Taking a Star Maps Tour of Celebrity Homes in Pacific Palisades

By Sarah Stockman
Staff Writer
Photos by Matthew Stockman

Have you ever driven down Sunset Boulevard and passed a red convertible Mustang, traveling 10 miles under the speed limit as its occupants, one who usually has a star map in hand, gape at houses and snap pictures?

I like to believe that I’m immune to the allure of celebrities. I grew up running into Mark Hamill at Gelson’s or almost running over Billy Crystal while pulling out of my driveway (sorry, Billy!). But every time I see these excited tourists I wonder if I’m missing something.

And so, one Sunday I got into a white Subaru Outback with News photographer Matthew Stockman, who also happens to be my brother, and we cruised down Sunset toward Beverly Hills in search of a star map.

Star Maps can be purchased in Bel-Air, off Sunset Boulevard.

Step 1: Purchase a Map

Just after the towering gates of Bel-Air we encountered our first Star Map signs. Bold blue letters instructed us to turn right at the next intersection. A half-asleep man in a lawn chair offered us a map for $15. Slightly disgruntled about the price, we purchased it.

Wondering if there was a little more enthusiastic map seller, we continued down the road. A few blocks later, electric yellow signs proclaimed “Hot Star Maps Sold Here.”

Linda, who told us she had sold star maps her whole life, thrust a full-color map into the car and started pointing things out with her lacquered nails. We were overwhelmed with information, including the price of Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s new home and her claim that this was the only legitimate star map out there.

When she finally took a breath, we asked about star homes in Pacific Palisades. She was adamant that her map had houses we could actually see and offered us a discount on our map: $20 instead of $25, since we’d already purchased one (a lesser one, of course).

Maps in hand, we set off back down Sunset ready to begin our star tour.

Step 2: Plan Your Route

The first map we purchased, “Homes of the Famous” Star Maps 2017, had 10 locations in the Palisades. The second map, Souvenir Map, had 17 homes. Both maps listed not just movie stars but romance writers, fashion icons, musical artists and those long gone from this world.

To narrow the list, we decided to only look at the houses of living movie stars, leaving us with 16 houses to visit but only 14 celebrities. Both maps had Brooke Shields’ home, but each had a different address. The same went for the home of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

We started in the Riviera and then progressed down Sunset to Bienveneda, then the Highlands, and ended in the Alphabet Streets after 2.5 hours of star hunting.

Step 3: Look at Some Hedges and Driveways

Stop number one was the supposed house of Adam Sandler in the 1400 block of Capri Drive. The comedian lived behind an intense hedge interspersed with redwood trees. That is, if he actually lived in the house. We were waiting for someone to come out and yell at us, since powerful security cameras analyzed our every move, but nothing happened.

Up next was Brooke Shields, who possibly lived at two houses in the 1700 block of San Remo Drive.

At first we thought her house was a newly flattened lot, and chuckled at this until we realized that the address was actually a long driveway leading to a house we couldn’t really see. We had no luck finding the second address, although we did drive in a few circles before giving up.

The star map said this Palisades address was supposedly Adam Sandler’s.

We drove to Amalfi Drive in search of Sylvester Stallone’s house, but we couldn’t find it based on the address given. We assumed it was one of the many properties surrounded by large hedges.

But, by this time we started to feel decidedly creepy.“It’s kind of weird taking pictures of people’s houses,” Matthew said. This was especially true when we pulled up across the street from a house and Matthew snapped a picture through his rolled-down window. Add a few old sandwich wrappers and some half-smoked cigarettes and we would have made perfect 1950s private investigators.

We continued the tour in the 1500 block of Amalfi at the supposed home of Steven Spielberg. This hedge, I mean house, had a swanky security system with large white cameras sticking out like robotic eyes.

As I sat in the car waiting for Matthew to take pictures, a British couple pulled up alongside him in, I kid you not, a red convertible Mustang and asked him if he was paparazzi.

We both laughed at this and shook our heads, and yet, in that moment we were acting a bit like paparazzi. Although we weren’t digging through anyone’s garbage cans or scaling the walls, we were invading the personal space of whoever actually lived in the house.

We could only see the roof of the alleged house of Kate Hudson in the 400 block of Amalfi. It was a lovely roof made of a continuous wave of tiled stone. We spent a lot of time admiring the architecture since it made us feel less creepy.

Our final stop in the Riviera was the former home of Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson in the 900 block of Corsica Drive. The highlight of the visit was the wet paper towel on the grass, contrasting with the green grass and the beige stucco wall.

Tom Hanks’ house was supposedly behind this gate.

We drove to the two home addresses given for Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The first was in the 16000 block of Charmel Lane, which had a wrought iron gate leading, we assumed, to a house. The second was in the 16000 block of Monte Hermosa in the Highlands.

We were almost two hours into the process and disenchanted. It was fun to drive through the neighborhoods and explore areas we hadn’t spent that much time in, but stopping to gape and take a picture was not pleasant.

“I feel dirty doing this,” Matthew said as we drove up Paseo Miramar on the hunt for Hillary Swank’s house in the 400 block. The street was so narrow with so many blind curves we couldn’t safely stop to take a picture.

Our day brightened at the supposed site of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s home at 1420 Sunset Blvd. This address is technically in downtown L.A., but when typed into Google Maps with Pacific Palisades specified, it directs you to the middle of the intersection at Via de la Paz and Sunset! We sat and laughed, wondering if he lived in one of the repair bays at the Shell station.

Our final stop was in the 800 block of Chautauqua Boulevard to see the homes of Billy Crystal and Zooey Deschanel, who turned out to be neighbors. I hope they have exciting, star-studded parties behind their high hedges and quaint picket fences.

This was one of two addresses given as the home of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

4. Take a Shower

Matthew and I returned home tired and hungry and feeling “dirty.” What started out as a funny project turned into a weird journey where we spent most of the time sympathizing with the people who lived in these houses, celebrities or not. Having a constant stream of people pulling up outside to stare at your house must be such a pain.

We had hoped to have fun with this story idea, but in the end the only laughs we had were at the wrongness of some of the addresses and the very tall hedges that hid our view of anything. We’ve decided to stick to running into celebrities on Antioch or at the Rec Center, since it’s way less creepy and allows us to actually see someone famous instead of their hedges and/or driveway.

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