no idea who I am. If you mentioned my name you’d probably get a blank stare followed by a gruff, “Who the hell is that?”
I was just her neighbor for six years.
When I bought my house in the Hollywood Hills I did a title search to find out if anyone famous ever lived there. Nope. Nobody. Nada. Which was shocking given it was one of the first homes built in the original 1920’s Hollywoodland development. A multi-story English Tudor nestled in the hillside. But not ONE famous person previously owned it. I would’ve settled for a 1970’s sitcom actress like Joyce DeWitt of Three’s Company. Anybody!
But when I moved in I did get a famous neighbor. Oscar winner Kathy Bates. I’m not sure what I expected. Maybe a knock at the door and Kathy standing there with a basket of warm muffins. Didn’t happen.
That didn’t stop me from making Kathy part of the house tour whenever I showed a guest around. The balcony off my living room had a full on view of Kathy’s enormous brick mansion. I would lead my guest to the railing, show off my expansive backyard with the bamboo trees and lush greenery, and then I would point up and say, “And Kathy Bates lives right up there!” Until one day as I was pointing I looked up and saw Kathy in a housecoat bringing out a bag of empty bottles to her recycle bin. She was glaring down at me. I guess my voice carried in the canyon. So I calmly without missing a beat moved my finger away from her and said loudly, “And my backyard goes all the way over here!” I don’t think she bought it. That’s reason Number One.
Number Two. I was out of town and my friend Marilyn was housesitting and looking after my dog Beachwood (named after the canyon where we lived). At two in the morning, Marilyn was aroused from a deep sleep by Beachwood barking wildly. She looked out the window and saw a prowler poking around the back of Kathy’s house. Marilyn immediately dialed 911. The cops were on the scene in seconds, and after Marilyn explained what she saw, the officers marched up to Kathy’s house and had her take them around back for a look. Kathy was once again in a housecoat (I wasn’t there so I can’t verify if it was the same one). Marilyn neglected to mention she has night blindness and has been known to see blue Smurfs in the road when she drives at night. And Beachwoood barked at any random skunk or squirrel that wandered on the property. So you do the math. And to make matters worse, one poor officer had the fright of his life as he was looking up at Kathy’s house from my living room and then turned back around to see an intruder right behind him! He nearly drew his weapon. It turned out to be a life size cardboard cut-out of Barbara Eden in her I Dream of Jeannie get-up inside an old fashioned phone booth I purchased at the Pasadena Flea Market. My house was nice. My taste in decor? Not so much.
Number Three. The final straw. My sister Holly was visiting. We would barbecue in the backyard and my sister would sit outside in the sun downing her usual cocktail of choice, a Jack and Coke. After more than a few, she noticed Kathy’s dining room looked down on my backyard and she spotted Kathy all dressed up and hosting an elegant dinner party. It was a warm summer night so her windows were wide open. My sister sniffed the air, and yelled with a slur, “What is that, Kathy? Pot roast?”
I think the For Sale sign was up within a week.
Jon Cryer, the actor from the hit sitcom Two and a Half Men, bought the house. But that wasn’t half as exciting as the woman who brought life to Annie Wilkes and Delores Clairborne. In 2009, I sold my house to a relatively well known couple of married actors. So in the end I had to vacate the premises in order to finally have a famous person live in my home. And I hear there’s a better class of people overall in the neighborhood these days. Now that I’m gone.