Local Rancho Mirage author, architecture enthusiast, and preservationist Melissa Riche writes about the Hollywood history associated with Rancho Mirage’s Tamarisk Ranchos community in a recent Desert Sun article. She notes that for someone who famously stated that he didn’t want to be a member of a club that would have him as a member, Groucho Marx belonged to a lot of clubs, including becoming a founding member of Rancho Mirage’s Tamarisk Country Club in 1952. However, Groucho chose not to have a home at Tamarisk itself, unlike Groucho’s brothers Gummo and Zeppo who built homes on the golf course. Instead, in 1958, Groucho became one of the first homeowners in Tamarisk Ranchos, a community of 16 homes gathered around a pool and gardens, a short golf cart ride from Tamarisk’s club, built by LA developer Lou Halper and his company, Devon Construction.
The author notes that among Groucho’s neighbors at Tamarisk Ranchos were Groucho’s TV producer, John Guedel, the most successful TV producer of his day, who created shows like “Ozzy and Harriet” and Groucho’s immensely popular radio and TV show, “You Bet Your Life”, film producer Lawrence Weingarten, who produced the Marx Brothers comedy, “A Day at the Races” in 1936 and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, Al Hart, founder of City National Bank (and Frank Sinatra’s banker), and Harry Tugend, famous screen-writer who founded the Writer’s Guild of America.
The author writes that Halper used noted mid-century modern architect William Krisel for Tamarisk Ranchos designs. The homes were built with redwood post-and-beam, using three different roof styles: butterfly, long gable and flat or horizontal gable. The author also notes that Tamarisk Ranchos looks much the same today as it did when it was built. The homes are around 2,000 square feet, most have three bedrooms and three bathrooms, rock fireplaces, high ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling windows facing patios and the gardens. Facades incorporate medium grade stucco, board & batten siding; many have decorative screen work, rock or brick accent walls. Built in one of the valley’s oldest date palm groves, thinned out for development, Tamarisk Ranchos still numbers 74 mature date palm trees, nearly 100 years old. Tamarisk Ranchos recently received ‘historic district’ status from the Historic Preservation Commission for the City of Rancho Mirage.
To read Melissa Riche’s original article and view the accompanying photos, courtesy of the Desert Sun, please visit: http://www.desertsun.com/story/news/2016/07/09/groucho-marx-and-hollywoods-elite-tamarisk-ranchos/86907722/