Many early film stars chose Playa Del Rey as home because it was very close to the studio lots; including MGM, in nearby Culver City. I will be writing about many of these stars in upcoming weeks.
Charles Bickford (January 1, 1891 – November 9, 1967) was an American actor best known for his supporting roles. He was nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, for The Song of Bernadette (1943), The Farmer's Daughter (1947), and Johnny Belinda (1948). Other notable roles include Whirlpool (1948), A Star is Born (1954) and The Big Country (1958). (Wikipedia).
Bickford was an unruly child, and often in trouble with the law. As a 12 year old boy, he beat a man to death for poisoning his dog, but was granted a reprieve.
Hard-fighting, strong, durable, redhead Charles Bickford graduated from MIT before he began appearing in burlesque in 1914. After serving in World War I, he started a career on Broadway in 1919.
He didn't come to Hollywood until the birth of the Sound Era in 1929. His first film was Cecil B. DeMille's Dynamite, during the production of which, he punched out DeMille.
He became a star after playing Greta Garbo's lover in Anna Christie.
He co-authored a play, The Cyclone Lover (1928) and wrote an autobiography, Bulls, Balls, Bicycles, and Actors (1965).
Again, he was Oscar-nominated three times but never won the award. Late in his life he starred in the TV show The Virginian.
The Bickford mansion property was so large, that it was subdivided into three lots after his death. It is located at the southern corner of Earldom Avenue and Redlands Street.
In fact, one of the homes on the lot today was moved from the nearby development of Surfridge, when that community was torn down.