I WAS PRINCE’S LANDLORD
Tattle Tales One of Five
I’m surprised by the outpouring of emotions on losing Prince. I was not aware how significant Prince was to the music biz. Since Prince and I had an interesting relationship for a time, I want to add that experience to the lexicon of the Rock Legend, Prince Rogers Nelson.
Background will place my comments into context. My relationship with His Purpleness came about because of Via de la Quilla, the home my then wife and I designed and built. That is the house we rented to Prince. The significance of the name comes a little later.
Our involvement with the property started about a year after I was introduced to a young actress named Christopher Wynden Norris. Having seen her play Miriam in the film Summer of ’42 I was already in love. I asked her to be my wife on our 2nd date and she said she’d think about it. I’m happy to tell you she did said “Yes”—five years later. While she was considering my proposal we purchased a vacant lot high up the canyon overlooking Beverly Hills.
What this has to do with Prince I’ll explain. It is important you understand that this house was built with love. From buying the lot to moving in day spanned fourteen years. Love was poured into the concrete foundations. Love inspired the choice of an antique plaster technique used inside and a unique paint process on the outside. Every piece of wood, metal, glass and paint that went into that structure was imbued with the love that Christopher and I had for each other and for that project.
We loved living there and enjoyed sharing our home with pals and family. But it was a very large house for two people. It was 8,500 square feet of living space. After a few years we downsized and list for sale the home we spent all of our courtship years and a good part of married life planning and building. Had we not put the house on the market, we’d have never met Prince.
The decision to sell the house occurred around the middle of Christopher’s seven years as the female lead in the CBS dramatic series, Trapper John, MD. The series was sold into syndication to Australia Broadcast Company who invited us to tour that fantastic country. Before we left for Australia our real estate broker called to say that a “prominent entertainer” was interested in a short-term rental. After some third-party negotiations over the many terms for a high-priced rental, I told his manager and attorney that approval was conditioned on us meeting the man who would live in the house. And so they set a meeting for us to conduct Prince on a personal tour of the property.