Some music critics may have thought her voice lacked subtlety but Grace Moore was the "U.S. moviegoer's idea of a great opera star." (Time, March 13, 1944) Glamourous, exuberant and sometimes a diva, the East Tennessee native described herself as only "a good, strong... hillbilly" unfazed by the powerful movie studios of her day. (Los Angeles Times. November 3, 1945) Aware of her own limitations, Moore candidly described her appeal in her memoirs, "There may be some who will say it isn't [a great voice]. But I do have a voice that made people listen, that seemed to make people happy and exhilarated." (Grace Moore. You're Only Human Once. 1944) Her popular success was based on her charismatic rapport with the movie going audience, raising their awareness and appreciation of opera.
Paul R. Williams custom designed this Colonial Revival-style home for Moore in 1936 at the height of her movie success. The home reflected her taste with master bedroom walls covered in pink silk and the letter P (Perera) etched on all the mirrors. Williams and Moore collaborated on the extensive landscaping planted on the 3-acre estate months before building construction began. Though others would live in the house, the Brentwood garden was known as Grace Moore's Botanical Garden (Fred Lawrence Guiles Tyrone Power: the Last Idol, 1979).
In the 1930s and 1940s Moore was a "triple threat" performer appearing at the New York Met, on the concert stage, and as an Oscar nominated movie star. Unhappy in Hollywood, Moore and her husband Valentin Perera left California abruptly after the Brentwood house was completed complaining of the demands of the film industry. She and Valentin would never live in the house. Refusing to complete three movies under contract, Moore settled in Connecticut in 1937 and died in a plane crash in 1947. Movie stars Tyrone Power and Clifton Webb lived in the residence after Moore. Webb often told friends he thought the house was haunted by Moore’s ghost.