Before the well known, documented resident of Grayhall - I lived in the mansion. Funny, no one seems to want to know something good about the place.
Grayhall, located at 1100 Carolyn Way, Beverly Hills was the place I called my retreat off and on for 3 years. I will say that while I lived there the owner, Bernie Cornfeld, did NOT live there. I was hired spontaneously, sporatically, and literally on an hour's notice at times - to babysit the mansion, to babysit the hangers on, some 6-15 people at a time who refused to leave unless forced by threat, and I was given the GREAT and most privleged opportunity to babysit Bernie's little daughter - one beautiful Jessica. In 1983 she was 8. I don't believe I met her before that year, but I had been living there (placement on demand) for more than two years.
Jessica was, and she knows this, the most spoiled rotten child on the face of the Earth at the time. However, she was genuninely curious, evenly tempered most of the time, and if it weren't for her constantly wanting more of everything - I would have wanted to adopt her myself and take her away from the hellish life she had no idea she was living. I can't judge, and I won't pretend to understand the lifestyles of the very rich or the very dominant people who came and left Grayhall. I was present on many occasions when Bernie entertained a man calling himself Ariostole Onasis, but I refused to stay in the house overnight if the elderly playboy was in town. This psuedo Ari, believe it or not, was more openly down to earth than most farmers I have sold insurance to in Oklahoma - quite realistic, always a gentleman. It could not be said for Bernie.
For me, locking the doors at night, opening them in the morning, feeding the wolves - yes, wolves, and the oscelot, as well as making sure little Jessi was bathed, tucked in, read to, and kissed - was a pro bono arrangement. I don't know why I never took a penny from the man, but something about accepting anything from him lessened my mission of seeing to it that his daughter was cared for properly, at least when I was in the house. I remember crying days and nights when I wasn't in California and I wondered about her future, over time I stopped crying, but I never stopped praying. Jessica asked me a question in 1983 - one that would forever change her life, and mine.
There was a party scene going on. We were filming a Raliegh Production soft porn film (1985 release) called "Love Scene", directed by Bud Townsend, starring Tiffany Bolling and Frank Luz - it may have been created for Playboy, I'm not sure. The mansion was the location of the film, as it had been for movies such as A Star is Born (1970's) with Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, and Love at First Bite with George Hamilton (George lived in Grayhall for a while). I was in the film, partly because it did pay the bills, and partly because the extreme protective side of me refused to let Jessica stay in the house during the filming if I couldn't be there to watch her. I wore a brown skirt and a white blousey blouse, I held a cup of tea-water with plastic ice cubes in one hand and leaned against the side of the wall that was just outside her room. I couldn't believe she exited the room during filming, but there she was - the red light flashing, the shout from the director's assistant to be quiet - and out of the corner of my eye I saw the door open to Jessi's room.
Without making a huge scene I exited the shot and took her by the hand. CUT! Yelled the director..."Damnit, what the hell are you doing?" He screamed at me. "Babysitting" I retorted, and "If you don't remember, I hold the keys to this place, not you! So, shut the F*&K up and go back to making your movie!" I didn't mean for Jessica to hear it, but she did. Her question: Can you say words like that and be a Christian? WOW. Jude had some explaining to do.
I sat Jessica down on her bed and explained that I was human. I did make mistakes, but my mistakes were covered - I'm not suppose to just go off and make them, just because they're forgiven, I explained...but nevertheless Jesus did actually forgive me a long time before I was even born. She wanted to know more. On October 22, 1983 - Jessica Cornfeld, sole daughter of a very (Jewish) powerful fianancier, accepted Jesus as her Savior. Something Bernie never let me forget - I had majorly crossed the line. I can say honestly, I don't regret my decision to help her that night.
So, before Heidi had a chance to ruin what I found to be a most beautiful memory of a most beautiful house - with its secret closet/staircase leading to several extra rooms including my own suite, and the balconies that hid behind trees where you could totally throw things at people and they couldn't see you - with its HUGE pieces of furniture, millions of books, the costumes in Bernies closet, and the periwinkle decorations of Sophies room - - I lived in Grayhall.
I've recently caught up with Jessica. She's in London. She's still absolutely beautiful, but time has healed her of the spoiled brat phase - she is a great woman of philanthophy - giving and giving; she is the same gifted and wonderful child at heart. A much better legacy than Bernie ever deserved. (There I go, I said I wouldn't judge!)