The house was originally built as a six room residence by Victor Sarteano in 1918. At some point in its evolution, it was enlarged and converted into an apartment house. Located at 1383 N. Lucile Avenue in what was originally called Childs Heights in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. To learn more about Roscoe Arbuckle, the book, Silver Lake Chronicles: Exploring an Urban Oasis in Los Angeles is a good start!
Fatty Arbuckle House, Victor Sarteano, Builder c.1918
Photo courtesy of Watson Family Photo Archive
I first learned about the home’s provenance from Genelle LeVin, former Silver Lake Neighborhood Council Board Member and long-time President of the Silver Lake Improvement Association. It is apparently a long-held local belief that the great actor-comedian Roscoe Conkling ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle (1887-1933) lived in the house while working for the Selig Polyscope Company and later Keystone Studios. He was one of the most popular stars of the silent screen era and one of its best paid actors; in 1920 he signed a deal with Paramount Pictures that paid him $1M a year; unheard of for the time. It all came to a crashing end the following year, 1921, in which he was accused by a San Francisco madam of raping and killing bit player Virginia Rappe. Although he was eventually acquitted, his career took a dive and he only worked occasionally thereafter. He died in his sleep of a heart attack at age 46 in 1933.