Even before it was Sierra Towers, the plot of land at 9255 Doheny Road in Los Angeles had its fair share of Hollywood lore. In 1942, 24 years prior to the opening of the condominium building that stands there today, Minna Gombell lived at the address. Gombell’s fame may be lost to time, but in her day, she appeared in more than 50 Hollywood films and made headlines for her uniquely modern long-distance marriage to millionaire Joseph W. Sefton Jr. Highly unusual for the time, the couple was known as the “film colony’s champion live aparters,” according to the book Accustomed to Her Face: Thirty-Five Character Actresses of Golden Age Hollywood by Axel Nissen. Sefton Jr. lived on a proto-compound in San Diego; Gombell’s Doheny Road pad was the site of her independent lifestyle.
Once 9255 Doheny Road officially became Sierra Towers in 1966, its interest to Hollywood players and their observers only increased, seemingly compounding decade after decade as the list of high-profile names associated with the building grew longer and longer. Looking at the names of the building’s previous residents is something of a lesson in the changing face of Hollywood, a reflection of the powerful entertainers du jour. In her 2009 memoir, Stories from Candyland, Candy Spelling writes about marrying Aaron Spelling at her parents’ Sierra Towers apartment back in 1968. Actor Patty Duke writes about her time living in Sierra Towers in her 1987 autobiography. According to her 2013 memoir, Joan Collins rented in Sierra Towers for years before purchasing her own spot in the early aughts. David Geffen also owned in the building, as did Sidney Poitier, and Lindsay Lohan made headlines in 2007 for buying and selling a condo in the building within one year.
Though it’s hard to say much about the inner workings of the building so long ago, many of its draws are timeless—the views of the ocean, mountain, and LA skyline, and of course its location. Sharon Osbourne explains in her memoir, Unbreakable, that she and Ozzy Osbourne used their Sierra Towers apartment as a place to crash in LA proper after working late, rather than braving the drive to their Hidden Hills home. “It’s a magical location. On the center line of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. Moments from the fine shops and restaurants in Beverly Hills, moments from the hippier West Hollywood area with its shops and restaurants,” says Leonard Rabinowitz, an estates director at Hilton & Hyland and the president of the Remington Plaza HOA. “Literally across from the SOHO House and a two-minute walk to at least four fine dining experiences.”