Misty Mountain Estate

With gorgeous views and untouched acreage, Angelo Drive became the perfect spot for Old Hollywood stars and starlets to show off their wealth and prestige. In the early 1900s, one of the first Angelo Drive estates was built for Frances Marion and Fred Thompson, a screenwriter and cowboy star, who named their piece of paradise The Enchanted Hill. The home was designed and built by Wallace Neff, the most accredited architect of his time. Constructing the opulent Enchanted Hills Estate established Neff as an extremely talented and creative designer who could give his clients an impressive home that mesmerized visitors and spectators but was also a comfortable escape for the family.


In 1924, Neff was hired to, once again, design and build a residence on Angelo Drive. Film director, Fred Niblo and his wife had purchased land just below The Enchanted Hills estate and wanted Neff to work his magic on their property. Niblo had once been a Broadway actor, where he met his first wife Josephine Cohan. The pair began traveling and performing on stages around the world. In 1916, while living in Australia, Josephine passed away leaving behind Niblo and their only son. Niblo decided it was time to stop traveling and turned his attention to filmmaking. He starred in two films while in Australia and fell in love with his co-star Enid Bennett.


Niblo and Bennett married and moved back to Southern California. They bought their 7-acres on Angelo Drive where Neff would build their Spanish Colonial Revival home. During the design phase, Neff chose to create the home in a semi-circle to take advantage of the 360 degree views of the Pacific Ocean, downtown Los Angeles and two of the most prestigious communities in the area, Holmby Hills and Beverly Hills. The home itself was extravagant, containing twenty-two rooms that included six bedrooms and bathrooms, a large oval entranceway, a library, living area and dining room. The favorite room in the house for Neff was in his basement “man-cave.” The 54-foot long basement was decorated with memorabilia from his recent movies and was split into separate rooms which contained a billiards table, a wet bar, a projection room and a curio room where Bennett could display souvenirs from their travels.


The landscape surrounding the home was just as lavish with tennis courts, a swimming pool, a croquet lawn and a large playground for the children. The front of the home was decorated with beautiful gardens, and to the south was an expanse of immaculate lawn. The driveway was constructed in a circular pattern so guests could be driven to the front entryway, dropped off and the driver could pull away in one graceful motion. Neff and Bennett loved their home and kept it for many years. When they sold it, the new owners were just as fond of the home and chose to keep much of it the same. Even now, the owners of the Misty Mountain Estate appreciate the classic beauty, and it is one of the few homes from the Old Hollywood Era that is still much the same as it was when it was first built.

David Kramer