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Sunnylands, 1966


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The Annenberg Residence, Rancho Mirage
Mid-century modern house in southern California is reflected in a pond on the property.

Sunnylands Estate by architect A. Quincy Jones, 1966, winter home of Walter and Leonore Annenberg

Sunnylands Press Photo Ned Redway © January 2012 The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands

Walter and Leonore Annenberg wanted to escape the Pennsylvania winters, but they refused to be isolated. Their southern California winter retreat has seen international royalty as well as U.S. presidents, from Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush. High-ranking government officials, Supreme Court justices, and many Hollywood celebrities have stayed in the guest rooms throughout the historic estate. Bill Gates, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, and Arnold Palmer all may have crossed paths at the Annenberg's invitation. Walter and Lee loved to entertain, and they had a great winter residence to accommodate their gatherings.

About the Residence:

Architect: A. Quincy Jones
History: commissioned in 1963; completed in 1966; restored in 2011 (including seismic retrofitting of the house and estate)
Size: 25,000-square-foot house on 200 acres
Location: Rancho Mirage, near Palm Springs, California
Signature Roof: a Mayan-style pink pyramid
Cost: $5 million
Owner: winter home of Walter Annenberg and his second wife, Leonore, from 1966-2009
Opened to the Public: 2012
Current Use: public tours and Annenberg Retreats
Style: Midcentury Modern Contemporary

Who was Walter Annenberg?

  • 1908: born in Wisconsin
  • 1942: inherited a publishing empire, including The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Daily Racing Form, from his father, Moses
  • 1944: created Seventeen magazine
  • 1953: created TV Guide magazine
  • 1958: funded the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
  • 1969: appointed ambassador to Great Britain by President Richard M. Nixon
  • 1971: funded the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California
  • 1988: sold Seventeen and TV Guide to Rupert Murdoch
  • 2002: died in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania; at rest with Leonore (1918-2009) in a pink mausoleum on the grounds of Sunnylands

Explore Sunnylands:

Related Books:

Sunnylands: Art and Architecture of the Annenberg Estate in Rancho Mirage, California, David G. De Long (ed.), University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009
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A. Quincy Jones by Cory Buckner, Phaïdon Press, 2002
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A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living by Brooke Hodge for the Hammer Museum Exhibition, 2013

Sources: Sunnylands at a Glance at sunnylands.org/page/74/fact-sheet; Historic Estate at sunnylands.org/page/3/historic-estate; "Walter Annenberg, 94, Dies; Philanthropist and Publisher" by Grace Glueck, New York Times, October 02, 2002 at www.nytimes.com/2002/10/02/arts/walter-annenberg-94-dies-philanthropist-and-publisher.htm; "Touring California with architect A. Quincy Jones" by Cory Buckner on the Eichler Network; [Websites accessed February 14, 2013]. Pacific Coast Architecture Database (PCAD) [accessed February 13, 2013]. "The Annenberg Retreat At Sunnylands Dedicated February 2012" Press Release at sunnylands.org/page/131/press-kit [accessed February 18, 2013]

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