Philanthropist, Environmentalist, Collector: Doris Duke and Her Estates
Originally built in 1925 for silent screen star Rudolph Valentino, Falcon Lair was purchased by Doris Duke in the early 1950s. Located in the hills above Benedict Canyon overlooking Beverly Hills, the estate served as a retreat from public life. Falcon Lair not only became a venue for informal jazz concerts, but also served as a place where Doris could work on her own musical talents. A lover of the performing arts, in the 1960s Doris also formed a record company, Clover Records. The high level recording equipment purchased for Clover Records was kept in an apartment over the garage at Falcon Lair. Doris lived in Falcon Lair until her death in 1993 at the age of 80.
Aerial of Falcon Lair, undated
Doris' California home was formerly owned by Rudolph Valentino, the silent movie star. Doris likely was drawn to the home due to its secluded setting as seen in this aerial photograph.
Falcon Lair, Architectural Drawing, May 6, 1953
After purchasing Falcon Lair in the mid-1950s, Doris immediately began renovations to the house. The plans to the left show the changes she was interested in making.
Doris Duke and Duke Ellington, undated
As a public figure, Doris Duke had access to prominent musicians of the day including Duke Ellington. No details are known about the encounter, but owing to the fact that Doris was a music lover she likely enjoyed her private concert with Duke.
Music Writing Book, undated
Doris not only enjoyed listening to music, but was a musician herself, playing both piano and guitar. This music writing book from Falcon Lair (see the "1436 Bella" at the top of the book which is Falcon Lair's address) is filled with music written in her own hand.
"It was so Beautiful", from music writing book, undated
Although the author of the song shown in this image is unknown, Doris herself did write the lyrics and notes into this music writing book. Zoom in to read the notes and study her handwriting.
"It was so Beautiful", close up image from music writing book, undated
This image is a zoomed in shot of Doris' composition.
Clover Records, "Goin' to the Dance", undated
Doris Duke set up her own recording company, Clover Records, and released several songs including "Goin' To The Dance" performed by an unknown artist.
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