The Most-Filmed Mansion In The World Is In This Major US City

For those who love touring staggering structures, America has an abundance of mansions to explore. On the east coast, think of the epic homes in Newport, Rhode Island, like the Breakers, the Elms, or Chateau-sur-Mer. Dip down a little farther south, and you can explore some of the historic mansions in New York City, like the Carnegie Mansion on the Upper East Side or the Otto Kahn & James Burden Mansions, neighboring structures on 5th Avenue and 91 St.

The west coast has no shortage of epic mansions, either. There's Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. There's also the curious Winchester Mystery House, with its staircases leading nowhere, in San Jose, California. But there's one mansion out west that's famous not just because it's a colossus but also because it happens to be the most-filmed mansion in the world: Greystone Mansion, sometimes called the Doheny Mansion. The beautiful structure, located in Beverly Hills, was built in 1928. The mansion took three years to build and cost over $4 million, a staggering amount of money at the time.

Edward Doheny was an oil tycoon and was famously the first person to strike oil in Los Angeles in 1892 and soon became the world's biggest oil producer at the time. So Doheny gave his son, Edward Laurence Doheny Jr., the covetous parcel of land that would hold Greystone Mansion as a wedding gift in 1926. Construction on the mansion began and, through a circuitous history, it became the most-filmed mansion in the world.

Hollywood loves filming at Greystone Mansion

The story of Greystone Mansion is actually a tragic one. Five months after Edward Laurence Doheny Jr. and Lucy Smith of Pasadena moved into their new home, Doheny Jr. was shot and killed in a murder-suicide by his friend and assistant Hugh Plunket. Smith continued to live in the mansion with their children and later remarried. In 1955, she sold much of the land to the Paul Trousdale Corporation and the house to Henry Crown. The latter never moved into Greystone; instead, he began leasing the house for filming projects.

Since then, Greystone Mansion has set the stage for countless films and TV shows. The 1984 "Ghostbusters" was filmed there, as was Sylvester Stallone's 1987 film "Over the Top." Cher and the star-studded cast of "The Witches of Eastwick" shot at Greystone, and Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin filmed their 1991 flick "The Marrying Man" at the mansion.

The mansion was heavily used for 90s productions, from Whitney Houston's "The Bodyguard" to Macaulay Culkin's "Richie Rich." The 1998 cult classic "The Big Lebowski" shot scenes at Greystone Mansion, as did "X-Men." In 2014, Megan Fox and Will Arnett shot "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" there. "Gilmore Girls" used Greystone Mansion, as did "The Young and the Restless," because obviously. You can't have an afternoon soap opera without a Beverly Hills mansion making an appearance. It was also a popular setting for music videos, favored by Elton John, Mariah Carey, and Meat Loaf.

How to visit Greystone Mansion

The city of Beverly Hills now owns Greystone Estate, and the grounds are run through their parks and recreation division. The grounds are open to the public seven days a week unless closed for filming or special reasons. Visits and parking are free, and no reservation is needed. Touring the inside of the mansion is a little more complicated, though certainly not impossible. Visitors can tour the first floor of the mansion and the theater on the first weekend of every month. Tickets cost $8 and can be reserved ahead of time. Guests can also attend events, like Music in the Mansion.

While Greystone Mansion is exquisite and well-used in Hollywood productions, the location also has a sinister side because of the strange murder of Edward Laurence Doheny Jr. So tours in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills take advantage of this and list it prominently on haunted tours like Fright Sights Tour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills. The 2.5-hour tour takes visitors to the many darker sides of Hollywood, including the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Chateau Marmont, and of course, Greystone Mansion. The mansion has generated endless stories, and even books, about the hauntings and ghost sightings on the property. Whether you believe in this or not, it certainly creates a titillating backdrop for curious visitors.