454 So. Windsor Boulevard, Windsor Square

Windsor Square, Hancock Park and Fremont Place have traditionally valued solitude, privacy and anonymity which might explain why the area is not a mecca for Hollywood personalities whose life styles call for public attention.

In earlier days, however, some of Hollywood’s biggest stars lived in the neighborhood including Mary Pickford, John Barrymore, Harold Lloyd, Lewis Stone, and Claire Windsor.  Silent screen comic Ben Turpin, a former area resident, once directed traffic at Rossmore and Wilshire from a soap box as a zany stunt.  Even the late Howard Hughes had a home in the area during his out-going days in Hollywood.

This home was the residence of more than one world famous personality. The first was Metropolitan Opera star Laurence Tibbett. Then in the 1940s, John Barrymore, his wife, Delores Costello, and their two children, John Jr. and Diane Barrymore, moved here from their home at Sixth and Irving (now the official Mayor’s residence, donated by the J.P. Getty estate).

At the time the Barrymores bought the home, they were experiencing marital difficulties, but Delores and their children continued to live there until 1950 when it was sold to Mr. Odell McConnell, the present owner.

The Mediterranean-style mansion was built about 1920 on a ¾ acre parcel of land adjacent to the estate of Peter Janss who owned and later developed Westwood.  The fortress-like walls of the stately structure were built of concrete and brick with stucco surfacing on the exterior.  The interior carved paneling, intricate freizes and leaded windows reflect craftsmanship of another area.

Today, the interior design of the mansion complements the architectural detail of the past.  The parlor is designed in the French style.  The rug is Savonnerie.  The Trumeau mirror is from a chateau near Bordeaux, and the chandelier is 18th century Bacharat crystal.

The entry hall of carved walnut paneling leads to a circular stairway with a bronze railing and windows of leaded glass.  The dining room is of English design. The furniture is period Sheraton; the chandelier, antique Waterford.

The formal garden features a white portico and swimming pool in a classic design with a Medterranean-style fountain.

Mr. Odell McConnell is a 35-year resident of Windsor Square. His recent retirement from the practice of law has permitted him to devote more time to his deep interest in the field of education.  While serving on the Board of Trustees for Claremont’s Pitzer College, he funded the construction of the main campus building.  More recently, he graciously consented to fund the building of Pepperdine University’s new Law School of the Malibu Campus.  This year the University bestowed on Mr. McConnell the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

From “The Historical Observer,” Fall 1976 Transcribed by Grace Kaminski, April 2021 Edited by Bret Parsons, January 2022